2016 just couldn’t pass up the chance to take down one more heavy hitter. This time, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, or George Michael, as he’s best known.
You may be thinking, “This guy wasn’t indie. He was rich. Why are we talking about him?” Because Michael was to the U.K. what Prince was to the U.S. Like Prince, he struggled with record companies and execs. Case in point: to us, Michael was an 80s artist, but in the U.K. he was relevant until the end. His efforts were stifled by well-documented artistic and promotional differences with Sony Music. Lawsuits were levied, and Michael stopped being supported on the radio in America.
Like Prince he was charitable for the sake of being charitable, not for recognition. There are various reports of Michael popping up to volunteer in soup kitchens and support charities without press coverage–without a spectacle–so much so that we can only verify such accounts by eye witness, and nothing more.
Also, (like Prince) his sexuality would receive scrutiny from the press. His advocacy for AIDS awareness and queer pride became synonymous with his image. He appeared on charity recordings with Queen, Elton John and Lisa Stansfield (among others), raising money to fight HIV. He stood with progressive organizations to promote equality.
So, today’s playlist pays homage to George, his goodness, and his artisanship.