I hope that people think of me as someone who had some kind of integrity
This Is How (We Want You To Get High) and Last Christmas OST
This Is How (We Want You to Get High), co-written and co-produced by George Michael and collaborator James Jackman was released. Work on This is How (We Want You to Get High) began in early 2012. The track was subsequently developed and recorded in sessions at Air Studios in London, before the finishing touches were added in late 2015 during George’s final recording sessions.
“George was the whole package,” said James. “He was a great singer, writer, arranger, producer, he knew how his music should come out and he had the looks. His records will be remembered and covered in 50 years’ time. How many other performers tick all those boxes? I was blessed to be able to work with him.”
The song was a fitting finale to Last Christmas, Universal Pictures’ romantic comedy. The film was inspired by the eponymous Wham! hit and had a soundtrack featuring tracks from Wham! and George Michael’s solo career. Director Paul Feig described the movie as ‘a love letter to George’.
Listen Without Prejudice reissue and Freedom: The Film
In 1990 George Michael’s second solo album Listen Without Prejudice spent a week at the top of the UK chart and a further 18 weeks in the Top 10. Its 2017 reissue contained the remastered original, bonus tracks and was paired with George’s MTV Unplugged session, from 1996. The album went back to No.1 after 27 years. David Austin, George’s close friend since childhood and long-term collaborator said: “For three years George, myself and his loyal team have worked relentlessly alongside our amazing team at Sony and together we have carefully crafted and put together our beautiful Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged campaign and film Freedom. It’s no great secret that George was a perfectionist and it shows – he was over everything from its inception to its finish, and it’s a blessing and rare gift to be guided by such genius. That, along with exceptional teamwork and the overwhelming love for George from the public has made everything come together. We are all so incredibly proud to have the Number 1 album in the UK.” Legendary producer Nile Rodgers, who collaborated with George for the remake of Fantasy, said: “I’m eternally grateful to George for choosing me to work on this project. His genius will be missed. And I’m equally grateful to David Austin, for convincing me to finish after George had passed. I was in a funk for months, and one day David said to me rather matter-of-factly, ‘Yog would love it. That’s why he called you in the first place’.” George Michael was still putting the finishing touches to Freedom on Christmas Day 2016. The film was an intimate look into the extraordinary life and career of the award-winning singer and songwriter. Narrated by George, it features never-seen personal footage and interviews with music legends.
George Michael, 1963-2016
In a statement, George Michael’s publicist wrote: “It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period. The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.” George was 53. On March 7, 2017 a senior coroner in Oxfordshire attributed the death to natural causes.
Symphonica album was released, became George Michael’s ninth British number 1, and went on to top the charts all over the world. It was produced by George and the legendary Phil Ramone who died in March 2013. Symphonica was his final work.
Let Her Down Easy
Let Her Down Easy was George Michael’s first single from the album Symphonica.
End of Symphonica
Last show of the Symphonica Tour in London. The tour spanned 75 shows in 17 countries.
George Michael became the first contemporary pop artist to perform, as part of his Symphonica Tour and in support of French AIDS charity Sidaction, at the Opera Garnier in Paris. The unique concert was followed by a Gala dinner and a charity auction.
Back on stage in Vienna
George Michael resumed his Symphonica tour in Vienna, thanking the medical staff who treated him in 2011. He returned to the stage at Wiener Stadthalle where some 300 staff from Vienna’s General Hospital attended the show, after being given tickets as a thank you gift.
London 2012 Olympics
George Michael took the stage at the London 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremony where he performed Freedom ’90 and White Light.
George Michael wrote White Light to repay fans for their support during his hospitalisation for acute pneumonia. The song was released to radio on 29 June 2012, in order to commemorate the 30-year anniversary since his first single (co-written by Andrew Ridgeley) entered the British charts in 1982. Kate Moss starred in the video for the song.
A near-fatal bout of pneumonia
The tour could not have been going any better. Due to high demand for tickets extra shows were added. After forty-five dates, George Michael fell ill in the Austrian capital. Vienna General Hospital admitted George after he complained of chest pains. He suffered from pneumonia and was in intensive care until December 1st. He was discharged on December, 21st.
