George Michael: A Blue-Eyed Soul Singer

About 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 super stardom during the 1980s and 1990s with his style of post-disco dance-pop. He has also been characterized as a blue-eyed soul singer.

"Everyone sees ups and downs in life, but there is only a few who overcome and again start their life +George Michael  is one of them."


1. "Sex" in the song:

In 1987, George Michael was the biggest superstar on the planet and he caused one of the biggest controversies ever, simply by using one word that’s practically common place in today’s music.

Controversy exploded worldwide when the BBC banned the song from play in 1987. Some US radio stations refused to play the song until 9 p.m., or opted to play a toned-down version, using the word “love” instead of “sex.” Legendary radio personality and host of American Top 40 Casey Kasem refused to say the name of the song during his show, calling it “the new George Michael single.”

Some critics accused Michael of carelessly promoting casual sex at time when advocacy groups were trying.

Michael countered by claiming the song was not about casual sex at all, but about one commitment, love and passion. He released an official statement during the height of the controversy:
“The media has divided love and sex incredibly. The emphasis of the AIDS campaign has been on safe sex, but the campaign has missed relationships. It’s missed emotion. It’s missed monogamy. ‘I Want Your Sex’ is about attaching lust to love, not just to strangers.”

(Eventually the controversy gave way to the sheer popularity of the song (or perhaps the controversy fueled the success of the song), which went on to become one of the biggest hits of the 80’s. It peaked at #2 on the U.S. charts and #3 on the British charts, clearing the way for a flurry of singles off of ‘Faith’.  It sold more than 10 million copies, and to this date has sold nearly 30 million copies worldwide.)

The singer admitted he had been striving to match the achievements of Michael Jackson and Madonna, but following the golden success of the early 1990s, Michael's life and image became dogged by trauma and controversy.

2. Sexuality:

At the age of 19, Michael told Andrew Ridgeley and close friends that he was bisexual. Michael also told one of his two sisters, but he was advised by friends not to tell his parents about his sexuality. In a 1999 interview with The Advocate, Michael told the Editor in Chief, Judy Wieder, that it was "falling in love with a man that ended his conflict over bisexuality." "I never had a moral problem with being gay," Michael told Wieder. "I thought I had fallen in love with a woman a couple of times. Then I fell in love with a man, and realized that none of those things had been love." In 2007, Michael said he had hidden the fact he was gay because of worries over what effect it might have on his mother.

Speaking about his time with Wham! in the 1980s, Michael said: "I used to sleep with women quite a lot in the Wham! days but never felt it could develop into a relationship because I knew that, emotionally, I was a gay man. I didn't want to commit to them but I was attracted to them. Then I became ashamed that I might be using them." In 2009, Michael said: "My depression at the end of Wham! was because I was beginning to realize I was gay, not bisexual."

3. Anonymous sex:

Questions of Michael's sexual orientation persisted in public until 7 April 1998, when he was arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public restroom of the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills, California. In 2007, Michael said "that hiding his sexuality made him feel 'fraudulent', and his eventual outing, when he was arrested in 1998, was a subconsciously deliberate act."

Michael was arrested by an undercover policeman named Marcelo Rodríguez, in a sting operation using so-called "pretty police." In an MTV interview, Michael stated: "I got followed into the restroom and then this cop—I didn't know it was a cop, obviously—he started playing this game, which I think is called, 'I'll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I'm going to nick you!"

Pleading "no contest" to the charge, Michael was fined US$810 and sentenced to 80 hours of community service. Soon afterwards, Michael made a video for his single "Outside", which satirised the public toilet incident and featured men dressed as policemen kissing. Rodríguez claimed that this video "mocked" him, and that Michael had slandered him in interviews. In 1999, he brought a US$10 million court case in California against the singer. The court dismissed the case, but an Appellate court reinstated the case on 3 December 2002. The court then ruled Rodríguez, as a public official, could not legally recover damages for emotional distress.

After the incident, Michael became explicit about his sexuality and his relationship with Kenny Goss which began in June 1996.

On 23 July 2006, Michael was again accused of engaging in anonymous public sex, this time at London's Hampstead Heath. The anonymous partner was stated (wrongly, as it turned out) to be 58-year-old Norman Kirtland, an unemployed van driver. Despite stating that he intended to sue both the News of the World tabloid who supposedly photographed the incident and Norman Kirtland for slander, Michael stated that he cruises for anonymous sex and that this was not an issue in his relationship with partner Kenny Goss.

(He was arrested for a sex act in Los Angeles, leading to a public admission that he was gay.
George Michael says he most likely tempted fate before his notorious 1998 Beverly Hills arrest for lewd behavior. The musician, 38, told BBC Radio 1 in London on Monday that he actually may have walked into the situation, which forced him to come out publicly as a gay man, to "make my life about me." At the time of the arrest, he said, he was in mourning over the deaths of his mother and of his former partner, Anselmo Feleppa. "I think, with hindsight, I did it to myself and I tried to work out why," Michael said on the air. "And suddenly, it was a way of making my life about me. And for six months it worked." Michael was fined $810 and sentenced to perform 80 hours of community service for committing the unspecified act, which, police reports said, occurred in a small park.)

4. Drugs:

On 26 February 2006, Michael was arrested for possession of Class C drugs, an incident that he described as "my own stupid fault, as usual." He was cautioned by the police and released.

