George Michael UK’s Pop Icon shall be missed

Wafiur Rahman
Thursday, December 29th, 2016


Last Christmas

I gave you my heart

But the very next day

you gave it away


It seems to be morbidly befitting that singer George Michael’s death resembled the very lines which made him famous the first place. One of UK’s most talented and iconic pop exports after Elton John, he died peacefully in his sleep on December 26, aged 53.


Social media is still reeling over the demise of the quintessential pop icon of the 80’s and 90’s, George Michael, on Monday, including his peers in the music industry.


Singer and close friend Elton John, the singer LeAnn Rimes Cibrian and the actor William Shatner all echoed a frustration shared by many on social media in response to a raft of recent celebrity deaths: The year had claimed yet another respected soul, they lamented.


John, friend and collaborator, wrote on Instagram of his “deep shock” at the loss of “the kindest, most generous soul and a brilliant artist”. Actor Rob Lowe and the singer- songwriter Josh Groban, as did many others, praised Michael’s striking singing voice.


While others, like Questlove, the drummer for the hip-hop group the Roots; the rock band OneRepublic; and comedian Ellen DeGeneres, remembered him simply as a legendary musician. Andrew Ridgeley, Michael’s former Wham! bandmate wrote on Twitter that he was “heartbroken by the loss of my friend” who would be “4ever loved”.


Among those who remembered him were Madonna, who wrote on Twitter: “Farewell my friend! Another great artist leaves us”. Also paying tribute, contemporaries Duran Duran referred to the loss of “another talented soul” in a year which which has seen the deaths of several major-league rock and pop stars, among them David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen.


Michael, who was set to release a documentary in 2017, rose to fame as half of Wham!, known for their hits Club Tropicana and Last Christmas. He had a highly successful solo career which included the songs Careless Whisper, Faith, Outside and Freedom! 90.


He was born in London to Greek Cypriot parents and first achieved pop success with school friend Ridgeley in the pop duo Wham! They split up in 1986 and he went on to have a glittering solo career in which he collaborated with Elton John, Aretha Franklin and Queen, after the death of Freddie Mercury.


He also had frequent brushes with the law, including his highly publicised arrest in a Los Angeles public toilet in 1998, an episode that led him to acknowledge his homosexuality and his relationship with Kenny Goss. His track Outside, released the same year, poked fun at the arrest and reached No 2 in the charts.


Michael – who was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou – had eleven UK number ones and sold more than 100m albums throughout a career spanning almost four decades. His last album, Symphonica, was released in 2014.

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