George Michael, Pop Superstar who cultivated the image of carefree teenage rebels with a dance-club beat has died at 53. He was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, London, on June 25, 1963. He and his schoolmate, Andrew Ridgeley together started Wham!
George Michael was one of pop’s reigning stars in the 1980s and ’90s — first as a handsome, smiling teen-pop idol making lighthearted singles like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” with Wham!, then arriving as a grown-up pop sex symbol with his 1987 album “Faith.”
In the mid-1980s, Wham was one of the most successful pop duos ever with singles like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Careless Whisper”, “Last Christmas” and “The Edge of Heaven”. It dissolved in 1986.
Michael wrote supple ballads, like “Careless Whisper” and “Father Figure,” as well as buoyant dance tracks like “Freedom ’90” and “I Want Your Sex.” For much of his career, including his best-selling albums “Faith” and “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1,”
He won a Grammy Award in 1988 for “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me),” a duet with Aretha Franklin, and “Faith” won the Grammy for album of the year. According to Britain’s Radio Academy Michael had been the most-played performer on British radio from 1984 to 2004.
In 1998 he came out as gay & lent his name and music to support AIDS prevention and gay rights. In the early 2000s, Michael released songs protesting the invasion of Iraq, including the 2002 “Shoot the Dog.” His last full studio album, “Patience,” was released in 2004.
It is ironic that George Michael, singer of ‘Last Christmas’ has died on Christmas Day. Sad, he is no longer there to say “Wake Me Up”