George Michael (Born Georgios Panayiotou)
June 25, 1963 – December 25, 2016
As one-half of the pop vocal duo, Wham!, George Michael rose to stardom during the mid-’80s. Formed with schoolmate, Andrew Ridgeley in 1981, Wham! released just three studio albums, but that was enough to sell over 25 million copies during their short run of five years. Born in London, Michael began his musical journey busking Queen songs (and more) on the London Underground. He also worked as a DJ for neighborhood school parties and at local clubs. In 1981, he and Ridgeley formed Wham!, who went on to release several worldwide hits, including “Careless Whisper,” “Freedom,” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” After parting ways with Ridgeley in 1986, Michael launched an even more successful solo career. His first “solo” single, “I Knew You Were Waiting,” a duet with Aretha Franklin, debuted at #1 in both the US and UK. He followed that with the album Faith in October of 1987. The album sold over 25 million copies and was named Album of The Year at the 1989 Grammy Awards. In all, Michael sold more than 100 million albums during his solo run and won two Grammys along with numerous other accolades. George Michael was just 53 when passed away in his sleep on December 25, 2016. Initial reports point to heart failure as the cause of death.
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