George Michael performed at the Stand By Me AIDS Day Benefit Concert on April 1, 1987 at the Wembley Arena in London.
Dubbed “The Party,” the all-star benefit concert was organized to fight AIDS. April 3rd, 1987 was declared International AIDS Day by the renowned Pasteur Institute in Paris to raise money for AIDS research and to focus public attention on this most serious medical crisis.
Several top names in the music industry performed in this benefit concert to donate their talents to this worthy cause, including George Michael, Elton John, Boy George, the Communards, Holly Johnson, and Kim Wilde. Special guests also included: Meat Loaf, Ben E. King, Bobby Womack, Tom Robinson, and others.
Some of the standout performances of the event include Boy George and Meatloaf, the unlikeliest of duet pairs, singing Stand by Me. Kim Wilde and her dad, English pop singer Marty Wilde, sing an affecting Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.
How George Got Involved
According to Smash Hits magazine, the organizers were incredibly grateful for the support and participation of George especially since other big names in music were hesitant.
George Michael recently confirmed that he was appearing (he’ll either play a couple of songs on his own or with someone else) and was a mite cutting about “the absence of some of his contemporaries from the present line-up” (i.e. other mega-stars who wouldn’t commit themselves to an AIDS benefit.)
A spokesperson for the organizers explains that they did actually have a few problems getting the more famous pop stars to appear: “Some people said yes right from the start. Others have wavered slightly and been rather afraid of being associated with the event because it has to do with AIDS. George Michael, by setting such as wonderful example, has really made a lot of difference. We wrote him a letter asking him to support us and he just turned round and said yes.”Smash Hits magazine (Issue 215 – 25th February – 10th March 1987), page. 7
George Michael’s Performance
George performed three songs during the AIDS benefit concert:
- 1-2-3 (with Deon Estus)
- Love’s in Need of Love Today (Stevie Wonder cover)
- Everything She Wants (Wham! song) (with Andrew Ridgeley)
Below is a video of George Michael singing the Len Barry song “1-2-3” with Deon Estus at the AIDS Benefit concert:
George performing “Love’s in Need of Love Today”
One of the highlights of the AIDS benefit show is the brief reunion of George with former Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley.
A video of the concert showcasing the different performances was released, albeit only the highlights of the event. People Magazine called the VHS:
It is a terrific 60 minutes of pop music interspersed with thoughtful comments about the disease from performers and from a concert organizer, George Cant, who talks of learning he had AIDS only days before the event.
In the UK only, an alternative cover was released for the Stand by Me Benefit Concert, with George and Elton John on the cover.
Watch the Show
Watch the full Stand By Me: AIDS Day Benefit Live show:
- List of Duets and Backup Vocals
- ‘Too Funky:’ Story of A George Michael Charity Record
- Andrew Ridgeley on Life With and After Wham! (Hello!, 1997)
- Last Wham! Interview: No. 1 Magazine (1986)
- George Michael: Artist or Airhead? (Musician, 1988)