The Orchestral Tour
Symphonica opened at the Prague State Opera House. During this tour George Michael performed a carefully chosen selection of his own songs, spanning a remarkable 30-year career, as well as covers of some of his favourite songs from other artists, with music being re-worked and re-arranged for the orchestra that accompanied him.
In George’s word: “I’ve always wanted to sing with this kind of backing and really use my voice. There will be covers and there will be a lot of songs from my own history that people have never heard me sing before live; there’ll be songs from the album Songs From The Last Century, because I thought it was such a beautiful album, beautifully arranged and produced and those arrangements did deserve a wider audience.“
You and I
George Michael released a cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1972 song, You and I, as an MP3 gift to Prince William and Catherine Middleton on the occasion of their wedding. Although the MP3 was released for free download via georgemichael.com, George appealed to those who downloaded the track to make a contribution to The Prince William & Miss Catherine Middleton Charitable Gift Fund.
Comic Relief and cameos
George Michael joined James Corden in the Red Nose Day sketch Smithy To The Rescue. This was long before James took the idea to the USA for his Late Show. Also, in 2009, George appeared in a Little Britain sketch for Comic Relief with David Walliams and Matt Lucas. In 2007 he appeared as himself in the Catherine Tate Show’s Christmas special and in another BBC comedy – Ricky Gervais’ Extras.
George Michael covered New Order’s True Faith and released it as a charity single for Comic Relief. Comic Relief founder Richard Curtis commented: “Over the years, George has been the most tremendous supporter of Comic Relief. Out of the blue one year he gave us all the cash from the release of As, his single with Mary J. Blige. Then he did a brilliant Little Britain Lou and Andy sketch, which ended with the inevitable insult slung at him: ‘I don’t like him.’“
Faith remains one of the best-selling albums of all time, having sold over 20 million copies worldwide. It was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1996. This special edition, released in January 2011, also included a DVD with the music videos, a 1987 Channel 4 U.K. TV special titled “George Michael & Jonathan Ross Have Words” and a 1988 promotional featurette called “Music Money Love Faith.” The accompanying 40-page hard-bound booklet included rare photos and a spring 2010 interview with George Michael.
For the first time since his Faith Tour in 1988 George Michael returned to Australia to perform 3 live sell-out shows to over 100,000 fans in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Live In London
Live In London, a live concert recording of George Michael’s final two concerts in London’s Earls Court on 24 and 25 August 2008, was released on DVD. This was the first official live concert video release of George’s career and included I’d Know Him a Mile Off, a behind the scene documentary, produced by Lisa Johnson, filmed and directed by David Austin and made by G K Panayioutou.
George Michael released a new track, December Song (I Dreamed Of Christmas), as a free download.
Two concerts, titled The Final Two, took place in Earls Court, London on 24 and 25 August 2008. One more last show was performed in Copenhagen at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium on 30 August. This special performance, entitled The Final One, allowed George to say ‘thank you’ to his loyal fans across Europe. All the tickets for the Final Two shows in London and the Finale One show in Denmark were sold out in 2 hours. Another last concert was held at the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium on 1 December 2008, in Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was the first event to be held at the new stadium and was billed as the biggest concert ever held in the UAE. It was also George Michael’s first concert in the Middle East. The 25 LIVE Tour spanned 106 shows in 29 countries and broke several ticket sales records. The unprecedented public response has stood out as the fastest sell of tickets ever experienced by Barrie Marshall, whose London-based promotion firm, Marshall Arts Limited, has been promoting shows for 30 years.
Back in America
A third Leg of the 25 LIVE Tour started for United States and Canada. This was George Michael’s first tour of North America in 17 years. The tour was anticipated by the release of the greatest hits album Twenty Five on the american market. Even in America every venue was sold out in time for the concert. For a period of 25 hours during the week leading up to the Los Angeles show on 25 June 2008, some tickets were sold for a promotional price of $25 (down from $95) in celebration of George Michael’s birthday, 25 June 1963.
