Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (Greek: Γεώργιος Κυριάκος Παναγιώτου) (born June 25, 1963) best known as George Michael, is a two-time Grammy Award winning, English singer-songwriter, who has had a career as frontman of the duo Wham! as well as a soul-influenced, solo pop musician. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, encompassing 12 British #1 singles, 7 British #1 albums, 10 US #1 singles, and 2 US #1 albums. His 1987 debut solo album, Faith became one of the best selling albums of all time, and also the first album to produce six top 5 singles in the United States and it has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. All four of his solo studio albums have all reached #1 on the U.K. charts and have gone on to become huge international successes. This success has made George Michael the most played artist on British radio over the past two decades.
Michael was born Georgios-Kyriacos Panayiotou in East Finchley, North London. His father was Kyriacos Panayiotou, a Greek Cypriot restaurateur who moved to England in the 1950s and changed his name to Jack Panos. Michael's mother, Lesley Angold Harrison, was a former dancer who died of cancer in 1997. Michael spent the majority of his childhood in North London, living in the home his parents bought shortly after his birth. In his early teens, the family moved to Radlett and Michael attended Bushey Meads School.
He began his career by forming a short-lived ska band called The Executive with his best friends Andrew Ridgeley, Paul Ridgeley, Andrew Leaver, and David Mortimer (aka David Austin).
It was not until he formed the duo Wham! together with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 that success came to Michael. The band's first album, Fantastic, was released going to number 1 in the UK, and within a year, they had released their classic debut single, "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do?)". Their second single, "Young Guns (Go For It!)", became the first in a string of Top 10 hits in the UK singles chart. They followed with titles such as "Bad Boys", and "Club Tropicana". Their second album Make It Big was their breakthrough, eventually selling 6 million copies in the US alone and made them international superstars. Singles from that album included "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", "Freedom", "Last Christmas/Everything She Wants", and "Careless Whisper", which was released as a Michael solo effort.
George also sang on the original Band Aid recording of "Do They Know It's Christmas" and donated the profits from "Last Christmas/Everything She Wants" to the charity. In addition, he added background vocals to David Cassidy's 1985 hit "The Last Kiss", as well as Elton John's 1985 hits "Nikita" and "Wrap Her Up".
Wham!'s tour of China in April 1985, the first visit to China by a Western pop act, generated enormous worldwide media coverage, much of it centred on Michael. The tour was documented by celebrated film director Lindsay Anderson and producer Martin Lewis in their film Foreign Skies: Wham! In China and contributed to Michael's ever-widening fame.
With the success of his solo releases "Careless Whisper" (1984) and "A Different Corner" (1986) stories of an impending Wham! split intensified, and Wham! separated in the summer of 1986 after a farewell single, "Edge Of Heaven", an album, plus a sell-out concert at Wembley Stadium that included the world premiere of the China film. The Wham! partnership officially ended with the little-known single "Where Did Your Heart Go?", which reached a peak position of #50 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in November 1986.
George Michael desired to create music targeted to a more sophisticated audience than the duo's primarily teenage fanbase. The first step of his solo career, in early 1987, was a duet with soul music icon Aretha Franklin. "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" was a one-off project that helped Michael achieve an ambition by singing with one of his favorite artists, and it reached number one on both the UK Singles Chart and the Billboard Hot 100 upon its release.
For Michael, it became his third consecutive solo number-one in the UK from three releases, following 1984's "Careless Whisper" (though the single was actually from the Wham! album "Make It Big") and 1986's "A Different Corner". The single was also the first Michael had recorded as a solo artist which he had not written himself. The co-writer, Simon Climie, was an unknown at the time, although he would go on to have success as a performer with the band Climie Fisher in 1988. With this song, George won a Grammy Award in 1988 for Best R&B Performance - Duo or Group with Vocal.
The autumn of 1987 saw the release of Michael's first solo album, Faith. In addition to playing a large number of instruments on the album, he wrote and produced every track on the recording, except for one, which he co-wrote.
