25 Things You Might Not Know About George Michael

Posted by , Updated on June 21, 2024

Beloved English singer-songwriter George Michael passed away at just 53 on December 25. Known as one of Britain’s most successful and best-selling artists, Michael shined in the ’80s and ’90s with unforgettable hits like “Last Christmas.” Besides his famous tunes, there are many lesser-known stories about his life. For fans worldwide, we’ve put together **25 Underappreciated Facts About George Michael**. Check them out!


George Michael´s original name was Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou. He was named after his father, Kyriacos Panayiotou, a Greek Cypriot restaurateur.

George MichaelSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George-Michael-Impersonator.jpg (CC)

Before Michael became a professional musician, he busked on the London Underground, performing songs such as "'39" by Queen.

George MichaelSource: wikipedia.org, image: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=8609&picture=george-michael (CC)

In 1985, Wham! was the first Western pop group to tour in China, with a final concert held at the Workers’ Gymnasium in Beijing. The tour was documented in the film “Foreign Skies: Wham! In China”.

Wham!Source: needsomefun.net, image: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/world/asia/article4406455.ece (fair-use)

George Michael sung duets with several other music icons such as Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Rory Bourke, Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston.

Elton JohnSource: imdb.com, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Elton_John_in_Norway_1.jpg (CC)

Michael sold more than 100 million records worldwide, which makes him one of the best-selling British artists of all time.

George MichaelSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Michael_at_Antwerp_(BRAVO).jpg (CC)

A huge Beatles fan, George Michael bought the Steinway Model Z upright piano used by John Lennon for £1.7 million ($2 million) and sent it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool in 2000.

BeatlesSource: worldlifestyle.com, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Beatles_ad_1965.JPG (CC)

George Michael died in the same year (2016) as pop icons Prince and David Bowie.

David BowieSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tomronworldwide/23953051439 (CC)

His music video "Freedom" (1989) featured supermodels such as Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz. It was directed by David Fincher.

Naomi CampbellSource: imdb.com, image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Campbell (CC)

Michael, who revealed he was gay in a CCN interview in 1998, was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser.

George MichaelSource: mtv.com, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Michael_Symphonica_(10).jpg (CC)

His wedding gift to Prince William and Kate Middleton was a cover of Stevie Wonder’s 1972 song “You and I”, which was released in April 2011.

Prince William and Kate MiddletonSource: needsomefun.net, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kate_and_William,_Canada_Day,_2011,_Ottawa,_Ontario,_Canada.jpg (CC)

George Michael´s last performance with Wham! was at the Wembley Stadium in London in June 1986.

Wembley Source: imdb.com, image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wembley_Stadium,_illuminated.jpg (CC)

George Michael was arrested five times during his life. He was arrested four times for possession of marijuana and his fifth arrest was for public indecency.

george michaelSource: worldlifestyle.com, image: Slavko Sereda / Shutterstock.com

George Michael was seriously considered as a replacement for Queen front man Freddie Mercury.

Freddie MercurySource: smoothradio.com, image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freddie_Mercury (CC)

Michael´s hit Last Christmas is one of the most popular Christmas songs ever, having been covered by a number of artists since its original release in 1984. Christmas was actually Michael´s favorite holiday. The singer died on the Christmas Day.

Christmas angelSource: wikipedia.org, image: Shutterstock

George Michael won various music awards throughout his career, including 3 Brit Awards, 4 MTV Video Music Awards, 4 Ivor Novello Awards, 3 American Music Awards, and 2 Grammy Awards (from 8 nominations).

grammySource: wikipedia.org, image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Indeterminate_Grammy_aware.jpg

He was paid £1.7 million ($2 million) to perform for an hour at Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin's New Year's party on 31 December 2006.

George MichaelSource: imdb.com, image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:George_Michael_02.jpg (CC)

George Michael was involved in seven car crashes and was banned from driving for some time.

DrivingSource: gbtimes.com, image: Shutterstock

In 2011, George Michael almost died from pneumonia. After he woke from the coma, he experienced a rare medical condition known as the foreign accent syndrome. Michael claimed he had a temporary West Country accent.

George MichaelSource: cbsnews.com, image: Slavko Sereda / Shutterstock.com

George Michael was a generous philanthropist. He supported many charities during his life, including Childline, Terrence Higgins Trust, Macmillan Cancer Support and others. He was also a member of the charity group Aid Band that was founded to raise money for anti-famine efforts in Africa.

African childrenSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/colalife/8544388463 (CC)

Michael wrote “Careless Whisperer”, one of his most famous and beautiful songs, when he was just 17 years old.

George Michael muralSource: axs.com, image: hin255 / Shutterstock.com

George Michael was partially color-blind and wore contact lenses or glasses.

George Michael GlassesSource: thefreelibrary.com, image: Slavko Sereda / Shutterstock.com

Michael met Andrew Ridgeley, the other member of the music duo Wham!, at the Bushey Meads School in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England. When Michael was enrolled at the school, Ridgeley volunteered to take him under his wing.

Wham!Source: wikipedia.org, image: http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw14857/Wham-George-Michael-Andrew-Ridgeley (fair-use)

George Michael had several nicknames among his family and friends. He was called Yog (from the Greek pronunciation of Georgios), TLTI (The Legend That Is), Knobby, the Greek and the Bubble.

George Michael in concertSource: thefreelibrary.com, image: Slavko Sereda / Shutterstock.com

His late 20s were a very depressing time for Michael after he lost his partner, Anselmo Feleppa, to HIV and his mother died shortly after that.

George MichaelSource: www.breakingnews.ie, image: http://www.barbershopforums.com/talk/famous-mens-beards-and-facial-hair-styles/george-michael-facial-hair-and-beard-styles/ (fairuse)

A strong opponent of UK and US involvement in the Iraq War, Michael made a controversial 2002 single "Shoot the Dog" whose video ridiculed Tony Blair, Cherie Blair and George W. Bush.

George W. BushSource: wikipedia.org, image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_W._Bush's_second_term_as_President_of_the_United_States (CC)