George Michael’s contributions to pop culture didn’t end at music. He was also an integral part ABC’s Eli Stone. The first episode was aired on January 2008 and George was prominently featured in this American legal comedy-drama TV series which lasted two seasons. The show’s creators, Greg Berlanti and Marc Guggenheim shared their memories of George.
“George was a singular talent,” Guggenheim told. “He had a gift for music that only comes along once in a generation. It was just a bonus that he happened to be one of the nicest, most genuine people you could meet. Many of my fondest memories of the Eli Stone experience are associated with him. George was such a class act.”
“I’ve only witnessed true genius a few times in my life. One of those was watching George Michael lay down Feeling Good for Eli Stone,” Berlanti declared. “He was an incredible talent and even more a sweet, kind man to all lucky enough to work with or spend time around him.”
Opening the new Wembley Stadium
After the huge success of the autumn leg of the 25LIVE Tour, new shows were added for summer 2007, in large arenas and stadiums. In June 2007 George Michael became the first singer ever to perform at the new Wembley Stadium, nearly seven years after the last concert at the London venue. He played two sold-out concerts in a row.
A venue “full of heroes”
At the end of the first leg of his 25LIVE Tour George Michael paid tribute to Britain’s NHS nurses with a free concert at the Roundhouse, north London. The event was prompted by the care they gave his mother Lesley, who died of cancer in 1997. “I salute you,” George told the crowd. “This evening is 100% me saying ‘thank you’ to you.”
George Michael celebrated 25 years in the industry with the release of greatest hits compilation Twenty Five. The limited edition 3-CD version contained four new songs, An Easier Affair, This Is Not Real Love (a duet with Mutya Buena), a new version of Heal the Pain, recorded with Paul McCartney and Understand. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart.
On the road again
First night of the 25LIVE Tour in Barcelona. The tour was the most commercially successful tour of 2006–2007 in Europe. The 106 tour shows were performed in 41 countries and seen by 1.3 million fans across the globe.
An Easier Affair
An Easier Affair was the first single from George Michael’s second greatest hits album Twenty Five. It was released on 3 July 2006 and peaked at number one in Italy and Hungary. In the United Kingdom, it reached number thirteen. The music video was directed by Jake Nava.
George Michael announced his intention to tour for the first time since 1991. Ticket sales in the UK and Europe were brisk. Within two hours of initial sales, 240,000 tickets were snatched up by eager fans.
How Do You Keep The Music Playing?
How Do You Keep The Music Playing? was recorded at Air Studios, London on February 25, 2006 with Tony Bennett. The song was released that same year on Bennett’s album Duets: An American Classic.
John And Elvis Are Dead Ep
John and Elvis Are Dead was released as a digital Ep with five tracks – John and Elvis Are Dead, Edith And Kingpin (recorded live), Praying for Time (recorded live), For the Love (Of You) (recorded live) and Precious Box (Shapeshifters Remix). This was a download only single and was therefore unable to chart on the UK. The song marks George Michael’s final single from a studio album.
Blame It on the Sun
Genius & Friends by Ray Charles was released. It contained Blame It on the Sun by Ray Charles feat. George Michael, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s song.
Baby You Can Drive My Car
George Michael performed Drive My Car with Paul McCartney at Live 8 – a benefit concert – in London’s Hyde Park. Organised by Sir Bob Geldof and The Band Aid Trust to raise money to fight poverty around the world, the event was viewed by around 2 billion people.
George Michael: A Different Story
A Different Story was a documentary film about George Michael that followed his life from joining Wham! in 1981 to the release of Patience in 2004. The film was a British venture produced by Aegean Films with Gorilla Entertainment Limited serving as distributor. Directed by Southan Morris, and produced by Caroline True A Different Story was initially aired on British television channels BBC One and BBC Three. Despite this, the documentary had its European premiere as part of the 2005 Berlin Film Festival including a press conference on 16 February 2005. The film had a limited cinematic release in sixteen countries. At the end of 2005 it was released on dvd.
Flawless (Go To The City) was released as a single and peaked at #8 in the UK.
The most played artist on the radio
George Michael received the Radio Academy’s PPL Award, at the Shaw Theatre in London, for the most played artist on the radio in the past 20 years.
