Following in the footsteps of George Michael in London

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Peter Dragicevich
@peterdragicevich
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George Michael, whose real name is Georgios Kyriakos Panayotou, was born on June 25, 1963 in London, to a restaurateur of Cypriot origin and a British dancer.



The young Georgios Panayiotou was very passionate about music very early on and founded in 1979 with his classmates, his first ska group The Executive, which broke up a few months later. At the beginning of the 80s, George created with Andrew Ridgeley the group Wham! and quickly achieved international success with the songs Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Freedom, Everything She Wants and Last Christmas.


George Michael participates more and more in solo projects and wishes to start a solo career. In 1986 the two acolytes separated after a final farewell concert at Wembley Stadium in front of 72 spectators.

Popular singer with the public, George Michael becomes the greatest British pop star of the 1980s, first with the duo Wham! then as a solo artist.

Through this article, follow in the footsteps of the pop star and discover the places where she grew up, studied, his favorite clubs, the places where he recorded and sang his hits, and much more!

 

June 25, 1963: Birth of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou


Georgios was born on June 25, 1963 in North London at 73 Church Lane in East Finchley, often called the Beverly Hills of London. The family moved into a house from the 30s with three bedrooms.


Address : 73 Church Lane, East Finchley, London N2 OTH

 

1968: Returned to Roe Green Primary School

It was at the age of 5 that young Georgios returned to Roe Green primary school where he met one of his first friends David Mortimer. This dear friend to George throughout his life, would later be known as David Austin, British songwriter who released the single "Turn to Gold", co-written with George Michael in 1984.

Address : Princes Avenue, London NW9 9JL

 

1969: Opening of the Angus Pride restaurant


George Michael's father, Cyprus-born Kyriacos Panayiotou, immigrated to Britain in the 1950s and called himself Jack Panos.


In 1969, he bought the Angus Pride restaurant in Edgware where the family lived just above for a year during the renovations of their future home.

Today it is an Afghan restaurant called Kabul City Restaurant.

Address : 32-34 Station Road, Edgware HA8 7AB

 

September 1974: Back to Kingsbury High School


In September 1974, the teenager returned to Kingsbury High School until the family moved to their future home in Radlett.

Artists also attended this school like Charlie Watts - drummer of the Rolling Stone -, and the singers Mutya Buena and Keisha Buchanan.

Address : 162 Princes Avenue, London NW9 9JR

 

1975: the family Kyriacos Panayiotou s'installe à Radlett




 

In 1975, Kyriacos George's father bought a second restaurant in Edgware. The family moves and settles in Radlett, near Watford in Hertfordshire in a big house which according to George's words is a "real old shithole", in other words old shit! Indeed, the house is in a sorry state and the renovation works lasted a year, during which time the family lived in an apartment above the Angus Pride restaurant.

 

Address : 2 Oakridge Avenue, Radlett WD7 8EN

 

September 9, 1975: Back to Bushey Meads School

 

On September 9, 1975, George returned to his second year and followed a “Level A Music theory, Art and English Literature” course. It was in this school that he met then 12-year-old Andrew Ridgeley. Passionate about music, the two young people became friends and in 1979 formed a first ska group with classmates, called The Executive.

 

 


Le April 15th, 15 months after the death of the pop star, a “blue plaque” in tribute to the artist is unveiled.

Address : Coldharbour Lane, Bushey WD23 4PA

 

November 5, 1979: The Executive's first concert


In the summer of 1979, George Michael, Ridgeley, Andrew's brother Paul, David Austin and Andrew Leaver founded a Ska group called The Executive.

After months of rehearsals in various salons, the group gave their first concert on November 5, 1979 in the parish hall of Bushey & Oxhey Methodist Church where they played their first track, Rude Boy.

The Executive then gave 4 or 5 more concerts, playing in venues like The Pump House in Watford and Cassio College.

Address : 77 Chalk Hill, Oxhey, Watford WD19 4DA

 

1981: George's first job at Empire Watford Cinema


Still living with his parents, George finds an odd job at the Watford cinema where he is doorman.

The Watford Empire closed in the mid-1990s and today a hairdressing salon occupies the premises.

Address : 84-86 Merton Road, Watford, WD18 0WY

 

January 25, 1981: Meeting with Shirlie Holliman


The day before his 18th birthday Andrew Ridgeley is at The Crown pub with George Michael where the two boys meet Shirlie Holliman who will be Wham's backing vocalist! until their separation in 1986. It is also in this Bushey pub that the duo decided to found their group Wham!

