THE LAST CHRISTMAS OF GEORGE MICHAEL
Georgios Kyriakos Panayotou, whom everyone knows under the name George Michael, was born on June 25, 1963 in North London. He was the youngest child in the family of a former Cypriot who emigrated to Britain in the 1950s, and his wife, an indigenous Englishwoman. My father worked as a restorer and recalled the upbringing of children only after he had accumulated plenty of old stuff. Georgios was closely watched by the elder sisters Yoda and Melanie, and there could be no question of any formation of a male character.
The future George Michael was not always so handsome and hardly suspected of his multiple talents, but for 7 years he had dreamed of becoming a pop star, having no idea how to achieve this. At the insistence of his parents, singer George Michaelparien was forced to take lessons of the classical violin, which for a left-hander turned into seven years of tearful torment. He loved American soul music, respected Elton John and Queen, sometimes went to London dance clubs, but was too shy to join the hot crowd. When he was 12 years old, he was attracted by the romance of a pilot’s career, but his classmates, having learned about his dreams, said that short-sighted color blind men had no place at the helm of an airplane. Georgios didn’t really care about the colors of some colors and soon began to wear glasses on his nose.
And he would have remained worthless scattered glasses, if in 1975 he had not met Andrew Ridgeley, his new classmate, half English, half Egyptian, who was assigned to help Georgios in school. Soon the Yogi, as Panaiot was called in the family, sat down on a strict diet, dropped a dozen extra pounds and changed his glasses to more comfortable contact lenses.
Tangible progress led to frequent absenteeism, singer George Michael when, together with his friend David Austin, they entertained the passengers of the London Underground. David played the 12-string guitar, and Georgios sang songs by David Bowie, Elton John, The Beatles, and even a few of his own.
At the age of 16, Andrew and Georgios formed the backbone of The Executive School Group. But their only hit was the song “Rude Boy” and the team quickly broke up. However, it was during these years that Georgios and Andrew wrote the initial repertoire for their breakthrough in the future phenomenal pop duet Wham !.
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley have signed a deal with young label Innervision Records. And the next year and a half, the British and American charts began to attack with energetic and easy-to-rise singles. Finally, in Britain in 1982 their debut album “Fantastic” was released. But, seeing the growing demand for their records (under the contract, the band members received an insignificant part of royalties), they entered into a new, much fairer contract with Epic.
Until the middle of 1986 Wham! bathed in glory and were idols for the female half of humanity. Their second album, “Make It Big”, which sold over 5 million copies, entered the history of pop music as the first disc of the 1980s with three singles, which were in 1st place in the national charts of Britain. They became the first western group that gave several concerts in communist China in April 1985. It is noteworthy that it was forbidden to export foreign currency from China, and the British were very seriously offered to receive a fee for performances by bicycles.
The new singles “Last Christmas” and “I’m Your Man” proved that the band was at the peak of popularity, but soon the duet announced it would cease to exist. He remained in the memory of contemporaries, as the most commercially successful pop project of the 1980s, which is widely known for his charity. Who would have thought that “Last Christmas” would become not only one of the best singles written by George Michael, but also in a certain sense prophetic in the singer’s life.
George Michael Wham!
At the time of the band’s triumph in the summer of 1984, the composition Careless Whisper became Michael’s debut single as a solo artist. He wrote this soulful ballad as a 17-year-old naive young man, and the world fell in love with this brilliant melancholic, having learned how soon it showed the most beautiful human qualities of a fully mature man. For this song, in 1985, from the hands of his idol Elton John, Michael received a statuette of Ivor Novello and became the youngest person who was ever awarded the title of best author of the year, and Elton called him also the “greatest writer of his generation.”
The second time, he “went solo” in 1986, when another of his ballads, A Different Corner, appeared, just before the breakup of the group, the single also headed the British charts, and further stylistic movement of George’s songs seemed like a decided thing. He chose a more refined musical direction for his solo work – soul and began to manage his career alone.