Patience, George Michael’s fifth solo album was released and went straight at #1 in the UK.
Amazing was released as the lead single from Patience. It peaked at #4 in the UK.
Sony Music UK
George Michael signed a new worldwide recording deal with the U.K. arm of Sony Music. A Sony spokesperson declined to comment on terms of the deal. In 2004, during Patience’s promotion, George Michael commented on the subject.
There are three reasons he kissed and made up with Sony. The business practices he fought against — complicated stuff about money earned per record sold, the length of contractual obligations, and artists being treated as software — are now common across an increasingly merged industry; there has been a change in personnel at the top of Sony in America; and finally, he says with a satisfied leer. “They gave me the best deal I’ve ever seen in my fucking life, which made it a much easier pill to swallow.”
Does he feel defeated? As if.
“I swear to God the business isn’t worth feeling that way about. I have principles but I don’t believe in empty gestures.”
Can he put a figure on the deal?
“No! What do you think my name is?” He smirks. “And I’m not gonna say what comes after that, it’s obvious.”
Protesting the war in Iraq George Michael make his first appearance on Top of the Pops in 17 years to perform an anti-war song. He covered the old Don McLean song The Grave, originally written about the horrors of the Vietnam war. A TOTP spokeswoman said: “It’s an amazing coup to get George back on the show after all these years.” McLean applauded George for covering it, saying: “I am proud of George Michael for standing up for life and sanity. I am delighted that he chose a song of mine to express his feelings.”
George Michael purchased John Lennon’s walnut-finished upright Steinway model Z piano, paying 1.45 million British pounds – that would have been around 3.1 million US dollars – at the time setting the record for the most money ever paid for a piece of music memorabilia. George both composed on and played the piano, which can be heard on the title song of his Patience album. The piano was also toured globally by George Michael as a symbol of peace in the early 2000s.
If I Told You That
George Michael and Whitney Houston recorded a new version of If I Told You That for her upcoming greatest hits.
Shoot The Dog
George Michael released Shoot the Dog as a single. The song was a protest song referring to (and critical of) British Prime Minister Tony Blair and American President George W. Bush. It was released a year and a half prior to Patience. The music video featured animation provided by the satirical British cartoon series 2DTV.
Pavarotti & Friends
George Michael performed at the Pavarotti & Friends, a benefit concert pro Cambogia & Tibet held at Parco Novi Sad in Modena.
George Michael performed at Equality Rocks, a benefit concert to raise awareness of prejudice and human rights. The event commenced on the eve of the Millennium March to Washington D.C. and was held on April 29 at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, Washington, DC, USA.
George Michael released Freeek! as a single. The video for the song was directed by Joseph Kahn. It was another top ten hit in the UK. A different version of the song was included on the album Patience two years later.
Songs From The Last Century
Songs From The Last Century, George Michael’s fourth solo album, was released. Produced by Phil Ramone and George Michael, it was his only album of cover versions and was recorded in New York. Roxanne was released as a single. The album peaked at #2 in the UK chart.
George Michael performed at Net Aid during the concert held at Wembley Stadium in London. Net Aid was an 11-hour transAtlantic benefit concert that used music and the Internet to fight global poverty. Organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Internet networking company Cisco Systems the show was watched or heard by millions on television, radio and on a Web site.
Here, There and Everywhere: a Concert for Linda
George Michael performed at Here, There and Everywhere: a Concert for Linda, a benefit tribute to Linda McCartney, wife of Paul McCartney. It was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He sang Faith, Eleanor Rigby and The Long and Winding Road.
The 2nd single from Ladies & Gentlemen (The Best Of George Michael) was released in the UK on 1 March 1999. It was a duet with Mary J Blige – a cover of Stevie Wonder’s As that was left off the US release – and became a top five hit in the UK.
1st Parkinson Show
George Michael appeared on Parkinson Show for a candid interview. He talked honestly & humorously about his life and sang A Different Corner and Outside live in the studio. The complete show was just for George (no other guests).
