George Michael

George Michael

George Michael
Quick Facts About Georgios Panayiotou
Celebrated Name George Michael
Age 60 years old
Nick Name George Michael
Birth Name Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou
Birth Date 1963-06-25
Gender Male
Profession Singer
Birth Nation England
Place of Birth East Finchley
Nationality British
Ethnicity Mixed
Father Kyriacos "Jack" Panayiotou,
Mother Lesley Angold
School Roe Green Junior School
High School Kingsbury High School
Sister Yioda and Melanie
Religion Christian
Sexual Orientation Gay
Partner Fadi Fawaz
Boyfriend Fadi Fawaz
Death Date 25th December 2016
Cause of Death Dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and fatty liver
Net Worth $200 million
Source of Wealth Music Industry
Height 5 feet 11 inches (180.5 cm)
Weight 82 kg (181 lbs)
Hair Color Salt and Pepper
Eye Color Hazel
Body Build/Type Average

George Michael, the British singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician, left an indelible mark on the music industry. With estimated record sales between 100 million and 125 million worldwide, he is considered one of the best-selling musicians of all time. Known for his creative songwriting, powerful vocal performances, and distinctive visual style, he achieved an impressive 13 number-one hits on the UK Singles Chart and 10 number-one hits on the US Billboard Hot 100. His impact on British radio was also recognized by The Radio Academy, which named him the most-played artist during the period of 1984-2004. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame. He rose to prominence as part of the music duo "Wham!" and later embarked on a successful solo career. Wham!'s early albums, "Fantastic" (1983) and "Make It Big" (1984), topped the charts in the UK and the US, featuring hit singles like "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Last Christmas." Wham! also gained worldwide attention as the first Western popular music act to tour China in 1985. His solo career took off with the release of his chart-topping single "Careless Whisper" in 1984, followed by the success of "A Different Corner" and the duet with Aretha Franklin, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)." His debut solo album, "Faith" (1987), solidified his status as a global superstar. The album produced multiple number-one hits, including the title track, "Father Figure," "One More Try," and "Monkey." The success continued with his second solo album, "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (1990), featuring the Billboard Hot 100 number one "Praying for Time" and the iconic "Freedom! '90." George Michael released two more highly successful albums, "Older" (1996) and "Patience" (2004). Beyond music, he was a dedicated advocate for LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS charities. His personal life struggles with drug use, and legal issues garnered media attention. In 1998, he publicly came out as gay. In 2011, he faced a health scare when he fell into a coma due to pneumonia but recovered. George Michael performed his final concert in 2012 and tragically passed away on Christmas Day in 2016 from heart disease at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. His legacy as a talented musician and influential figure in the music industry continues to resonate.

Who is George Michael?

George Michael was a British singer-songwriter and musician. With estimated record sales of 100-125 million worldwide, he achieved numerous chart-topping hits and was considered one of the best-selling artists of all time. Known for his creative songwriting and powerful vocals, George Michael left an enduring impact on popular music. He rose to fame as part of the duo "Wham!" and later pursued a successful solo career, releasing iconic albums like "Faith" and "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1." Beyond his musical accomplishments, George Michael was an advocate for LGBT rights and HIV/AIDS charities. His personal life and legal struggles garnered media attention, and his untimely death in 2016 left a void in the industry. George Michael's legacy as a talented musician and influential figure continues to be celebrated.

George Michael, whose full name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, was born on June 25, 1963, in East Finchley, Middlesex, England. He had British nationality and Greek Cypriot ancestry from his father's side, while his mother was of English descent. His father, Kyriacos "Jack" Panayiotou, was a Greek-Cypriot restaurateur who migrated from Patriki, Cyprus, to England in the 1950s, while his mother, Lesley Angold, was an English dancer. It was revealed that George Michael's maternal grandmother was Jewish, but due to fear during World War II, she married a non-Jewish man and raised her children without knowledge of their Jewish background. George spent his childhood in Kingsbury, London, attending Roe Green Junior School and later Kingsbury High School. He had two sisters, Yioda and Melanie. George discovered his passion for music after a head injury during his early teens and became friends with his future Wham! partner, Andrew Ridgeley, while attending Bushey Meads School in Bushey. He began his musical journey by busking on the London Underground and later worked as a DJ, playing at clubs and local schools. George's early ventures also included the formation of a ska band called The Executive, which featured Andrew Ridgeley, among others.

