Famous British singer-songwriter. Born in North London of Greek descent, he started out his career in 80s boy-band Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley.

After the demise of this group he grew a beard (well, stubble), moved to the USA and became very famous and very very wealthy. Notoriously caught by the police for skulking in an LA toilet, George Michael admiited he was gay and then steadfastly refused to allow any of this to affect his life.

A long long time ago, in one of those clubs that was fabulous for about five minutes in the late eighties in New York, I was out dancing with some friends. And when it became more interesting to sprawl around and watch the crowds, I struggled through the beautiful and the sweaty to the bar, then tried to weave my way back to the sofas where the friends slumped with an armful or frozen margueritas (I said it was the late eighties already, right?) and mexican beers with little wedges of lime jammed into the top.

And I was doing fine, with my ducking and diving, my excuse mes and my sorries. Until some arsehole bumped into me and sent the drinks slopping and splashing down my finely adorned front.

"Arshole!" I hissed, stating the obvious as I looked him up and down, taking in the tight white tshirt, the gold earring, the rather patchy stubble, the black leather jackets, and the rather podgy belly. "Who do you think you are, George Fucking Michael?"

"Er...yes, actually."

I stomped off, sneering over my shoulder at him, as a large burly bouncer sort pulled faces at me and said, "yeah!" over the porky-michael's shoulder.

I parked the drinks and waved my hands around and moaned about the George wannabe who soaked me to the skin. "Er..." they stuttered, "that is George Michael. Didn't you notice the paparazzi yelling 'George! George!"

I've always been better at spilling drinks than recognising celebrities.


The birth of Georgios
London saw the birth of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou on June 25, 1963. His Greek father and British mother had a restaurant, where young Georgios often had to assist. At school Georgios became friends with a boy called Andy Ridgeley. They both loved the sound of Saturday Night Fever and Elton John, and were inspired by these institutions of pop music to write their own songs.

The birth of Wham!
They introduced themselves at various record companies, resulting in Wham! in 1981 and two quick hits called Young Guns (Go For It) and Wham Rap!. Their international breakthrough came soon after with the hugely popular summer hit Wake me up before you go-go. Girls everywhere around the world dreamt of George - as Georgios called himself now - and Andrew. The soul ballads Careless Whisper and A Different Corner settled George Michael's lover boy image permanently.

The decease of Wham!
Wham!'s light-hearted pop songs accompanied by exotic video clips instantly made them one of the main pop groups of the eighties. But several top ten hits and three albums later, one could easily state at the summit of their success, they decided to quit in 1986. George Michael signed at Columbia and issued his debut solo album in 1987: Faith. The title song and the explicit I want your sex rocked the charts just like the good-old Wham! hits. With his new rock-and-roll sound, George Michael shook off his sweet boy appearance and became a true musician and performer.

Solo career
Faith also earned him his second Grammy, after he had received his first for his 1987 duet I Knew You Were Waiting with Aretha Franklin. George Michael already had arguments with his record company at this time, which eventually led to his decision to withdraw from issuing new work for two years. But at that time he had already delivered Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1, and the Five Live EP. His music developed towards black jazz and philosophical lyrics. The Freedom 90 video showed Supermodels in action: Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista. He also made duets with his idol Elton John, with Stevie Wonder, Lisa Stansfield and Queen. Already in this period he was very active in fending for AIDS causes.

Silence and demise
In October 1993 the judges ruled that according to their contract, Sony could indeed interfere with George Michael's artistic ideas. Although he returned after a long self-chosen silence, it actually was the end of his career as one of the leading artists in the world. All his later work is relatively weak and experimental, and only appreciated by his faithful fans. The last time George Michael made the world press headlines was in 1998, after he was arrested for (gay) sex on a public toilet. He had to pay a fine and do community work. His protest single Outside flopped. In an interview he stated: "I spent the first half of my career being accused of being gay when I hadn't had anything like a gay relationship. In fact, I was 27 before that happened to me. So I spent years growing up being told what my sexuality was, really, which is kind of confusing. And then by the time I'd kind of worked out what it was and I'd stopped having relationships with women, I was just so indignant about the way I had been treated until then, I just thought, well, I'll just hold on to this. The media don't need to know. I don't think I should have to tell them. I have no problem with people knowing that I'm in a relationship with a man right now. I have not been in a relationship with a woman for almost ten years."

Solo hit singles discography:

Solo albums discography:

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