Ladies & Gentleman
Ladies & Gentleman: The Best Of George Michael was released. The collection was a huge success, peaking at number one on the UK Albums Chart for 8 weeks. It is certified 9 times platinum in the United Kingdom and multi-platinum in the United States.
George Michael released Outside, a joyous, disco-infused jam that used self-deprecating humour to poke fun at the incident; even including direct samples of radio reports on his arrest in the song. Outside made it to number two on the UK singles chart and was the the lead single from his greatest hits album, Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael. The video for the song was directed by Vaughan Arnell.
George Michael came out to the general public.
Will Rogers Memorial Park
George Michael was arrested in Beverly Hills for allegedly engaging in a lewd act alone in a public restroom, police said.
The Best of Wham!: If You Were There
The Best of Wham!: If You Were There was the second UK-released compilation to summarise the career of Wham!. It peaked at number 4 on the UK Albums Chart.
You Have Been Loved/The Strangest Thing ’97
The last single taken from Older – the double-sided You Have Been Loved/The Strangest Thing ’97 – was released. It became George Michael’s 8th consecutive top ten hit in the UK.
Star People ’97
Star People ’97 – a new version of the Older album track – was released becoming the fifth single from it. The song went straight to #2.
Waltz Away Dreaming
George Michael’s duet with Toby Bourke was released and peaked at #10 in the UK. Here’s what George Michael said about it at the time:
“It’s a song written by Toby Bourke with a couple of additional verses written by me. What I would like to say it’s that if you listen to the record in context of Toby’s part being my father and my part being me than you will guess what the record is about. And I would just like to say that I hope that it helps my father and anybody else who’s lost anybody recently that’s having trouble believing that they are still there for them.”
The BRIT Awards 1997
Elton John presented the BRIT Award for Best British Male at The BRIT Awards 1997 to George Michael.
Older – the single
Older was released as a single. The video for the song was directed by Andy Morahan.
George won Best Male at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
George Michael performed a stunning concert at Three Mills Studios in East London for MTV Unplugged. It was his first long live performance in years. His mother Lesley was in the audience. Sadly she passed away four months later losing her battle with cancer.
Spinning The Wheel
Spinning The Wheel, the third single taken from Older, was released.
Older, the third solo studio album of George Michael, was released. In the UK, the album was particularly notable for producing six top three hit singles in a two-year span, creating a record still unsurpassed.
Fastlove, the second single drawn from Older, was released. It became George Michael’s second UK #1 in a row and reached the top 10 in the US. The music video for the song, directed by Vaughan Arnell and Anthea Benton, won the International Viewer’s Choice Award for MTV Europe.
Jesus To A Child
The studio version of Jesus To A Child was released as the first single from George Michael’s forthcoming album Older. It reached #1 on the UK charts and raised £50,000 for charity.
After months of negotiation, Sony lost its battle to hold on to one of its biggest acts. George Michael’s record contract was sold and he signed a new contract with Virgin and Dreamworks SKG.
Europe Music Awards
The first Europe Music Awards took place in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gate. George Michael performed Freedom ’90 and Jesus To A Child, a brand new song.
The judge ruled in Sony’s favor. Some days after the verdict George Michael, during an interview with Sir David Frost, explained why he was determined to continue his battle for artistic freedom.
Concert Of Hope
George Michael spent much of his life campaigning for a cure for HIV/AIDS. In December 1993, before an audience including the Princess Of Wales, he headlined the Concert Of Hope at Wembley Arena on World Aids Day.
International Viewer’s Choice Award
At the MTV Video Music Awards, George Michael won International Viewer’s Choice Award for Killer/Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.
Five Live, an EP featuring five tracks including George Michael’s performances at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert with Queen and Lisa Stansfield, was released. All proceeds from the sale of the EP benefited the Mercury Phoenix Trust. Sales of the record were very strong throughout Europe, where it debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, and several European countries.
Rock for the Rainforest
George Michael sang at Rock for the Rainforest, a benefit concert held at Carnegie Hall in New York by the Rainforest Foundation Fund and Rainforest Foundation US and hosted by the organizations’ founders Sting and his wife Trudie Styler.