British singer-songwriter, George Michael Dies At 53

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley formed the iconic duo "Wham!" in 1981, and their debut album, "Fantastic", achieved chart-topping success in the UK in 1983. Wham! produced a string of hit singles including "Young Guns," "Wham Rap!," and "Club Tropicana." Their second album, "Make It Big", reached No. 1 in the US and featured chart-toppers such as "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Freedom," "Everything She Wants," and the iconic "Careless Whisper," which marked Michael's first solo effort. In 1984, Wham! released the holiday classic "Last Christmas." Michael's collaborations and charitable efforts during this period were notable, including his participation in the original Band-Aid recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and his performance of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with Elton John at Live Aid. Wham! embarked on a groundbreaking tour of China in 1985, becoming the first Western act to perform in the country. The duo ultimately disbanded in 1986, with their farewell single "The Edge of Heaven" and a memorable concert at Wembley Stadium.

In early 1987, George Michael embarked on his solo career and achieved a significant milestone with the release of the duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" featuring Aretha Franklin. The collaboration was a dream come true for Michael, as he had the opportunity to sing with one of his favorite artists. The song soared to number one on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100, marking Michael's third consecutive solo number one in the UK. Notably, it was the first solo song Michael recorded that he did not write himself, with co-writer Simon Climie. Michael and Franklin were honored with a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance – Duo or Group with Vocal. Later in 1987, Michael released his debut solo album, "Faith". Despite controversy and censorship, the album spawned hits like "I Want Your Sex," which reached No. 2 on the US charts, and the title track "Faith," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four consecutive weeks and became the best-selling single of 1988 in the US. The iconic music video for "Faith" showcased Michael's distinctive style and cemented his place in the 1980s music industry.

His album "Faith" was released on October 30, 1987, topping the UK Albums Chart and spending 51 weeks in the top 10 of the US Billboard 200, including 12 weeks at No. 1. The album produced four No. 1 singles in the US, including "Faith," "Father Figure," "One More Try," and "Monkey." Faith achieved diamond certification in the US with 10 million copies sold and has sold over 25 million units worldwide. It received critical acclaim, with music critics praising its craftsmanship and pop-rock sensibility. Michael embarked on a successful world tour, which included a notable performance with Aretha Franklin. He received awards such as Best British Male Solo Artist at the Brit Awards and Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Despite his commercial success, Michael started questioning the nature of his fame and expressed a desire to distance himself from excessive promotions and the pressures of being an idol.

George's album "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" was released in September 1990, reflecting his desire to be recognized as a serious songwriter. It reached No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 2 on the US Billboard 200. The album featured five UK singles: "Praying for Time," "Waiting for That Day," "Freedom! '90," "Heal the Pain," and "Cowboys and Angels." The first single, "Praying for Time," became an instant success, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album's second single, "Waiting for That Day," showcased a more acoustic sound. "Freedom '90" was accompanied by a notable music video featuring supermodels lip-syncing in Michael's place. Despite his success, Michael refused to appear in any of the album's music videos except for "Freedom '90." The album won the award for Best British Album at the 1991 Brit Awards. "Mother's Pride" gained significant radio play during the Persian Gulf War, incorporating tributes to soldiers with the music.

In 1991, he embarked on the Cover to Cover tour, performing cover songs instead of promoting Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. During the tour, he recorded a duet of "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" with Elton John, which became a No. 1 hit in the UK and US. Michael also released an autobiography called Bare in collaboration with Tony Parsons. His planned album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2, was abandoned due to a lawsuit with Sony. Instead, he contributed songs to the charity project Red Hot + Dance. Michael's performance at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, where he sang "Somebody to Love," was considered a standout moment. 

The "Five Live" EP was released featuring live recordings by George Michael, Queen, and Lisa Stansfield, including performances from the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert and the Cover to Cover Tour. The EP debuted at No. 1 in the UK and supported the Mercury Phoenix Trust. In 1994, Michael made a comeback with "Jesus to a Child," a tribute to his late lover, which reached No. 1 in the UK. He followed it with "Fastlove," another chart-topper, and released his third studio album, "Older". In 1998, his first solo greatest hits collection, "Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael", became a massive success, spending eight weeks at No. 1 in the UK. The album included the humorous single "Outside" and a duet with Mary J. Blige called "As." In 1999, he released the cover album Songs from the "Last Century", which reached No. 2 in the UK.