The first single released from the album Faith was "I Want Your Sex," in the summer of 1987. The song was banned by many radio stations in the UK and USA, due to its sexually suggestive lyrics. MTV would air the video, featuring celebrity make-up artist Kathy Jeung in a basque and suspenders, only during the late night hours. Michael argued that the act was a beautiful thing if the sex was monogamous. Michael even recorded a brief prologue for the video in which he said: "This song is not about casual sex." One of the racier scenes attacked involved Michael writing the words "explore monogamy" on his partner's back in lipstick. Some radio stations played a toned-down version of the song, "I Want Your Love," which was mainly the word "love" replacing "sex." When the tune reached the US charts, American Top 40 host Casey Kasem refused to say the song's title, referring to it only as "the new single by George Michael." In the US, the song was also sometimes listed as "I Want Your Sex (from 'Beverly Hills Cop II')," since the song was featured on the soundtrack of the movie.
Despite censorship and airplay issues, "I Want Your Sex" reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on the week of August 8, 1987. Moreover, the single remained in the Top 10 for six weeks, and the Top 40 for a total of fourteen weeks. The song charted at #3 in Britain. In 2002, several years after the major controversy that followed the release of the song, the music video was featured at #3 on MTV's countdown of the most controversial videos in the channel's history.
The second single, "Faith," was released in October 1987, just a few weeks before the album. "Faith" would go on to become one of his most popular songs. The song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA, and hit #2 in the UK singles chart. The famous video provided some definitive images of the 1980s music industry in the process — Michael in shades, leather jacket, cowboy boots, and a particularly memorable pair of tight Levi's jeans, playing a guitar near a classic-design jukebox. "Faith" reached #1 on December 12, and remained there for four consecutive weeks.
The album reached #1 in the UK and in several markets worldwide. In the United States, the album had 51 non-consecutive weeks inside the Billboard 200 Top 10, including 12 weeks at #1. "Faith" had many hits, four of which ("Faith," "Father Figure," "One More Try," and "Monkey") reached #1.
Eventually, "Faith" reached Diamond certification by the RIAA for sales of 10 million copies in the US. To date, global sales of Faith are more than 20 million units.
In 1988, Michael embarked on a world tour. The nightly set list included from the Wham! era "Everything She Wants" and "I'm Your Man," as well as covers of "Lady Marmalade" or "Play That Funky Music." In Los Angeles, California, George was joined on stage by Aretha Franklin for "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)."
That same year, he sang backing vocals for long-time friend and Wham! bass player Deon Estus on "Heaven Help Me." The song, written by both artists, just missed reaching the British top 40, but reached #5 in the United States.
Huge success didn't bring Michael any happiness, as he says in his film, A Different Story. Conscious of being a massive celebrity and possibly a gay man, he started to think there was something wrong in being an idol for millions of teenage girls. The whole Faith process (promotion, videos, tour, awards) left him completely exhausted, lonely and frustrated, and far from his friends and family. In 1990, he told his record label Sony that he didn't want to do those kinds of promotions anymore.
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was released in September 1990. Following the massive worldwide commercial success of Faith, this album found Michael trying to create a new image for himself as a serious-minded artist — the title is a clear indication of his desire to be taken more seriously as a songwriter. Michael refused to make any kind of promotion for this album, including no music videos for the singles released.
The first single, "Praying For Time", was released in August 1990. It was a dark and sombre reflection on social ills and injustice; the song was hailed by critics as it peaked at number 6 in the UK and then reached number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 despite the absence of a video.
The second single "Waiting For That Day" was an acoustic-heavy, reflective single, released as an immediate follow-up to the comeback record, "Praying For Time". However, the corresponding album had also been released and therefore sales of the new single were unsurprisingly limited. "Waiting For That Day" peaked at number 27 in the US and at number 23 in the UK in October 1990.
The album debuted in the Billboard 200 list at #22 but reached its peak position of #2, being blocked from the top spot by MC Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. The album spent the rest of 1990 inside the Top 10, and a total of 42 weeks inside the entire list, not even the half of the 87 weeks spent by the previous Faith.
In the UK, the album was a good seller and debuted at #1, although only for one week. The two following weeks the album held at #2. The album spent 34 debut consecutive weeks inside the Top 20, making in its 24th an impressive sales increase with a #13-#3 movement. It spent a total of 88 weeks inside the UK albums charts, and was certified 4 times Platinum by the BPI, in January 2, 1992. The album produced 5 UK singles, which were released very quickly, within an 8-month period: "Praying For Time", "Waiting For That Day", "Freedom '90", "Heal The Pain", and "Cowboys And Angels" (this last being the only single ever from George not chart on the UK top 40.