Panayiotou vs Sony Music Entertainment
George Michael filed suit before the Chancery Division against Sony Music in a bid to be released from his contract with the label.
Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation Benefit
George Michael performed live at Madison Square Garden for the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation Benefit.
Red Hot + Dance & Too Funky
Red Hot + Dance compilation, part of a project aimed to raise money and awareness of the fight against HIV/AIDS, was released. The album featured three new George Michael’s songs – Too Funky, Do You Really Want To Know and Happy. Too Funky was released as a single and reached the top ten in the UK and the US. The song was accompanied by a video starring another group of models – this time they included Tyra Banks, Nadja Auermann, Estelle Halliday and Linda Evangelista – and was directed by George Michael in collaboration with Thierry Mugler.
The Freddie Mercury Tribute
George Michael performed three songs – ’39, These Are The Days Of Our Lives (with Lisa Stansfield) and Somebody To Love – at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, held at the old Wembley Stadium.
Golden Note Award
George Michael received the ASCAP Golden Note Award a prize presented to songwriters, composers, and artists who have achieved extraordinary career milestones.
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, a 1974 song by Elton John that George Michael and Elton John had performed live during one of the Cover to Cover dates at Wembley Arena on 23 March 1991, was released as a single and reached number one in the UK and US. All proceeds went to charity.
Cover to Cover’s last concert
The Cover to Cover Tour spanned more than 30 shows in 5 countries: United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan, Canada and the United States. The last show was at The Capital Centre (later USAir Arena and US Airways Arena) an indoor arena located in Landover, Maryland, a suburb east of Washington, D.C.
Best British Album
Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 won the 1991 Brit Award for Best British Album.
Rock In Rio
After opening with two nights at the Genting Arena in Birmingham George Michael flew to Brazil to perform two dates at the Rock in Rio festival at the Maracanã Stadium. He played in front of a crowd of 170,000 packed into one of the world’s largest football stadiums and during the second concert he was joined on stage by Andrew Ridgeley. It was the last time that Wham! performed together on stage.
Cover To Cover Tour
The second solo concert tour by George Michael – Cover to Cover – started in Birmingham. The tour was not a proper promotion for Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Rather, it was more about George Michael singing covers of his favourite songs.
Freedom! ’90 was released as the second single from the album in the United States and Australia and peaked at No.8 on the United States Billboard Hot 100. George Michael did not appeared in the video for the song. Inspired by Peter Lindbergh’s now-iconic portrait of Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford for the January 1990 cover of the British edition of Vogue, George Michael asked the five models to appear in the video directed by David Fincher. After appearing in the video, the quintet became supermodels, referred to only by their first names.
Waiting For That Day
Waiting For That Day was released in UK as the second single from Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1.
Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1
Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 – George Michael’s second solo studio album – was released. Produced, arranged and written almost entirely by George Michael it confirmed him as a pioneering, agenda-setting artist. Topping charts worldwide, the album rocketed to No.1 in the UK and peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart. Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 did well, selling eight million copies, but it did not sell as spectacularly as Faith. George Michael wanted to play down his image and play up the quality of his music. He was determined not to associate his image with the record. No pictures ot him appeared on the sleeve. Unfortunately he felt that his American label did not supported him. His unhappiness led to a lawsuit against Sony.
Praying For Time
Praying For Time, the first single from Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, was released. The single topped the charts in the US and reached #6 in the UK. Lyric videos may be common now, but in 1990 it was outrageous that George Michael refused to make a super-expensive video for the song and instead let the words speak for themselves.
MTV’s Video Vanguard Award
George Michael was presented with the Video Vanguard Award (Career Achievement) at the MTV Video Music Awards.
End of Faith Tour
The Faith Tour ended in Barcelona, Spain after 137 shows in 21 different countries.
Nordoff Robbins Silver Clef Awards
George Michael received the Silver Clef Award for outstanding contributions to UK music.
Ivor Novello Awards
The 34th Ivor Novello Awards were held on 4th April 1989 at the Grosvenor House, London. George Michael collected two awards. He won in the category Songwriter of the Year and in the category International Hit of the Year with Faith. He was also nominated in the category Best Contemporary Song with Father Figure.
