George Michael RIP
Just when you think that 2016 has killed off all the celebrities it can, you wake up on Boxing Day to the news that your favourite singer has died. George Michael RIP.
It’s been a horrible year for celebrity deaths. The grim reaper seems to have been more active than usual.
If I was upset at the passing of Prince a few months ago - a favourite singer of mine - then the passing of George Michael has hit me for six.
A man of almost sublime talent. As a 17-year-old I often used to cite him in conversation:
“When George Michael was my age, he’d written Careless Whisper.” I used to whine. At that age I could barely write a shopping list unaided.
He has been my favourite artist for as long as I can remember. Unlike Prince, I was fortunate enough to see him in concert a few years back.
The first act to sing live at the new Wembley Stadium
That was the first concert at the new Wembley Stadium. He had deliberately manipulated his way to playing there first after Muse had officially been announced as the first band that would play Wembley live.
George then realised that if he had any warm-up acts, they would play Wembley before him. As a result, the 90,000 in the crowd were treated to warm up acts of dancers and other bits and pieces. Just no-one singing live.
But George got his way. George Michael - the first act to sing live at the new Wembley Stadium.
He was a superstar that never seemed comfortable in the public eye. As shocking at his passing is at the tender age of 53, it was hardly completely unexpected.
The guy has been on a downward spiral for longer than I care to remember. That doesn’t make his death any less painful for his millions of fans.
Last photo of George Michael
The last photo of George Michael, taken three months ago, tells a story of its own.
Apparently taken at a restaurant during a meal with an old flame. Rumours were that he was finally getting back together with a long-term boyfriend. His “American Angel”, in fact, if you knew of his music.
Listen Without Prejudice 25
March sees the 25-year anniversary of his second solo album, Listen Without Prejudice volume 1. His well-publicised spat with his record company ensured that volume 2 was never likely to see the light of day.
But just a few months ago a special re-released of the album was announced. Coming in March 2017, it is packed full of remixes, extras and a couple of new songs. If there was any doubt that it would top the charts before, it’s almost guaranteed now. Look out for Listen Without Prejudice 25.
The original was - and remains - my favourite ever album.
There were rumours of an album of new material in the works too. Hopefully they will be handled well and given time to be completed as well as possible. Nobody wants to see a rushed-release of half-finished songs.
With just under a week left to go, hopefully, 2016 has finished killing off famous people.
In the meantime, I’m going to sit and wallow in the passing of someone I never knew. Someone who, nonetheless, had a profound effect on my growing up.
I’m never gonna dance again.