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George Michael
There are entertainers, and then there's George Michael. Let's face it - there remains a George Michael song for every mood and situation you are in. He's created a library of emotional highs and lows that serve as signposts on the road of millions of our lives. And over the years, we have seen how reliable he is: Putting out great videos (often with hot models), releasing an album we would gladly listen to from beginning to end, and even throwing in some behaviour worthy of dinnertime discussion.

The aura about him transcends that of a normal singer. His exploits have defined what huge stars are supposed to do to flaunt their celebrity. With his incredible talents, he is more than just an entrepreneur, statesman, fashion aficionado, pop star he's a living legend. And although Michael has claimed to have a long-term male partner, it has not deterred women from fantasizing about him. The British accent and suggestive songs (I Want Your Sex) reel the ladies in from all over. His openness about sexuality and seduction has further contributed to an attractive allure perceived by the fairer sex. Michael's style is also a source of sex appeal, busting out with cool suits and finding different ways of wearing leather. Even at the onset of his career, many considered Michael a true talent. His voice was mesmerizing, and his stage presence unmatched. While none of that has changed, it is Michael's creativity and longevity that have proved to be the keys.

George Michael was in fact not born with that perfect entertainer's name. Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou was the name on his birth certificate when born on June 25th, 1963 in North London. From the beginning of his studies at a comprehensive school, it was apparent that young George's skills as a singer would not go untapped. Teaming up with schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley, they jammed together and eventually formed their first band, the Executive, in the late '70s. It wasn't until they combined as a true duo and gave themselves the name Wham! in 1982 that success came their way.

Within a year they had released their classic debut single, Wham Rap, but it was their second single, Young Guns (Go For It!) which became the first in a string of Top 10 hits. It did not take long for "George Michael" to become a familiar name. With the albums Fantastic, Make It Big and The Final - Wham! became the pop group of the '80s. All three albums went to No. 1 on the UK charts and enjoyed similar success in America. The singles Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, I'm Your Man and Freedom were huge hits, boosting the duo's reputation even further. With the success of 1984's Careless Whisper, which was credited as "George Michael from Wham!" (even though Ridgeley co-composed the song), it was evident that better things could come of Michael's solo career. Although later on Ridgeley's solo career flopped, Michael's initial success was just the tip of the iceberg. Written when he was still only 17, Careless Whisper became one of the most-played radio songs of the decade and went to number one in 23 countries across the world. The next single-Last Christmas- became another million seller for Wham. It topped the charts in 17 countries, and the song became one of the longest running Christmas number ones in UK Chart history. His growing maturity was further established with the release of A Different Corner, his second solo single, and another mature ballad of lasting worth.

Announcing the bands break-up at the peak of their popularity, Wham! played to a packed crowd of 72,000 fans at famed Wembley Stadium in London, in 1986. That same year, working up to his project as a solo artist, Michael teamed up with Aretha Franklin for I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) and in 1987, won his first Grammy in the Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance category. A whirlwind of activity, Michael travelled between England and Denmark in order to release his first solo effort on time.


You can read the rest of our cover story on George Michael in the February 2004 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:

Nelly Furtado
Blue
Alt-Rock
Josh
Sunjay Dutt
Dragonfly
Harry Anand
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