Happy Monday, Everyone. This week’s featured artist is George Michael.
Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (born 25 June 1963), better known by his stage name George Michael, is an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Michael rose to superstardom during the 1980s and 1990s with his style of post-disco dance-pop. He has also been characterised as a blue-eyed soul singer, although his material draws more from middle-of-the-road pop than soul music.
As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Michael has sold more than 100 million records worldwide as of 2010. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith, has on its own sold more than 20 million copies worldwide.Michael has garnered seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Michael the 40th most successful artist on the Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists list.
Michael has won numerous music awards throughout his 30-year career, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male twice, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards from eight nominations.
In 2004, the Radio Academy named Michael as the most played artist on British radio between the period of 1984–2004. The documentary A Different Story was released in 2005; it covered his personal life and professional career. In 2006, George Michael announced his first tour in 15 years, the worldwide 25 Live tour, spanning three individual tours over the course of three years (2006, 2007 and 2008).
Michael first found success after forming the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. The band’s first album Fantastic reached No. 1 in the UK in 1983 and produced a series of top 10 singles including “Young Guns”, “Wham Rap!” and “Club Tropicana”. Their second album, Make It Big reached No. 1 on the charts in the US. Singles from that album included “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (No. 1 in the UK and US), “Freedom”, “Everything She Wants”, and “Careless Whisper” which reached No. 1 in nearly 25 countries, including the UK and US, and was Michael’s first solo effort as a single.
Michael sang on the original Band Aid recording of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (which became the UK Christmas number one) and donated the profits from “Last Christmas/Everything She Wants” to charity. In addition, he contributed background vocals to David Cassidy’s 1985 hit “The Last Kiss”, as well as Elton John’s 1985 successes “Nikita” and “Wrap Her Up”. Michael cited Cassidy as a major career influence and interviewed Cassidy for David Litchfield’s Ritz Newspaper.
Wham!’s tour of China in April 1985, the first visit to China by a Western popular music act, generated worldwide media coverage, much of it centred on Michael. Before Wham!’s appearance in China, many kinds of music in the country were forbidden.The audience included members of the Chinese government, and Chinese television presenter, Kan Lijun, who was the on stage host, spoke of Wham!’s historic performance; “No-one had ever seen anything like that before. All the young people were amazed and everybody was tapping their feet. Of course the police weren’t happy and they were scared there would be riots. The tour was documented by film director Lindsay Anderson and producer Martin Lewis in their film Foreign Skies: Wham! In China.
With the success of Michael’s solo singles, “Careless Whisper” (1984) and “A Different Corner” (1986), rumours of an impending break up of Wham! intensified. The duo officially separated during the summer of 1986, after releasing a farewell single, “The Edge of Heaven” and a singles compilation, The Final, plus a sell-out concert at Wembley Stadium that included the world premiere of the China film. The Wham! partnership ended officially with the commercially successful single “The Edge of Heaven”, which reached No. 1 on the UK chart in June 1986.
Wake Me Up-WHAM