Album of the Year
At the 31st Annual Grammy Awards, George Michael won the prize for the Album of the Year with Faith and was nominated in the category Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male with Father Figure.
American Music Awards
George Michael won three awards at the 16th Annual American Music Awards: Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album for Faith.
Kissing A Fool
Kissing A Fool, the sixth and final single from the album Faith, was released.
The fifth single from Faith – Monkey – was released. It became George Michael’s sixth solo single reaching number-one in the US, and the fourth single to do so from the Faith album.
George Michael performed three cover songs at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute concert: Village Ghetto Land by Stevie Wonder, If You Were My Woman by Gladys Knight and Sexual Healing by Marvin Gaye. He deliberately chose to perform songs originated by black artists to make a point about the 25-years of apartheid in South Africa.
One More Try
One More Try, Faith’s fourth single, was released. The song hit number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The Faith Tour began in Tokyo, Japan at the Budokan arena.
Best British Male
George Michael wins Best British Male at the BRIT Awards.
Father Figure was released as the third single from Faith’s album. The video for the song, directed by George Michael and Andy Morahan, won Best Direction of a Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1988.
Faith – the album
Just a few weeks after George Michael’s first solo album – entirely written and produced by himself – was released. Faith peaked at number one on the UK Albums Chart and US Billboard 200. It stayed for 51 non-consecutive weeks inside the Billboard 200 top 10, including 12 weeks at number one. It was also the first album by a white solo artist to hit number one on the Billboard Top Black Albums chart. Faith spawned four number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100: Faith, Father Figure, One More Try, and Monkey, making George Michael the only British male solo artist to have four number one hits from one album on the Billboard Hot 100.
Faith – the single
Faith was released as a single before George Michael’s debut solo album of the same name. It held at #1 for four consecutive weeks on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit #2 in the UK singles chart.
I Want Your Sex
Released as a single in June 1987, I Want Your Sex was the third hit from the soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop II and the first single from George Michael’s debut solo album Faith.
Stand By Me
George Michael performed at the Stand By Me AIDS Day Benefit Concert at the Wembley Arena in London. Dubbed The Party, the all-star benefit concert was organized to fight AIDS. During the event Wham! also reunited on stage and performed Everything She Wants.
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
George Michael’s duet with Aretha Franklin, I Knew You Were Waiting For Me, was released in January 1987 and reached the top of the charts in the UK and the US. Lately that year they won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Billboard listed I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) as Aretha Franklin’s all-time biggest Hot 100 single.
Music from the Edge of Heaven
Music from the Edge of Heaven was the third and final studio album from Wham! in the US. It was released on 1 July 1986 by Columbia Records. Where Did Your Heart Go? was then released as Wham!’s final single in the US on October 14, 1986.
The final concert
Anticipated by two warm-up shows on the 23rd and 24 June at the Brixton Academy in London, Wham!’s farewell concert – The Final – was held at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 28 June 1986. A total of 72,000 people attended the event on the day but it was reported that, when the tickets went on sale, a million fans jammed the box office.
The last single
Wham!’s final UK single, The Edge Of Heaven, was released.
The final album
Wham!’s last album The Final was released.
A Different Corner
A Different Corner – the first single credited solely to George Michael worldwide – was released.
No more Wham!
The split of Wham! was officially announced. It was – in the words of George Michael – the “most amicable split in pop history”.
Outstanding Contribution to Music
Wham! won the BRIT Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.
American Music Awards
Wham! won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Video Group at the 1986 American Music Awards.
I’m Your Man
I’m Your Man – written and produced by George Michael – was released.
The Whamamerica! tour began in late August 1985. It travelled around the United States, opening at Poplar Creek Music Theater in Illinois in the Midwest, then heading across the border to Canada and all the way down the West Coast to northern and Southern California, south to Texas and then back east to Philadelphia and Detroit.
Wham! joined Elton John to perform Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me at Live Aid in front of 72,000 people in Wembley Stadium. The event was organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for the Ethiopian famine disaster. Broadcast across the world via one of the largest satellite link-ups of all time, the concerts were seen by around 40% of the global population.