"Freedom '90" was the only single to be supported by a music video. The song also alludes heavily to the struggles of being a closeted gay man, and acted as a catalyst to his effort to break free from his publishing contract with Sony Music.
As if to prove the song's sentiment, George refused to appear in the video, directed by David Fincher, and instead recruited supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, and Cindy Crawford to lip-sync. It also featured the destruction of his sex symbol status.
Freedom '90 was a lengthy six and half minutes long. The addition of the year to the title was to distinguish the song from "Freedom", a #1 hit for Wham! back in 1984. It had contrasting fortunes on each side of the Atlantic — a #8 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, but only #28 on the UK singles chart. The video was badly taken by the American audience who read the destruction of the Faith icons as George's refusal of his own success.
"Mother's Pride" gained significant airplay in the United States during the first Gulf War in 1991, often with radio stations mixing in callers' tributes to soldiers with the music. It reached number 46 on Billboard Hot 100 with only airplay.
In the end Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 sold around 8 million copies.
In 1991 George Michael embarked in the "Cover to Cover Tour" in England, the US, and Brasil, where he performed at the "Rock in Rio" event. In the audience in Rio, he saw and later met Anselmo Feleppa, the man who would become his partner.
The tour was not a proper promotion for Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Rather, it was more about George singing his favourite cover songs. Among his favourites was "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" a 1974 song by Elton John; George and Elton had performed the song together at the Live Aid concert in 1985, and again on George's concert at London's Wembley Arena on March 25, 1991, where the duet was recorded. The single was released at the end of 1991 and became a massive hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
As successful as the 1974 record had been, it was as a duet that "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" had its greatest success and reached number 1 on the UK singles chart and on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was the only #1 single of the modern era to be recorded at an outdoors venue. Proceeds from the single were divided among 10 different charities for children, AIDS, and education.
In the meantime the expected following album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2, was scrapped for reasons unknown, although possibly due to Michael's frustration with Sony. Among Michael's complaints was that Sony had not fully supported the release of his previous album, resulting in its poor performance in the US as compared to Faith. Sony responded that Michael's refusal to appear in promotional videos had caused the poor response.
George shelved the idea for Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2 and donated three songs to the charity project Red Hot + Dance, which raised money for AIDS awareness, while a fourth track "Crazyman Dance" turned up on the B-side of 1992's "Too Funky". George donated the "Too Funky" royalties to the same cause. The song was lyrically a basic, animalistic plea from George for sexual activity with an individual, and musically it was the most upbeat record he had released since Faith almost five years previously.
"Too Funky" was George's final single for his publishing deal with Sony Music before he started legal action to extricate himself from his contract. The song did not appear on any George Michael studio album, although later it was included on his solo collections Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael in 1998 and Twenty Five in 2006. The video featured George (sporadically) as a director filming supermodels Linda Evangelista, Tyra Banks, Beverly Peele, and Nadja Auermann at a fashion show. "Too Funky" was a hit, reaching number 4 in the UK singles chart and number 10 in the US Billboard Hot 100.
George Michael performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on April 20, 1992 at London's Wembley Stadium. The concert was a tribute to the life of the late Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, with all proceeds going to AIDS research. Michael performed "Somebody to Love". Although the performance of the song was released on the "Five Live" EP.
Five Live, released in 1993 for Parlophone, features five — and in some countries, six — tracks performed by George Michael, Queen, and Lisa Stansfield.
"Somebody to Love" and "These Are the Days of Our Lives" were recorded at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert. "Killer", "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone", and "Calling You" were all live performances by George recorded during his "Cover to Cover Tour" from 1991.
All proceeds from the sale of the EP benefited the Mercury Phoenix Trust. Sales of the EP were very strong through Europe, where it debuted at number 1 in the UK and several European countries. Chart success in the United States was far less spectacular, where it peaked at number 40 on the Billboard 200.
In November 1994, at the first edition of the MTV European Music Awards George Michael appeared after a long seclusion, giving a touching performance of a brand-new song, "Jesus to a Child". The song was a melancholy tribute to his lover Anselmo Feleppa, who died in March 1993.