Michael was arrested in Cricklewood, North-West London, after motorists reported a car obstructing the road at traffic lights. He pleaded guilty on 8 May 2007 to driving while unfit through drugs. He was banned from driving for two years, and sentenced to community service.

During September 2007, on Desert Island Discs, he said that his cannabis use was a problem; he wished he could smoke less of it and was constantly trying to do so.

On 19 September 2008, Michael was arrested in a public toilet in the Hampstead Heath area of London for possession of Class A and C drugs. He was taken to the police station and cautioned for controlled substance possession.

On 5 December 2009, in an interview with The Guardian, Michael explained he had cut back on cannabis and now smokes only 'seven or eight' spliffs per day instead of the 25 he used to smoke.

In the early hours of Sunday 4 July 2010 Michael was returning from the Gay Pride parade. The singer was spotted on CCTV driving into the front of a Snappy Snaps store in Hampstead, North London and was arrested on suspicion of being unfit to drive. On 12 August, London's Metropolitan Police said he was "charged with possession of cannabis and with driving while unfit through drink or drugs". It was reported that Michael had also been taking the prescription medication Amitripty line.

On 24 August 2010, the singer pleaded guilty at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court in London after admitting driving under the influence of drugs and on 14 September 2010 at the same court, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, a fine, and a five-year ban from driving. Michael was released from Highpoint Prison in Suffolk on 11 October 2010, after serving four weeks.

5. Politics:

"To call us [Wham!] Thatcherite was so simplistic, basically saying that if you've got a deep enough tan and made a bit of money then you've got to be a Thatcherite."

Labour voters throughout the 1980s, Michael distanced himself from Thatcher's Conservative Party.
During the reign of Margaret Thatcher as the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom throughout the 1980s, Michael voted Labour.

Michael wrote "Shoot the Dog", a song critical about the friendly relationship between the British and American governments, in particular Tony Blair and George W. Bush, with their involvement in the Iraq War. Michael voiced his concern about the lack of public consultation in the UK regarding the War on Terror: "On an issue as enormous as the possible bombing of Iraq, how can you represent us when you haven't asked us what we think?"

During 2000, Michael joined Melissa Etheridge, Garth Brooks, Queen Latifah, the Pet Shop Boys, and k.d. lang, to perform in Washington, D.C. as part of 'Equality Rocks' a concert to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.

In 2007, the £1.45 million piano that John Lennon used to write "Imagine" was sent by Michael around the US on a "peace tour," having it on display at places where violence had taken place, such as Dallas' Dealey Plaza, where US President John. F. Kennedy was shot.

He devoted his 2007 concert in Sofia, Bulgaria, from his "Twenty Five Tour" to the Bulgarian nurses prosecuted in the HIV trial in Libya. On 17 June 2008, Michael said he was thrilled by California's legalisation of same-sex marriage, calling the move "way overdue."

(Not that Michael has steered clear of controversy since. His latest single "Freeek," released in the U.K. on Monday, features a $1.5 million video that includes mating dogs, nudity and profanity, as well as Michael appearing in a black leather bondage outfit, reports the BBC Radio Web site. [Reuters adds that both British and French censors took scissors to it.] "I've realized that," Michael told BBC Radio, "starting with this single, I've actually written some fairly controversial stuff for this album.")

6. Contract Problem:

He fell out spectacularly with his record company Sony in 1994 and tried to get himself released from his contract, which he called "professional slavery".

He accused Sony of not marketing Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 adequately. A three-month court case ensued, which Michael eventually lost, forcing him to fulfil his contractual commitments and record two more songs to be used on a greatest hits album.


Michael established a relationship with Anselmo Feleppa, a male Brazilian dress designer, whom he had met at the 1991 concert Rock in Rio. Six months into their relationship, Feleppa discovered that he had HIV. Michael later said: "It was terrifying news. I thought I could have the disease too. I couldn't go through it with my family because I didn't know how to share it with them – they didn't even know I was gay." In 1993, Feleppa died of an AIDS-related brain hemorrhage.

Michael's single "Jesus to a Child" is a tribute to Feleppa (he consistently dedicates it to him before performing it live), as is his 1996 album Older. In 2008, speaking about the loss of his partner Feleppa, Michael said: "It was a terribly depressing time. It took about three years to grieve, then after that I lost my mother. I felt almost like I was cursed."

1. one of the world's best-selling music artists, Michael has sold more than 100 million records worldwide as of 2010.
2. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith, has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and made several records and achievements in the United States.
3. Michael has garnered seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.
4. 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.
5. In 2004, the Radio Academy named Michael as the most played artist on British radio between the period of 1984–2004.
6. The documentary A Different Story was released in 2005; it covered his personal life and professional career.
7. 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)

1. 1981–1986: Wham! Michael first found success after forming the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981.

2. Solo career: The beginning of his solo career, during early 1987, was a duet with Aretha Franklin. "I Knew You Were Waiting" was a one-off project that helped Michael achieve an ambition by singing with one of his favorite artists, and it scored number one on both the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100 upon its release
In the following years he has given so many hit albums:

3. 1987–1989: Faith
4. 1990–1992: Listen Without Prejudice
6. 1993: Five Live
7. 1994–1997: Older
8. 1998: Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael
9. 1999: Songs from the Last Century
10. 2000–2005: Patience
11. 2005–2010: Twenty Five and concert tours
12. 2011–2014: Symphonica and concert tours

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