Motown Returns To The Apollo
George Michael was invited to perform at the grand reopening and 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City. He sang Careless Whisper with Smokey Robinson and Love’s in Need of Love Today with Stevie Wonder.
Wham in China
Wham! went on a 10-day visit to China, the first by a Western pop group. The trip began with a concert at the Peoples’ Gymnasium in Beijing (then Peking) in front of 13,000 people. They also played a concert in front of 5,000 in Canton. The two concerts were played without compensation. Wham!’s visit to China attracted huge media attention across the world. A documentary film – Wham! in China: Foreign Skies, released in 1986 – was shot over the two weeks and edited over summer and autumn 1985 in London. The film was directed by Lindsay Anderson and produced by Martin Lewis.
Songwriter of the Year
George Michael won his first two Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year, and Most Performed Work: Careless Whisper. The Ivor Novello Awards are presented annually in London by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters. George would go on to be nominated several other times. He won the award four more times in 1989, 1996 and 1997.
Wham! won Best British Group at the annual ceremony of BRIT Awards.
Last Christmas/Everything She Wants
Last Christmas was released on a double A-side with Everything She Wants. It was written and produced by George Michael and has been covered by many artists since its original release. The song was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic. George Michael not only sang on the Band Aid single, but also donated the royalties from Last Christmas to the same cause.
The Big Tour
Wham! started the first leg of The Big Tour in support of their multi-platinum second studio album Make It Big. The tour spanned four months between December 1984 and April 1985, comprising 39 shows across the UK, Ireland, Japan, Australia, United States, Hong Kong and China.
George Michael went to SARM Studios in London for the recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas? Written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure the song raised £8 million to fight the famine in Ethiopia.
Make It Big
Wham!’s second album was released. Make It Big was another huge success, hitting number one in both the UK and the US.
George Michael’s first solo single – Careless Whisper – was released. The song, written by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, topped the charts in more than 20 different countries.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – written and produced by George Michael – was released as a single in the UK on 14 May 1984 and became Wham!’s first UK and US number one hit.
From Innervision to Epic
The dispute never went to trial. In the end Wham!’s contract was nullified as part of a legal compromise with CBS Records. In April 1984 they signed a contract with the major CBS subsidiary Epic for an improved deal.
Club Fantastic Megamix
By the end of 1983 Wham! was rivaling Duran Duran and Culture Club as Britain’s biggest pop act. Andrew discovered there was royalty discrepancies in the group’s contract so they sued Innervision. In retaliation the label released Club Fantastic Megamix without Wham!’s approval and the duo urged their fanbase not to buy the single.
Club Fantastic Tour
Also advertised as Club Fantastic ‘83 Tour the debut concert tour by Wham! started. It was sponsored by Fila sportswear and spanned two months from October to late November, comprising 30 sold out shows across England, Scotland and Wales.
Club Tropicana is released as a single. A video directed by Duncan Gibbins was made at Pikes Hotel in Ibiza.
Wham!’s debut album – Fantastic – was released. It peaked at #1 on the UK albums’ chart.
Bad Boys – Wham!’s third single – was released.
Top Of The Pops
Wham! appeared on Top of The Pops for the first time. The impact of Wham! on the public was felt from the moment they finished their debut performance of Young Guns (Go For It!).
Young Guns (Go For It) – Wham!’s second single – was released.
Wham’s first single Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do) was released.
Wham! signed recording contract with Innervision.
George and Andrew formed Wham!
The Executive is formed, consisting of George, Andrew Ridgeley, Andrew’s brother Paul, David Austin and Andrew Leaver. The band had only a couple unreleased demo songs. Within months it was reduced to the first four members, and disbanded within a year.
While he was in his early teens, the family moved to Radlett. George attended Bushey Meads School, a secondary school in Bushey, near Watford. He met future bandmate, Andrew Ridgeley, at the school.
Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was born in East Finchley, London, to a Greek Cypriot father (Kyriacos Panayiotou) and an English mother (Lesley Angold Harrison). He had two older sisters, Yioda and Melanie.