After the ordeal with Sony, having Michael stated that he would refuse to release any new material through Epic under his name, he couldn't release the single. David Geffen's US start-up record label signed a deal with Sony to release George from his old contract. The deal gave George the chance to release new music with the new label, along with two greatest hits albums and two new singles with Sony within 1998.
The song was Michael's first self-penned hit in his homeland for almost four years and entered the UK singles chart straight at #1and #7 in The Billboard in the same month of release. It became his first solo single to enter the UK charts at the top, and #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the USA. It was also Michael's longest UK Top 40 single at almost seven minutes long. The exact identity of the song's subject — and the nature of George's relationship with Anselmo — was shrouded in innuendo at the time, however, as Michael had not confirmed he was gay, and did not do so until 1998. The video for "Jesus to a Child" was a beautiful picture of images recalling loss, pain, and suffering. Nowadays, Michael consistently dedicates the song to Feleppa before performing it live.
The second single, out in April 1996, was "Fastlove", an energetic tune about wanting gratification and fulfilment without commitment. The song was somewhat unusual for a pop song, in that it does not have a defined chorus and that the single version is nearly five minutes long. "Fastlove" was supported by a futuristic virtual reality related video.
"Fastlove" reached #1 in the UK singles chart, spending three weeks at the top spot. In the US, "Fastlove" peaked at #8, and would go on to be the last time that George Michael reached the top 10 in the US charts.
Following "Fastlove" George finally released Older, his first studio album in six years and only the third of his solo career, even though Wham! had been split for a decade. The album's US and Canada release was particularly notable as it was the first album released by David Geffen's now-defunct DreamWorks Records.
In October 1996, George performed a concert at Three Mills Studios, London for MTV Unplugged. It was his first long performance in years, and in the audience was George's beloved mum. The following year, George was dealt another heart-wrenching blow when his mother died of cancer.
Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael is a greatest hits collection released in 1998 (see 1998 in music). The collection of 28 songs (29 songs are included on the European and Australian release) are separated into two halves, with each containing a particular theme and mood. The first CD, titled "For the Heart" predominantly contains Michael's hit ballads, while the second CD, "For the Feet", consists mostly of his popular dance tunes.
Ladies and Gentlemen... is notable for containing a large number of compilation tracks and duets that hadn't previously appeared on his albums, including his duet with Aretha Franklin, "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"; "Desafinado", a duet in Portuguese with Brazilian legendary singer Astrud Gilberto; and the Elton John duet "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me".
Ladies and Gentlemen... was released through Sony Music Entertainment as a condition of severing contractual ties with the label. He would later return to Sony to release his 2004 album Patience.
The first single "Outside" was a humorous look at his arrest for soliciting a policeman in a public restroom. "As", his duet with Mary J. Blige, was released as the second single in many territories around the world. It made #4 in the UK charts. The track was left off the North American release of the album as Blige's record label, MCA, felt that association with the openly gay and often controversial pop star wouldn't be in her best interest.
To date album has reached worldwide sales of approximately 15 million copies.
Songs from the Last Century, released in December 1999, consisted of old standards, plus new interpretations of more recent popular songs such as: "Roxanne" written by Sting, "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", and the Frank Sinatra classic "Where Or When", written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. Each of the 11 tracks were co-produced by Phil Ramone and George Michael.
Patience debuted at number one on the UK album charts and at number two in Australia on March 22, 2004.
Patience was George Michael's first album composed of original material since 1996. The controversial single "Shoot the Dog", was a critical song about the friendly relationship between the US and the UK governments regarding the Iraqi War. In the animated music video for the song, Tony Blair is depicted as the "dog" that follows his "owner" George W. Bush everywhere.
George appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show on May 26, 2004 to promote the album. This marked his first US television appearance in over 10 years. On the show George spoke of his arrest, coming out as a gay man, and his return to the spotlight. He allowed Oprah's crew inside his home outside of London. George performed "Amazing", the second single from the album, and his classic songs "Father Figure" and "Faith".
Twentyfive was George Michael's second greatest hits album, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his music career. Released in November 2006 by SonyBMG, it debuted at number-one in the UK.
