14 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About George Michael
The late and definitely great George Michael of course started off as a ‘boy band’ member in the duo of Wham!, but he then went on to have a massively successful and critically acclaimed solo career. Here are 14 things you probably didn’t know about this legend of the pop world…
1. He Had A Number Of Nicknames
George had a number of different nicknames among his family and friends. He was called Yog (from the Greek pronunciation of Georgios), TLTI (The Legend That Is), Knobby, The Greek and The Bubble.
2. He Didn’t Make Much Money From Wham!
Wham! saw very little money from the sales of their successful first album because of the unfair record contract they signed. George Michael talked about it in his book ‘Bare’, saying “I realized that it was getting ridiculous to have no money, to have to keep asking for a little bit of money for clothes and stuff, when you know how much you are making for other people.”
3. He Wrote Careless Whisper As A Teenager
George Michael was only 17 years old when he wrote the song Careless Whisper, as he rode a bus to his job as a cinema usher.
4. Wham! Didn’t Split Up For The Reasons People Thought
When Wham! split up the rumours said it was because they weren’t getting along, but George Michael later revealed the truth was that they split for artistic reasons, and that the incorrect rumours were started by their former management. He went on to say that he wanted to write more honest emotions in his records, creating songs that people could personally relate to.
5. He Struggled With His Fame
George struggled with the fame that came with his successful solo career, and started wearing sunglasses when outside to avoid eye contact with strangers.
6. He Helped Aretha Franklin Get Her Only UK Number One
George’s 1987 duet with Aretha Franklin called ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)’ gave Franklin her only ever UK No.1 hit.
7. He Protested Against The Iraq War Through His Music
He was strongly against the UK and US involvement in the Iraq War, recording a controversial 2002 single called ‘Shoot the Dog’, which had a video that ridiculed Tony Blair, Cherie Blair and George W. Bush.
8. He Won Tons Of Awards…
During his career Michael won a massive 21 music awards from a total of 49 nominations.
9…And Is One Of The Biggest Selling British Artists Of All Time
He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best selling British artists of all time.
10. He Could Have Fronted Queen After Freddie’s Death
George was seriously considered as a replacement for Queen legend Freddie Mercury. Watch his performance of ‘Somebody To Love’ at the Freddie Mercury tribute concert and you can understand why…
11. He Performed For Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin paid George $3 million for an hour long New Year’s Eve concert in Moscow in 2007.
12. He Was An Extremely Generous Man
George was known for being a big supporter of charities, but it wasn’t until after he died that we found out about the full extent of his generosity. Since he died in December 2016, a number of people have come forward with stories about his sizeable donations. These include a female contestant on ‘Deal or No Deal’ receiving £15,000 to fund her IVF treatment, and a stranger receiving a cheque for £25,000 to pay her outstanding debts.
13. He Performed A Free Concert For Hospital Staff…
He performed at a free concert for the staff of Vienna General Hospital to thank them for saving his life back in 2011.
14…And He Volunteered At A Homeless Shelter
Michael also volunteered at a homeless shelter but asked the other volunteers to keep his involvement a secret.