George Michael died yesterday. He was 53.
Like most folks, I first became aware of George Michael when “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” hit the charts back in the 1980s. At the time Michael was part of the duo Wham. The song was an upbeat, fun tune and featured Michael dancing as he sang giving us no insight into the artist we were viewing.
It wasn’t until Michael left Wham and began recording on his own that we would see his true talents emerge. Michael sold more than 100 million records worldwide, had seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Billboard ranks him the 40th-most successful artist to ever live.
Michael was a generous man performing in many concerts with the proceeds designated for charities, donating all of the proceeds from the single “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” among ten different charities for children, AIDS and education. Michael also supported the Elton John AIDS Foundation and gave to other charities anonymously.
George Michael always seemed to me the perfect example of a troubled artist. A good looking guy, who wanted to be seen as more than just another handsome face. A man who appeared to have it all but struggled with private issues. A generous man with talent and financial resources that he shared with the world.
Rest in Peace, George Michael. Your music and memory will live on.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to George Michael’s family, friends and fans.