Monday, January 2, 2017


In December of 1984 a British pop duo called Wham! released a poignant Christmas-themed pop song entitled “Last Christmas”, which eventually became one of the most popular contemporary Christmas standard music to be played during the Holiday season. This success could be laid at the feet of one of the duo, singer-songwriter Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou of mixed Greek Cypriot and British stock, although he was better known to the world by the stage name George Michael. After Wham! went their separate ways in 1986 he would make it huge as an international music icon and a heavyweight celebrity advocate for LGBT rights.

Well now “Last Christmas” gains a new level of legend in the music world’s public consciousness, as the news comes out of the celebrated singer-songwriter’s passing in his sleep at his home at Goring- on-Thames, as discovered by his current life partner Fadi Fawaz this December 25 – Christmas Day.

Indeed, The Independent points this out with the newly acquired double meanings of the song’s title and lines, as initial findings of George Michael’s death have it being attributed to heart failure according to his manager Michael Lippman, although this might change in the wake of any new findings in the post- mortem.

Wham! and George Michael in particular, would have a solid library of popular hit songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, the Band Aid ensemble number “Do They Know It’s Christmas”, the riff-famous “Careless Whisper”, “Freedom! ‘90”, and “Jesus to a Child”. But it was “Last Christmas” that seemed to carry the mood at this time in terms of paying tribute to the artist by constant replays, with fans commenting on Twitter the morbid appropriateness of Michael passing away on the occasion when that particular composition of his was fit to be played. And many fellow artists agree with that statement even when he was still with us, considering how “Last Christmas” was covered through the decades by the likes of Ashley Tisdale, Ariana Grande and the cast of “Glee”.

By now every fan of George Michael who could have has said their peace online, from avid listeners to other performing artists. Elton John, Ringo Starr, and Michael’s former Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley gave touching tributes to their fellow British pop legend. From overseas came notes from Miley Cyrus, Bryan Adams, Chaka Khan, Madonna, and even from another voice of LGBT rights George Takei. Meanwhile, an impromptu shrine has been made out of the singer’s front gate at Goring with the number of bouquets piling up quite nicely.

James Corden owes the development of the popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment on his “Comic Relief” program to George Michael, who guested in a sketch during 2011 that became the framework for the spot when celebrities sing songs in a car with Corden. The comedian-host was also saddened by the singer’s death.

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