George Michael passed away peacefully in his sleep on Christmas Day 2016. He died of heart failure and was truly loved by millions of fans for his enormous vocal talent. He was born on June 25, 1963, and his given name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. I guess we can easily see why he changed it to George Michael. He became one of the most soulful and most popular singers of our time. As the better half of singing duo Wham!, he was the voice behind such major hits as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Careless Whisper”, “Freedom”, and “Everything She Wants”, just to name a few. He started the duo with his friend Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 and they broke up in 1986.
He became one of the most soulful and most popular singers of our time. As the better half of singing duo Wham!, he was the voice behind such major hits as “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Careless Whisper”, “Freedom”, and “Everything She Wants”, just to name a few. He started the duo with his friend Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 and they broke up in 1986.
George Michael’s solo career took off like a rocket with his many hit singles like “Jesus for a Child”, “I Want Your Sex”, and “Faith”. In addition to being a consummate singer, he was also an amazing songwriter and record producer. We will all miss him, but for now, let’s just take a look at his top five television moments that we’re sure he’ll be remembered for in years to come:
1. Carpool Karaoke
Most television viewers both in the US and the UK have seen James Corden on The Late Late Show. James took over for Craig Ferguson when he retired from the show and many viewers didn’t think that James could possibly fill Craig’s irreverently funny shoes. But, James proved them all wrong and no more so than with the wildly popular “Carpool Karaoke”. If you haven’t seen it yet, this segment of his show is made up of videos of James and famous stars singing together in a moving car. Not only have these segments been seen on James’ late night show, but they’ve also been featured on many other TV shows and even on the news. A highly popular feature on The Late Late Show, its reach has actually turned out to be massive. In fact, James singing with the amazing Adele has 140 million views on YouTube and the one with Justin Bieber has topped over a million views as well. And, the Christmas medley of dozens of singing stars singing Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” with James in the car, of course, is truly a keeper that we’ll play again and again every year.
But few people are aware that it was actually George Michael who came up with the idea for “Carpool Karaoke”. And, George Michael was also the first singer/superstar to appear in one of these highly popular segments with James Corden. It happened way back before James even had his Late Late Show gig. So, let’s get in the way-back-machine and go back to 2011 and the BBC’s show for the benefit of Comic Relief, which is a hunger and poverty-fighting charity in the UK. This show was right up George Michael’s alley as he was an incredible philanthropist and gave much of his concert earnings to charity.
So, George Michael came up with the idea of singing a duet in the car and he and James sang the Wham! hit “I’m Your Man”, during which George Michael made a pun regarding homophobia. Later, Corden credited that first “Carpool Karaoke” with convincing George Michael’s good friend, Mariah Carey, to become the first American celebrity to do a “Carpool Karaoke” segment on The Late Late Show and the rest, as they say, is history. Just think, had it not been for that first version with George Michael, there might never have been a “Carpool Karaoke” and that would be a shame. You can watch that amazing first video for yourself at:
2. American Idol- 2008
George Michael sang “Praying for Time” at the 2008 season finale of American Idol and, as usual, his performance was amazingly inspiring and truly moving.
And, also at the American Idol finale, the top 12 contestants were reunited onstage for one last performance together of a medley of George Michael songs. Watch it here:
3. The MTV Europe Music Awards aka “EMAs” or “EMA”
This awards show is presented by MTV Networks Europe and is a popular annual event that began in Berlin in 1994. The show awards coveted prizes to performers and musicians. It was considered to be an MTV Video Music Awards alternative and was planned to be held in a different country every year, however, the majority of them were later held in the UK. The first show was on November 24, 1994, which was only five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
George Michael performed his hit songs, “Freedom” and “Jesus To A Child”. During the performance, he was surrounded by a number of famous models. “Jesus to a Child” was a tribute to his late significant other, Anselmo Feleppa, who passed away in March 1993, causing George Michael to go into seclusion until the awards show in 1994.
4. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness – 1992
This concert was an open-air affair at Wembley Stadium in London on April 20, 1992. A massive audience of 72.000 people attended and Ray Burdis produced it for television. The entire concert was broadcast live on both TV and radio in 76 countries worldwide. It was a beautiful tribute to the life of the late Freddie Mercury, who was the lead singer and frontman for Queen. All of the proceeds from the concert went to AIDS research and for launching The Mercury Phoenix Trust AIDS charity organization.
The concert included popular bands like Metallica, Def Leppard, and Guns N’ Roses. Guest singers and guitarists included George Michael, Elton John, Roger Daltrey, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Robert Plant, Liza Minnelli, and U2. George Michael performed “Somebody to Love” with the remaining members of Queen and you can see that performance here:
5. The X Factor 2009 – Joe & George Michael – Live Show 10
On this X Factor in 2009, Joe is a lucky X Factor contestant who is joined onstage by George Michael to sing a duet of the amazing hit song that he sang with Elton John, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me!” And, here’s a pretty high-quality version of the Elton John/George Michel duet at LiveAid in 1985: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljyt9_TFZd4