In 2000, George collaborated with Whitney Houston on the hit single "If I Told You That." His solo single "Freeek!" reached the UK Top 10, followed by "Shoot the Dog," a politically charged song released in 2002 criticizing the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Michael's fifth studio album, "Patience," released in 2004, became one of the fastest-selling albums in the UK and reached No. 1. The album produced the hit singles "Amazing" and "Flawless." In 2006, he embarked on his first tour in 15 years, called "25 Live." Michael also made appearances on TV shows, including performing on The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Idol. In 2008, he released a Christmas-themed track titled "December Song."

In early 2010, Michael performed his first concert in Australia in over two decades. He also released cover versions of songs for charity, including New Order's "True Faith" for Comic Relief and Stevie Wonder's "You and I" as a gift to Prince William and Catherine Middleton on their wedding. In 2011, he embarked on the Symphonica Tour but had to cancel it due to pneumonia and a subsequent coma. However, he made a surprise appearance at the 2012 Brit Awards, where he received a standing ovation. The tour resumed in 2012, but sadly, the final concert of his life took place in October of that year. In 2014, his album Symphonica reached No. 1 in the UK. Posthumously, in 2017, a documentary titled Freedom was released, and a single called "Fantasy" featuring Nile Rodgers was released in 2017. In 2021, his iconic song "Last Christmas" finally reached No. 1 in the UK, marking his enduring legacy.

On September 7, 2017, George Michael's estate released the single "Fantasy," originally recorded during the making of Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. The track was not included on the album but was featured on singles from the same era. In 2019, the film Last Christmas, inspired by the Wham! classic was released with an accompanying soundtrack album featuring Wham! and George Michael songs, including the previously unreleased track "This Is How (We Want You to Get High)." The soundtrack album achieved success on various charts. In 2022, the documentary film Freedom Uncut, which Michael had been working on prior to his death, was released to critical acclaim. Additionally, a remastered and expanded version of his album Older was released, reaching number 2 on the UK Official Albums Chart.

What Awards and Achievements have George Michael won?

ASCAP Pop Music Awards:

  • 1986: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1986: "Careless Whisper" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1986: "Everything She Wants" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1987: "I'm Your Man" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1989: "Faith" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1989: "One More Try" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1989: "Father Figure" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1990: "Kissing a Fool" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1990: "Heaven Help Me" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1992: "Praying for Time" - Most Performed Songs (Won)
  • 1997: "Jesus to a Child" - Most Performed Songs (Won)

American Music Awards:

  • 1986: Wham! - Favorite Pop/Rock Band/Duo/Group Video Artist (Won)
  • 1989: George Michael - Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist (Won)
  • 1989: George Michael - Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist (Won)
  • 1989: "Faith" - Favorite Soul/R&B Album (Won)

Billboard Music Awards:

  • 1987: Himself - Top Hot 100 Artist - Male (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Artist (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Male Artist (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Billboard 200 Artist (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Billboard 200 Artist - Male (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Hot 100 Artist (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Hot 100 Artist - Male (Won)
  • 1988: Himself - Top Crossover Artist (Won)
  • 1988: Faith - Top Hot 100 Song (Won)
  • 1988: Faith - Top Billboard 200 Album (Won)
  • 1988: Faith - Top Compact Disk (Won)
  • 1989: Faith - Top Billboard 200 Album (Won)

Brit Awards:

  • 1985: Wham! - British Group (Won)
  • 1986: Wham! - Outstanding Contribution to Music (Won)
  • 1988: George Michael - British Male Solo Artist (Won)
  • 1991: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 - British Album of the Year (Won)
  • 1997: George Michael - British Male Solo Artist (Won)

Danish Music Awards:

  • 1997: George Michael - Foreign Male Singer (Won)
  • 1997: Older - International Album (Won)
  • 1997: "Fastlove, Pt. 1" - International Hit (Won)

GAFFA Awards:

  • 1998: George Michael - Årets Udenlandske Sanger (Won)

Golden Raspberry Awards:

  • 1988: "I Want Your Sex" - Worst Original Song (Won)

Grammy Awards:

  • 1988: "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" - Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals (Won)
  • 1989: Faith - Album of the Year (Won)

Hungarian Music Awards:

  • 1994: Five Live -Best Concert Album (Won)
  • 1997: Older - Best Foreign Album (Won)

Ivor Novello Awards:

  • 1985: George Michael - Songwriter of the Year (Won)
  • 1985: "Careless Whisper" - Most Performed Work (Won)
  • 1997: George Michael - Songwriter of the Year (Won)
  • 1997: "Fastlove" - Most Performed Work (Won)

MTV Video Music Awards:

  • 1988: "Father Figure" - Best Direction in a Video (Won)
  • 1989: George Michael - Video Vanguard (Career Achievement) (Won)
  • 1993: "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - International Viewer's Choice Award—MTV Europe (Won)
  • 1996: "Fastlove" - International Viewer's Choice Award—MTV Europe (Won)

Music Week Awards:

  • 2018: Himself - Catalogue Marketing Campaign (Won)

Music Video Production Awards:

  • 2003: "Freeek!" - Best International Video (Won)
  • 2003: "Freeek!" - Best Special Effects (Won)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

  • 2023: Himself - Performer (Won)

Silver Clef Awards:

  • 1989: Himself - Silver Clef Award (Won)

Who was George Michael Partner?

George Michael was involved in a relationship with his partner, Fadi Fawaz before his passing. In 2012, George entered a romantic partnership with Fadi Fawaz, a talented celebrity hairstylist and freelance photographer of Lebanese-Australian descent, residing in London. Tragically, it was Fawaz who discovered George Michael's lifeless body on Christmas morning in 2016. The loss of George Michael and the circumstances surrounding his passing left a profound impact on Fawaz and the world, as they mourned the loss of the beloved singer and remembered their time together. His sexual orientation was gay. 

George Michael and his partner, Fadi Fawaz

George Michael had several significant relationships throughout his life. His longest relationship was with Kenneth Goss, a former flight attendant, cheerleader coach, and sportswear executive from Dallas. They began dating in 1996 but revealed their separation in 2009. Before that, George was romantically involved with Brazilian fashion designer Anselmo Feleppa, whom he dated for two years until Feleppa's untimely death in 1993. In 1985, George was rumored to be dating actress Brooke Shields. During the same period, he had a relationship with Chinese makeup artist Kathy Jeung, which lasted nearly four years until their breakup in 1989. In 1983, George was romantically involved with dancer Pat Fernandez, but their relationship ended after a year in 1984. 

George, who had previously dated women and identified as heterosexual, later discovered his attraction to men. At the age of 19, he shared with his Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley that who identified as bisexual. However, in a 1999 interview, George revealed that he was actually gay. Falling in love with a man helped him realize that his previous experiences had not truly been love, leading him to embrace his true sexual orientation. He expressed that he never had a moral problem with being gay and recognized that his previous connections had not been genuine love.

How did George Michael die?

On Christmas Day in 2016, George Michael tragically passed away at the age of 53 while in bed at his residence in Goring-on-Thames. His partner, Fadi Fawaz, discovered him. The cause of his death was determined in March 2017 by a senior coroner in Oxfordshire, who attributed it to dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis and a fatty liver. Due to the time taken to establish the cause of death, George Michael's funeral was held on March 29, 2017. The private ceremony took place at Highgate Cemetery in north London, where he was laid to rest beside his mother's grave. Remarkably, his sister Melanie, who passed away exactly three years later, rests on the other side. The loss of George Michael left a profound impact on his loved ones and fans worldwide, with his memory cherished and his legacy enduring.

In the summer of 2017, a temporary memorial garden was established outside George Michael's former residence in The Grove, Highgate, where devoted fans tended to the site for about eighteen months before its clearance. In March 2019, an auction of Michael's art collection took place in England, generating £11.3 million in proceeds, which were subsequently donated to various philanthropic organizations that the singer had supported during his lifetime. George Michael's will primarily allocated his £97 million estate to his sisters, father, and friends, omitting bequests to his former partner Kenny Goss and his partner at the time, Fadi Fawaz. However, in 2021, a financial settlement was reached between the trustees of Michael's estate and Kenny Goss following legal proceedings. Numerous tributes were paid to George Michael, with Elton John, Adele, Chris Martin, and Geri Halliwell among those who honored his memory through heartfelt performances and dedicated charity efforts. In 2020, a mural celebrating George Michael as a pioneering cultural and LGBTQ+ figure was unveiled in his native borough of Brent, as part of the Brent Biennial art project.

How much was George Michael Net Worth?

