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George Michael – Gone Too Soon

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

Pop icon George Michael, whose real name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayioutou, was born on June 25, 1963 in Bushey, Hertfordshire.   Michael’s father, Kyriacos Panayiotou, was a Greek Cypriot restaurateur.  After moving to England during the 1950s, Kyriacos changed his name to Jack Panos.  His mother, Lesley Angold Harrison, was аn English dancer who died due to cancer in thе year 1997.  Michael spent most of his childhood life in North London. They moved to Radlett during Michael’s teenage years.  While at Radlett, Michael took violin lessons with Gwen Johnson.

Photo courtesy of Heart FM.com

Photo courtesy of Heart FM.com

George Michael met Andre Ridgeley at Bushey Meads School when Ridgeley started to teach Michael.  Michael and Ridgeley both shared an ambition of having a career in music.  First they established a ska bаnd named The Executive before creating Wham, the pop band that catapulted them to the spotlight.  As the frontman of Wham he became known as a soul-influenced pop singer.  After going solo, Michael became a sex symbol after the release of his seminal album “Faith” in 1987.  The 90s saw a reinvention of Michael and his music with the releases of  “Listen Without Predjudice Vol. 1” in 1990 and “Older” 1996.

In 2005, George Miсhаеl joined Paul McCartney on stage in a performance of “Drive My Cart” by the Beatles, in the Live 8 concert.  As a remixer, Michael created a dance mix for “Tripping on Your Love” by Bananarama.

Photo courtesy The Mirror UK

Photo courtesy The Mirror UK

As a  singer-songwriter, Gеоrgе Michael was a two-time Grammy Award winner. Britishhitsongwriters.com listed Michael as the 40th popular song writer in the United Kingdom’s chart history.  On Christmas, George Michael died in his sleep at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.  He was 53.  His manager Michael Lippman stated his death was caused by heart failure.  Since the announcement of his passing streams of fans have been leaving tributes at his home.  An outpouring of celebrities have expressed their grief on social media.  The BBC described Michael as, “Blessed with good looks and a fine singing voice, his stage presence made him a favorite on the live concert as he matured from teen idol to long term stardom.”

The 10 best George Michael songs

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

George Michael could have been a product of his era, but his songwriting talent and amazing voice helped solidify his place in music history.  Michael started out as one-half of a bubblegum pop duo called Wham before breaking off on his own and achieving instant success with his debut album Faith.  While it looked like Michael was going to be the next major pop star, he chose to move into the world of adult contemporary music and released som of the best song of his career.

With only five studio albums, as well as 40 singles and numerous collaborations, Michael had not been the most prolific musician; he has provided a steady flow of quality songs though over his career.  Check out our list of George Michale’s top 10 tracks and see where your favorite ranks.

10.  Monkey

While George Michael is best known now for his songwriting and adult contemporary music, he starte out with dance pop tracks and “Monkey” from his debut solo album Faith fits that mold perfectly.  The song was Michael’s fourth straight number one hit, a fast paced dance song that was his first charting dance song.

9.  One More Try

Also from Faith was the ballad “One More Try” which was the fourth single from the album.  It was another number one song for Michael with lyrics describing a young man afraid to enter a new relationship after being hurt so bad in the past.

8.  Killer/Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone

This George Michael song was a cover of two different classic songs.  The first was the song “Killer” which was originally sung by Adamski and Seal.  The second was The Temptations’ “Papp was a Rollin’ Stone.”  The two songs were blended and combined into one song and was released on Five Live, which was a live performance including a Freddy Mercury Tribute.

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.com

Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone.com

7.  I Believe (When I Fall in Love, It Will be Forever)

Originally, “I Believe (When I Fall in Love, It Will be Forever)” was a soul song by Stevie Wonder.  George Michael then covered the song and released it on his re-mastered 2011 version of Faith.

6.  Father Figure

The third single from Faith was “Father Figure” which was released in 1988.  Interestingly, this was the first George Michael song to not hit the Top 10 in the U.K., but was his sixth number one single in the U.S.  The music video showed Michael as a cab driver in a relationship with a high fashion model.

5.  Freedom ’90

Released on Michael’s second solo album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, “Freedom ’90” was almost an anthem for Michael declaring his freedom from being typecast as a pop star. The video actually took iconic things from the video for “Faith” and destroyed them including his jacket and juke box.

4.  Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me

Originally, Elton John released “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” in 1974 but the song reached its greatest success in 1991.  That was a George Michael concert at Wimbley Arena for the Live Aid Concert when George Michael was performing the song live and then Elton John was brought up to sing with him. The actual video was shot at the concert in Chicago, but the music was from Wimbley.

Photo courtesy of Us Weekly

Photo courtesy of Us Weekly

3.  I Want Your Sex

On the album Faith, George Michael released three different “I Want Your Sex” songs, labeled in three parts. The first part of the song is what was released as a single, although on the album it blends into the second part.  The third part appears at the end of the album.  It was his second solo song to rank on the charts.

2. Praying for Time

Relеаѕеd in 1999, Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1, “Praying fоr Time” ѕреnt оnе week аt number оnе оn the Billbоаrd charts.  The song wаѕ Miсhаеl’ѕ firѕt single in two уеаrѕ аnd showed thаt hе wаѕ back, ѕtrоngеr thаn еvеr.

1.   Faith

The second song released by George Michael on the album of the same name was “Faith,” his first single released in 1988 and the bestselling song of the year.  The album pretty much defined what George Michael was all about at the time, and image he tried to change when he released his subsequent albums.

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