1963 – 2016
Important Dates in the Life and Career of George Michael
As part of the 35th anniversary of Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” a new 4K video version premiered on YouTube on December 13, 2019. A chat with fans followed, with the team managing the George Michael social media account together with Andrew Ridgeley, Shirlie Kemp, Pepsi DeMacque and director Andy Morahan.
One of the most anticipated movies in fall 2019 was the rom-com “Last Christmas”, which features the music of George Michael and Wham!, including the holiday classic of the film’s title. Starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding, and co-written by Emma Thompson, the movie features 15 songs from George Michael and Wham! including the previously unreleased track “This Is How (We Want You To Get High).” The movie earned more than $111 million worldwide.
George Michael’s first posthumous single, “This Is How (We Want You to Get High),” was released on November 6, 2019 nearly three years following the singer’s death. The track, which was co-written and co-produced by Michael and collaborator James Jackman, was featured in the Paul Feig’s movie “Last Christmas.” The song was first written in 2012 and later recorded at London’s Air Studios, with finishing touches done in 2015 during Michael’s final recording sessions. A lyric video was released to support the song.
The George Michael documentary Freedom – Director’s Cut was premiered in the United Kingdom at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in Scotland.
Posthumous re-release of the ‘Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 album on October 20th, a day before George Michael: Freedom documentary premiered on Showtime. The re-issued album is available both as a 2CD and deluxe 3CD/DVD set — and packaged with 1996 live set MTV Unplugged, as well as B-sides and other rarities. It peaked at number 1 in the UK charts for a week on October 27, 2017,
A new version of George Michael‘s “Fantasy” featuring Nile Rodgers premiered on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 show. “Fantasy” was originally released as a b-side on the “Freedom ’90” 12-inch in 1990 and later appeared on the 2011 deluxe edition of Faith. The single peaked at #85 in the UK charts.
The premiere of ‘Let Her Down Easy,” George Michael’s first single from the album Symphonica, on Magic Radio UK ahead of the song’s digital release on 17 March 2014.
Last concert performance of George Michael for the Symphonica: The European Orchestral Tour at the Earl’s Court in London, England. All told, the tour landed in 17 countries over 75 dates. This was also the last time George ever performed at a concert.
George Michael was one of the performers at the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony billed as “A Symphony of British Music.” He performed “Freedom ’90’ and his new single ‘White Light.’
George released “White Light” for radio airplay on June 29 to mark the 30th anniversary of the date his first single with Wham! called “Wham! Rap” entered the UK charts. As George wrote on his website, “White Light is my thank you to everybody who has been a part of my success.”
Start of the Symphonica: The European Orchestral Tour, which was George Michael’s final tour. He performed at the Státní Opera, Prague, Czech Republic where he sang songs mainly from Songs from the Last Century and Patience albums as well as some cover versions in new arrangements.
George joins James Corden and an all-star cast in the Red Nose Day sketch Smithy To The Rescue. Red Nose Day 2011 was a fundraising event organized by Comic Relief. The sketch was widely regarded as the original idea that spawned Corden’s popular Carpool Karaoke.
Release of George’s cover of New Order’s “True Faith”. Proceeds from the sale of the CD and the downloads were given to Comic Relief.
George released “December Song (I Dreamed Of Christmas)” as a free download on his official website. It was re-released commercially the following year on 14 December 2009, with physical copies selling out in just one day, following a live performance of the song on the final of the 2009 series of The X Factor UK.
George Michael performed at the Live 8 concert in Hyde Park in London, July 2, 2005, including a duet with Sir Paul McCartney. A galaxy of rock and roll stars graced stages across the globe for what is being billed as the greatest music show ever, in a bid to put pressure on leaders of the Group of Eight major industrialized nations meeting to do more to alleviate poverty, particularly in Africa.
George Michael paid £1.45m for the Steinway piano on which John Lennon wrote ‘Imagine’. George said, “I know that when my fingers touch the keys of that Steinway, I will feel truly blessed. And parting with my money has never been much of a problem, just ask my accountant.” The singer outbid Robbie Williams and The Oasis brothers.
George Michael’s duet with Whitney Houston “If I Told You That” was released. The song was included in Houston’s compilation of her greatest hits, Whitney: The Greatest Hits album. The single peaked at #9 in the UK.
Songs From The Last Century, George’s fourth solo album, is released. A collection of covers and jazz standards, it hits #2 on the UK charts. It is his only album of cover versions, such as old jazz standards and interpretations of popular songs such as “Roxanne” (originally by The Police) and “Miss Sarajevo” (originally by U2 and Brian Eno with Luciano Pavarotti).
Release of the video for ‘Roxanne’ (originally recorded by the Police). The single was released on December 13, 1999.
UK release of George’s duet with Mary J Blige, a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “As,” which originally appeared on his 1976 classic album, “Songs in the Key of Life.” While the song is a top five hit in the UK — it peaked at #4 on March 13, 1999 — it is not given a US release. The track was pulled at the last minute from the U.S. version of George’s “Ladies and Gentlemen – The Best Of George Michael” by Blige’s record label, even though it appears on the various international versions of Michael’s greatest hits album.
Release of “Outside”, the first single from the greatest hits collection Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael. It reaches #2 on the UK charts. This song, which Michael wrote after his arrest for cruising in an L.A. park, cheekily celebrated al fresco action, accompanied by a controversial video! He talked about his goal for the video: “When I made the ‘Outside’ video I knew I was helping a whole generation of 15-year-olds who are cruising and dying of shame about it.”
The song ‘Fastlove’ debuted at the top spot of the UK charts and held the #1 position for 3 weeks. The song was the second single taken from Michael’s third studio album Older. It was his seventh and final number one single in the UK during his lifetime.
The studio version of “Jesus To A Child” was released as the first single from George’s forthcoming album Older. The song debuted at #1 in the UK charts on January 14, 1996.
George performed at the inaugural MTV Europe Music Awards in Berlin, unveiling the new song “Jesus To A Child”.
George Michael performed five (5) songs for the Amazon Rainforest Foundation Benefit in 1993, four of which are cover songs. One song was a duet with Sting on the song “Every Breath You Take”
George Michael performed at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness at the Wembley Stadium in front of an audience of 72,000. He called his performance as “very probably the most important performance of my life.”
The live version of the George Michael and Elton John duet ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’ hit number 1 in the UK singles chart. Proceeds from the record are divided into 10 different charities.
Release of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, a live duet with Elton John recorded during the Cover to Cover tour. It tops the charts internationally, with proceeds benefiting charity.
The single ‘Praying for Time’ reached #1 in the US Billboard Hot 100 charts for 1 week. The single spent 14 weeks in the U.S. charts
“One More Try”, Faith‘s fourth single, was released. The song hit number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
George’s duet with Aretha Franklin “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” hit #1 in the US Billboard charts. The song held the top spot for 2 weeks.
George participated in the recording of Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”, an all-star charity recording that included Bono, Bob Geldof, Sting, Boy George, and many others. The song raised £8 million to fight the famine in Ethiopia, and it became that year’s Christmas #1 edging out “Last Christmas” from the top spot.
George’s first solo single, “Careless Whisper”, was released on Wham!’s Make It Big album (the song is credited as Wham! featuring George Michael in North America). It hits #1 in nearly 25 countries.