Date Published 01 January 2017
As if, we hadn't already lost too many music legends in 2016…!!
David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen…. George Michael was the icing on the cake and summed up how 2016 had been a dreadful year all round!
On Christmas Day 2016, George Michael was found dead at one of his homes in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. This news sent shockwaves not only nationally but across the world.
Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was born in East Finchley to parents Kyriacos, a Greek Cypriot restauranteur and Lesley, a dancer. He spent most of his childhood in Kingsbury, attending Kingsbury High School but later, in his teenage years, moved to Radlett in Hertfordshire. He went to Bushey Meads School, in Bushey, Hertfordshire and it was here where he befriended Andrew Ridgeley. George and Andrew shared the same passion of becoming musicians and gigged in clubs around Bushey, Watford and Stanmore before getting their big break with duo Wham!
Wham's first album 'Fantastic' reached number one in the UK in 1983, with singles 'Wham Rap!', 'Young Guns' and 'Club Tropicana' all reaching the top ten in the UK charts. The band's second album 'Make It Big' reached number one in the US and produced hit singles 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' and 'Careless Whisper'.
In 1984 Wham performed at Live Aid alongside David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Status Quo, Sting, Culture Club and the Eurhythmics to name but a few…. Together in one arena on one stage these greats performed Do They Know Its Christmas Time, written by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure. This single sold fifty million copies. It sold over 3 million copies in Great Briton alone and the money raised by sales was put towards the first relief shipment of over $70,000 worth of food and medical supplies to Ethiopia, March 11, 1985.
In 1985, Wham were the first Western popular music band to do a tour of China. This was historic and attracted a lot of media coverage as many kinds of music were forbidden in China at this time.
Wham split up in 1986 after releasing a farewell single called 'The Edge of Heaven' which reached number 1 in the UK charts. However this wasn't the end for George! In 1987 George Michael decided to go solo. George's debut album 'Faith' which was released in 1987 was a huge success, topping the UK Album Charts and being in the top ten of the US charts for fifty one non-consecutive weeks, twelve of which were at number one. The album had many successes, with four of its singles reaching number one in the US and was later certified Diamond for sales of ten million copies in the US. To date, 'Faith' has sold over twenty five million copies globally and is highly acclaimed by music critics.
George went on to have a hugely successful solo career, collaborating with huge names such as Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. He also achieved one of his life time ambitions, which was to sing with one of his favourite artists. This was a duet with legendary Aretha Franklin. The song the duo sang 'I Knew You Were Waiting' became a number one hit in the UK Singles Chat.
Apart for all his professional achievements the world must never forget that George Michael leaves behind not only his perstar.music that did and will continue to touch millions for years to come but also all the work that he did for charities both big and small. The world will never know the full extent of help he provided as most of it was anonymous.
George sold more than 100 million records worldwide and seven number one singles in the UK, he was a superstar.
Rest in Peace Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, gone but never forgotten x