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Gay icon George Michael to be inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

George Michael on Stage.
George Michael on Stage. @Fanny_Walters (via Twitter)

Just in time for the 40th anniversary of Wham!’s eponymous debut album, the band’s former frontman George Michael will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Initially rising to stardom together with Andrew Ridgeley for hits like ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ and ‘Last Christmas’, the artist’s solo career continued to flourish after Wham! disbanded in 1986. 

With hits like ‘Careless Whisper,’ Michael became the most-played artist on British radio from 1984 to 2004 and one of the best-selling artists of all time. His solo debut album, Faith, is to this day one of the most-sold LPs ever.

“Echoes [of his music] can be heard in the impassioned vocals and personal lyrics of artists from Adele to Lady Gaga to Mary J. Blige.”, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame says.

Commenting on his identity as a gay man, organisers of the Ohio-based museum state: “Wanting his music to speak for itself, George Michael declined to appear on the album cover and in music videos for Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. The album is a masterpiece that alludes to Michael’s struggle as a closeted gay man during the height of the AIDS epidemic.”

They add: “After coming out in 1998, Michael refused to shy away from honesty again, paving the way for a generation of proud LGBTQIA+ artists, from Sam Smith to Lil Nas X to Troye Sivan.”

 

George Michael died in 2016 aged 53, leaving behind a legacy as a performer and activist.

Still beloved by his fans today, the singer won not only the official ballots to determine the 2023 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees but also the fan votes, which were held before the official announcement, which came on May 3. Getting 1.04 million votes, he placed above Cyndi Lauper, who received 928,000 votes.

Alongside George Michael, this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees also include Kate Bush, Chaka Khan, Missy Elliot, Rage Against the Machine and Willie Nelson.

 

 

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