2016 sadly took another music icon from us: George Michael was found dead at the age of 53 in his bed on Christmas Day, which his manager said was due to heart failure.
George became famous when he formed Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 and they soon became pop superstars with their catchy singles “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!”, ”Freedom”, and “Careless Whisper”.
When Wham! broke up in 1986, George continued a successful solo career in which he stirred up some controversy with his single, “I Want Your Sex” off of his album, Faith. Even though it was banned on several radio stations, it still became a chart-topper and his image as a rebellious type of pop star who wasn’t afraid to go against the norm was cemented in place.
As promising as the 80’s were to George Michael, the 90s were anything but. In 1991, he spent time with his AIDS-stricken boyfriend, Anselmo Feleppa, before Anselmo died of a brain hemorrhage. His death encouraged the singer to finally tell his parents that he was gay, a fact that he had kept hidden for many years. Admitting his deep dark secret only opened the door to more heartache: he became addicted to marijuana and Prozac, sunk into a deep depression after his mother died of cancer in 1997, and he eventually became a recluse.
Shockingly, in an event that made headlines everywhere, George was caught “engaging in a lewd act” in a Los Angeles bathroom in 1998. The media coverage and backlash from being caught would force him to publicly reveal that he was a gay man during a time when it was a risqué time to admit to such a thing. As most musicians do, he found refuge in his music when he released a greatest hits album, alongside of a music video for his single “Outside” — where he famously mocked his arrest.
He continued to release music until 2008, when he was found slumped behind the wheel of a car. In 2010, things went from bad to worse when he drove his car into a store after coming back from a Pride event. He went on to serve four weeks in jail for his crime.
In 2014, things started to pick up and he released his final album, Symphonica. He then embarked on a tour but it was paused when he suffered from pneumonia — so badly in fact, that he almost died.
In recent interviews, George Michael had confessed that he had a hard time coping with the pressures of his fame. Pictures taken of him shortly before his death showed the once-sexy pop star bloated and unhappy, looking like a shell of the person he once was.
His death came as a surprise on Christmas Day to many people who spent the holiday wondering what the circumstances surrounding his death were. The next day his partner, hairstylist Fadi Fawaz, tweeted that he found his “partner dead peacefully in bed first thing in the morning.” At the time this article was written, his autopsy results have been deemed “inconclusive”.
One thing is for sure, George Michael may have been a tortured soul, but his musical contributions are some of the liveliest and most energetic songs to date. He was also part of a revolution that encouraged gay people to be honest with themselves (and everyone else) so they could live the kind of lives that they deserved. To sum it all up, the world lost an icon who brought generations to their feet while they snapped their fingers and danced along to his music. In a year that took both Prince and George Michael, let’s hope that there is some type of musical collaboration happening in Heaven.
Things To Look Forward To In 2017
1 Red Hot Chili Peppers are going on tour to support their new album, The Getaway. Catch them at Madison Square Garden on February 15th, 17th and 18th!
2 The XX will release I See You!
3 The Doors will be honored on their 50th anniversary with a special ceremony in Los Angeles proclaiming January 4th to be the ‘Day of The Doors!’
4 Nine Inch Nails will be releasing two highly anticipated projects!
5 Lady Gaga will perform at half-time during the Super Bowl!
6 Acceptance will release “Colliding By Design”, 12 years since their album Phantoms!
7 Guns N’ Roses will continue on with their “Not In This Lifetime” tour!
8 Marilyn Manson will release SAY10!
9 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers will headline Mountain Jam along with The Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton June 16th-18th in Hunter Mountain, NY!
10 Ryan Adams will release Prisoner!
Trump’s Invites Tank!
The President-Elect had a tough time booking musicians to play at his inauguration — and even musicians who publicly endorsed him have been avoiding the task!
But Trump’s team was relentless and they managed to find a few musicians to sing Donald into office: Jackie Evancho, The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the Missouri State University Chorale and the Radio City Rockettes.
In not-so-shocking news, confirmations from these acts haven’t gone by without drama along the way. The Rockettes have received major backlash from angry Twitter trolls who have bashed their decision to play a role in Trump’s move into The White House. And a five-year-veteran singer in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir quit because she refused to perform and support Trump! In scathing email to the choir president that was shared on Facebook, she remarked, “I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him.”