The album contains songs chiefly from George Michael's solo career, but also from his earlier days in Wham! and comes in two formats: two CDs or a limited edition three CD set. The 2-CD set contained 26 tracks, including 4 recorded with Wham! and 3 new songs: "An Easier Affair"; "This Is Not Real Love" (a duet with Mutya Buena, formerly of Sugababes, which peaked at #15 in the UK Charts); and a new version of "Heal The Pain" recorded with Paul McCartney. The limited edition 3-CD version contains an additional 14 lesser known tracks, including one from Wham! and another brand new song, "Understand".
The DVD version of Twentyfive contains 40 videos on two discs, including 7 with Wham!.
During the 2005 Live 8 concert, George Michael joined Paul McCartney on stage, harmonizing on the Beatles' classic "Drive My Car".
Michael was one of several remixers commissioned in 1990 to work on dance mixes for Bananarama's "Tripping on Your Love". Bananarama covered "Careless Whisper" for their Exotica album in 2001, and the track was also released as a single in France.
George Michael during a concert in Munich in 2006
Michael received £1.5 million (US$3 million) to perform a 1-hour concert in Moscow for the 300 guests of Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin on the Eve of 2007. Some equipment was damaged in a fire caused "by badly wired pyrotechnics that went off a few hours after George Michael's band and crew had left".
In 2006, George Michael started his first tour in 15 years, 25 Live. The tour began in Madrid, Spain, on September 27 and finished in December at Wembley Arena in England. According to his website, the 80-show tour was seen by 1.3 million fans.
On May 12, 2007 in Coimbra, Portugal, he began the European "25 Live Stadium Tour 2007", including London and Athens, and ending on August 4, 2007 in Belfast, UK. There were 29 tour dates (as of April 21, 2007) across Europe.
On June 9, 2007 George became the first artist to perform live at the newly renovated Wembley Arena in London, where he was later fined US$250,000 for overrunning the show for 13 minutes.
On March 25, 2008 a third leg of the 25 Live Tour was announced for North America. This leg will include 21 dates in the United States and Canada. This is Michael's first tour of North America in 17 years.
The album Twenty Five (album), was released in North America on April 1st, 2008 as a 29-song, 2-CD set featuring several new songs (including duets with Paul McCartney and Mary J. Blige and a song from the TV series, Eli Stone) in addition to many of Michael's hit songs from both his solo and Wham! career. In addition, a companion 2-disc DVD of 40 videos will also be made available.
George Michael made his American acting debut by playing a guardian angel to Jonny Lee Miller's character on Eli Stone, a TV series that was broadcast in the USA. In addition to appearing on the show as himself and as "visions", each episode was named after a song of his.
George appeared on the 2008 finale show of American Idol on May 21 singing "Praying for Time". When asked what he thought Simon will say of his performance, he replied "I think he'll probably tell me I shouldn't have done a George Michael song. He's told plenty of people that in the past, so I think that'd be quite funny."
On June 17, 2008, George Michael said he was thrilled by California's legalization of same-sex marriage, calling the move "way overdue".
Michael was initially private about his sexual orientation, with rumours of relationships with high-profile women such as Brooke Shields, Whoopi Goldberg, and Melissa Megginson making him common tabloid fodder during his Wham! career.
These persisted into his solo career, but Michael had already established a relationship with Anselmo Feleppa, whom he had met at the 1991 concert "Rock in Rio". Feleppa died of an AIDS-related brain hemorrhage in 1993. Michael's single "Jesus to a Child" is a tribute to Feleppa (he consistently dedicates it to him before performing it live), as is his 1996 album Older.
In a 2007 interview, Michael said that he kept his homosexuality secret due to worries over the effect it would have on his mother.
For the Christmas episode of the BBC comedy Extras, George Michael has a small part playing himself in a public park, looking for a hook-up.
Questions of his sexual orientation persisted in public until April 7, 1998, when he was arrested for "engaging in a lewd act" in a public toilet in a park in Beverly Hills, California. He was arrested by an undercover policeman named Marcelo Rodríguez, a sting operation using so-called "pretty police".
George Michael: "Well, I was followed into the restroom, and then, this cop — well, I didn't know he was a cop at the time, obviously — he started playing this game. I think it's called 'I'll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I'm gonna nick you'!"