George Michael, the iconic singer-songwriter, record producer, and musician, achieved tremendous success and amassed considerable wealth throughout his career. At the time of his death, his estimated net worth was $200 million, which included $12 million worth of real estate. With timeless hits such as "Careless Whisper" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," George Michael left an indelible mark on the music industry, garnering fame and accolades. His primary source of wealth came from the music industry, where he established himself as a prominent pop singer. Initially rising to fame as part of the duo Wham!, he later embarked on a successful solo career. His chart-topping albums, both with Wham! and as a solo artist, along with successful collaborations, solidified his position as one of the richest and most celebrated musicians of his time. George Michael embraced life to the fullest, showcasing his talent not only in music but also in a TV commercial for Diet Coke in 1989. George possessed a magnificent residence known as Highgate House located in the northern part of London, which he bequeathed to his sister Melanie. In addition, the acclaimed singer held ownership of a charming 16th-century cottage situated in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. Acquiring the property in 2007, he meticulously renovated the cottage to ensure the preservation of its authentic character, maintaining the original low ceilings and wooden beams that reflected its rich historical essence. George Michael's attention to detail and dedication to preserving the home's true heritage added to the allure and charm of the property.

How tall was George Michael?

George Michael, the talented singer, possessed a handsome appearance. He had an average build and stood at an impressive height of 5 feet 11 inches (180.5 cm). George weighed approximately 82 kg (181 lbs), maintaining a well-proportioned physique. His salt and pepper hair added to his allure, along with his captivating hazel eyes. Michael was distinguished by his short hairstyle and salt and pepper beard, which added to his unique and distinguished look. His remarkable talent and striking appearance made him a beloved figure in the music industry. 

5 Facts About George Michael

1. George Michael wrote 'Careless Whisper' as a teenager

A young and talented George Michael, at the tender age of 17, penned the iconic song "Careless Whisper" during his daily commute to work as a cinema usher. This timeless masterpiece was born while he sat on a bus, his creative mind pouring out the heartfelt lyrics and mesmerizing melody that would go on to captivate generations. Despite his youth, George Michael demonstrated a remarkable gift for songwriting, crafting a musical gem that would stand the test of time and become one of his most beloved and recognizable works.

2. He dueted with Aretha Franklin

In 1987, George had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with the legendary Aretha Franklin on a duet titled "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)." This remarkable musical collaboration proved to be a milestone for Franklin, as it became her first and only UK No.1 hit. The powerful combination of George's soulful vocals and Aretha's unmatched talent created a mesmerizing synergy that resonated with audiences worldwide. Their duet remains a testament to the exceptional artistry of both artists and stands as a cherished moment in music history.

3. He was sued by Barry Manilow over the song Last Christmas

During the mid-1980s, a legal dispute arose between George Michael and Barry Manilow over the song "Last Christmas." Songwriters associated with Barry Manilow alleged that George Michael had plagiarized the melody of "Can't Smile Without You" for his holiday hit. The matter was eventually resolved out of court, leading to an agreement where George Michael was required to donate the first year's royalties from "Last Christmas" to the Band-Aid charity. As for the similarity between the two songs, musical opinions may vary, but it is worth noting that legal actions were taken based on the alleged resemblance, suggesting some perceived likeness between the melodies.

4. His group, Wham! was the first Pop act to perform in China

In a groundbreaking moment for both pop music and cultural exchange, George Michael's group, Wham!, became the first pop act to perform in China during the mid-1980s. At that time, China was still recovering from a period of extreme isolationism under the leadership of Mao Zedong, which meant limited exposure to Western music. However, George Michael played a pivotal role in opening the doors to popular Western music in China. Wham!'s performance, attended by 15,000 people at the People's Gymnasium in Beijing, marked a revolutionary milestone in bridging the gap between East and West. It comes as no surprise that an artist of George Michael's significance was involved in such a momentous event. For further insights, you can explore an informative article by Time Magazine to delve deeper into this remarkable occurrence.

5. He wore sunglasses in public to try to hide his identity

In his journey through a flourishing solo career, George faced the challenges of fame head-on and grappled with its accompanying pressures. To shield himself from the intrusive gaze of strangers, he adopted the habit of donning sunglasses when venturing out in public. This attempt to hide his identity and avoid direct eye contact became a visible symbol of his struggle with the overwhelming attention that fame brought into his life. Behind those tinted lenses, George sought a sense of privacy and protection, navigating the complexities of stardom while striving to maintain a semblance of personal space.