This Christmas marks a year since the world lost one of the biggest pop icons of all time. With a career that spanned over three decades and a fan base that adored him, George Michael's instantly recognisable voice, often described as the voice of an angel, and unmistakable melodies are part of the soundtrack to our lives.
It is poignant that having produced, alongside his best friend and Wham band mate Andrew Ridgeley, one of the most loved and popular Christmas songs 33 years ago, that he passed away on Christmas Day. For the past couple of weeks Andrew has been urging fans around the world to help make 'Last Christmas' number one this year in commemoration. Unfortunately, the song has taken third place in the Christmas charts.
At a more local level, devoted fan and event promoter Andrew, the first person to create a Facebook tribute page a day after the world learned of the singer's untimely death, has organised the ultimate homage, a George Michael Tribute Show to be held in Sydney this Friday 29th December.
Greek City Times had a chat to Andrew about his love of George Michael and why he decided to organise a tribute show.
Have you always been a George Michael fan?
Yes, I have always been a George Michael fan. I am a Greek Cypriot by origin, so was George Michael, That is one reason. The second reason is, my grandfather is from the same village as George Michael's father. The village is called Patriki, which is in the northern and occupied part of Cyprus.
Another reason is that George Michael, in my eyes, was one of the most talented singer, songwriter and performer of all time and an awesome human being. As he created and performed his own songs. George Michael also showed incredible acts of kindness and generosity to people all around the world, but all this was done in private. After his death he was described as a one of the biggest philanthropists.
How did you come up with the idea to organise this event?
I was the first to start a George Michael Tribute Page on Facebook a day after his death. Now, 12 months later, we have over 20,000 global fans on the page and it’s growing each day with hundreds of new people joining. I have been hosting events now for over 18 years and I thought with my experience in events, the following with the Tribute Page I had to organise a George Michael Tribute Show - 1 year anniversary of the passing George Michael. This will give the fans the opportunity to relive and celebrate the legendary hits and musical influences of the extraordinary artist!
Why do you think people all around the world love the man and his music so unconditionally?
George Michael was simple,unique, talented and a generous human being. Fame and fortune did nothing to George. He never thought or acted likr he was above everyone else. George was George and that's why his fans adored him!
A quote that sums up his humility was from a GQ article in 2004 when he said "I never minded being thought of as a pop star. People have always thought I wanted to be seen as a serious musician, but I didn't, I just wanted people to know that I was absolutely serious about pop music."
Tell us about the George Michael Relived Band?
The George Michael Relived Band performs an electrically charged show which covers all of the great George Michael eras, taking you on a journey from the early years of Wham through to today.
The band will perform the songs we all know and love such as Faith, Careless Whisper, Fast Love, Outside, Last Christmas, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, I’m Your Man, Freedom and Everything She Wants, to name just a few.
What can people attending this event expect?
As well as the band there will be DJs playing the full collection of George Michael and Wham songs, dancers, merchandise giveaways and we have told everyone to dress up like Wham or George to get into the spirit of the night.
What has the response been like about this event?
The response has been amazing. We are heading for a sell-out event in the next few days !!!
What is your favourite George Michael song?
Praying For Time.
George Michael Tribute Show
Friday 29th December, 8.30pm
The Factory Theatre
105 Victoria Rd, Marrickville
For tix- www.factorytheatre.com.au