After pleading "no contest" to the charge, Michael was fined US$810 and sentenced to 80 hours of community service. Soon afterwards, Michael made a video for his single "Outside" which was clearly based on the public toilet incident and which featured men dressed up as policemen kissing. Rodriguez claimed that this video "mocked" him, and that Michael had slandered him in interviews. In 1999, he brought a US$10 million court case in California against the singer. The court dismissed the case, but an appeals court reinstated the case on 3 December 2002. The court then ruled Rodríguez, as a public official, could not legally recover damages for emotional distress.
After the incident, Michael became open about his sexuality and his relationship with Kenny Goss, a former cheerleader coach and sports clothing executive from Dallas, Texas, and his partner since June 1996. Goss opened the Goss Gallery in May 2005 in Dallas, which shows contemporary art, including those collected by the couple. They have homes in London and Dallas. In late November 2005, it was reported that Michael and Goss would register their relationship as a civil partnership in the UK, but due to negative publicity and his upcoming tour, they postponed it to a later date.
On February 26, 2006, Michael was arrested for possession of Class C drugs, an incident that he described as "my own stupid fault, as usual." He was cautioned by the police and released.
On May 15, 2006, Michael was found slumped over the wheel of his Range Rover, photographed apparently snoozing at traffic lights in London. He awoke after a member of the public knocked on his window for five minutes, and was "sweating heavily and had his iPod on". He drove off weaving up the road, and then hit a traffic bollard. Later the same month, he was questioned by police after shunting three cars in the street in which he lives.
In the early hours of October 1, 2006, Michael was found unconscious in his Mercedes-Benz S-Class car, causing an obstruction at the junction of Cricklewood Lane with Hendon Way, in northwest London. Police found Michael slumped in his seat in a semi-conscious state. He was taken to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead for checks, and was then booked in at Colindale police station. He was later cautioned by the police for possession of cannabis, and was released on bail pending further inquiries on his fitness to drive. He pleaded guilty on May 8, 2007 to driving while unfit through drugs. He was banned from driving for two years, and sentenced to community service again. In September 2007, on Desert Island Discs, he said that his cannabis use was a problem — he wished he could smoke less of it and was constantly trying to do so.
Michael's long term partner Kenny Goss has also been treated for dependence on prescription sleeping medication, checking into an Arizona-based clinic for two months in June 2004 after encouragement from Michael.
During his years with Wham!, George Michael was very critical of Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government and its cruise missile alliance with the United States. George said that he felt bad, since through his taxes he was paying for these weapons, yet was obliged to never dodge his tax obligations to his home country. Michael also wrote "Shoot the Dog", a critical song about the friendly relationship between the US and UK governments and their involvement in the Iraq War.
In 2000, George Michael joined Melissa Etheridge, Garth Brooks, Queen Latifah, the Pet Shop Boys, and k.d. lang, to perform in Washington, D.C. as part of 'Equality Rocks' - a concert to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.
In 2007, he toured the United States with the £1.45 million piano that John Lennon used to write "Imagine".
He devoted his concert in Sofia, Bulgaria from his "Twenty Five Tour" to the Bulgarian nurses prosecuted in the HIV trial in Libya.
Michael has often taken a socially conscious stance. In 1984, he sang as part of Band Aid on the charity song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for famine relief in Ethiopia. This single held the #1 position in the UK music charts over Christmas 1984, holding Michael's own song, "Last Christmas" by Wham!, at #2. Michael donated the royalties from "Last Christmas" to Band Aid and subsequently sang with Elton John at Live Aid (the Band Aid charity concert) in 1985.
The proceeds from the single Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me were divided among 10 different charities for children, AIDS and education.
George is supporting a campaign to help raise US$32 million (GBP15 million) for terminally ill children.
George Michael ranks as Britain's 10th richest musician with an amassed personal fortune said to be £70 to £100 million in assets, real estate, and currency. George owns several homes all over the world, including one in Highgate, London, one in Dallas, Texas, and one in Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.
On January 16, 2008, Michael signed a "no-holds-barred" multi-million-pound contract with HarperCollins about an autobiography which he is to write "entirely himself".
See also Wham! discography