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Grammy award-winning pop singer George Michael was one of the leading performers in the 1980s. His 1987 album Faith won a Grammy for Best Album of the Year.
George Michael - Full Biography (45:19)
George Michael first took the music world by storm as part of Wham! His solo career resulted in hit songs, but his appetite for sex and drugs led to many arrests.
Under the influence of music producer Clive Davis, Aretha Franklin collaborated with pop singer George Michael to create the hit single, "I Knew You Were Waiting" in 1987.
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Despite these protests, the recording ended up selling more than 7 million copies and won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1988.
Continuing his evolution as a pop craftsman, Michael incorporated some soulful and jazz elements into his songs for Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (1990). It had a few hits, including "Praying for Time." Further distancing himself from his pop image,
While Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 received some positive reviews, the album only sold about a million copies. Michael became involved in a legal battle with his recording company Sony. Feeling that they had failed to properly promote the record, he wanted to end his recording contract. The conflict dragged on for several years, during which time Michael only recorded a few singles.
In 1991, Michael sang a duet with Elton John for charity. Their version of the John classic "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" was a number one hit and the proceeds went to London Lighthouse, an AIDS hospice, and the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity. Later that year, Michael hit the charts with "Too Funky," a track featured on Red Hot and Dance, an AIDS charity album.
Finally free from his contract with Sony, Michael released the album Older in 1996. Two tracks, "Jesus to a Child" and "Fastlove," broke into the top ten in the United States as did the album. Still the sales for the recording paled in comparison to his earlier efforts with some attributing this decline to Michael's time away from the pop music scene. Michael did win several accolades for his work, however. He took home the award for Best British Male at the BRIT Awards and the MTV Europe Awards that year.
In 1998, Michael made headlines, but not for his music. He was arrested for lewd conduct in a men's room at a public park in Los Angeles. After the incident, Michael made a television appearance in which he acknowledged that he was homosexual. There had been some speculation about his sexual orientation over the years, but this was his first public statement on the matter.
His next musical effort was a collection of covers, Songs from the Last Century (1999). While it received some positive reviews, the album failed to make much of an impression on the music-buying public. Michael recorded several singles over the next few years, including a 2000 duet with Whitney Houston on the song "If I Told You That."
Michael released his fourth solo album, Patience, in 2004. Instead of the pop charts, he found success on the dance charts. "Flawless" and "Amazing" both scored well with dance music fans. After this record, Michael made comments about giving up the music business. But this retirement would prove to be short lived.
Having another encounter with the law, Michael was arrested on suspicion of illegal drugs in London in February 2006. According to a report in Rolling Stone magazine, the singer said in a statement that "it's my own stupid fault, as usual." A few months later, Michael announced that he was going on tour for the first time in fifteen years.
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