Address : 1 High Road, Bushey WD23 1EA

 

1981: George Michael DJ au restaurant Bel Air

In 1981, George, who is of age, worked for 9 months at the Bel Air Greek restaurant in Northwood, near Bushey, as a disc jockey.

In his autobiography Bare, George Michael recounts that he started writing Careless Whisper on the bus that took him to work: “I remember I composed Careless Whisper on my way to work (I was a DJ at the Bel Air restaurant. ). I have always written on buses, trains and cars. […] For Careless Whisper, I remember exactly when I had the idea and where I thought about the saxophone part. "

It is also in this restaurant that he tests his piece with the public, with some success.

Address : Rickmansworth Road, Northwood HA6 2QW

 

February 20, 1981: George Michael filmed at Club Beat Route by BBC


From November 1980 until its closure in June 1983, the Beat Route was a popular club in the heart of Soho, along with the Mud Club or the Dirt Box, all frequented by George and Andrew. But of all these places, it is at the Beat Route that Andrew creates “Wham! Bam! I am a man! ” and that George dances with Shirlie Holliman on the hits D. Train, Was (Not Was) or Evelyn "Champagne" King.

On February 20, 1981, the BBC program, Nationwide, devotes a subject to this club where appears in the image bearded George Michael, dressed in a red jacket, dancing. We can also see the images on Youtube !

Today at the location of the club is the chain of cocktail bars Be At One.

Address : 16-17 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 4DR

 

1982: Club The Wag on Wardour Street


This nightclub in the heart of Soho is in the 80s, one of the most famous nightclubs in London where many celebrities from the world of music meet such as George, Mick Jagger, models, stylists, photographers , and journalists. In 1984 David Bowie even shot his MTV video “Blue Jean” there.

The Wag Club closed on May 5, 2001 and was replaced by the Irish Pub O'Neil.

Address : 33-37 Wardour St, West End, London W1D 6PU

 

October 1983: Recording of a new version of Careless Whisper


George Michael records a new version of the song Careless Whisper at SARM West Studio 2, in Notting Hill. The future tube is then put aside, the time that Wham! performs his first tour in England Club Fantastic Tour and records his second studio album.

Built inside an old church, Sarm was in the mid-1970s, Sarm the first 24-track recording studio in England, and then the first with 48-channel installations.

Many singing stars like, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, les Rolling Stones, Queen, Madonna, Rihanna, and many others have recorded hit albums at Sarm West Studios.

Today the studios are still in Notting Hill but at 105 Ladbroke Grove and the church has been converted into apartments.

Address : 8-10 Basing Street, Notting Hill, London W11 1ET

 

October 9 - November 30, 1983: Club Fantastic Tour

Club Fantastic Tour is Wham! 'S first concert tour launched after the release of their debut studio album Fantastic. During this tour, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley perform 30 sold-out shows across England, Scotland and Wales. Halfway through the tour, Michael lost his voice and had to cancel ten consecutive shows with gigs pushed back and postponed.

 

October 27 - 28 and November 26, 1983: Hammersmith Odeon


Between October and November, Wham! perform three times at Hammersmith Odeon, one of the most famous concert halls in the world, better known as the Eventim Apollo.

 

Address : 45 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9QH

 

November 13 - 17, 1983: Concerts at the Lyceum Theater


It is in the sumptuous London theater at the Lyceum Theater, one of the most beautiful places in the English capital that Wham! gives five consecutive concerts.

 

Address : 21 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7RQ

 

23 - 24 June 1986: Concert of Wham! at Brixton Academy

 

While singing A Different Corner, George Michael tells the audience that this is a deeply sincere song. Indeed, his single is dedicated to the memory of an anonymous person (“to a memory”), probably linked to his previous breakup which affected him a lot.

George Michael himself explains that he drew his inspiration from a where his love and media life became incompatible.

Address : 211 Stockwell Road, Ferndale, London SW9 9SL

 

June 28, 1986: The Final: Wham's last concert! at wembley stadium


 

1986 marks the final end of Wham! and the start of George Michael's solo career. To mark this turning point, the group gives a farewell concert in front of 72 spectators at Wembley Stadium. During this exceptional concert, stars are invited to share the stage with the group, such as Elton John and Simon Le Bon.

Today it is possible to visit wembley stadium, accompanied by a guide who, during 1h15, retraces the great cultural and sporting moments of the stadium belonging to the cultural history of England.

Address : London, Wembley HA9 0WS

 

More information  

 

October 11, 1996: Recording of MTV Unplugged at 3 Mills studios


 

After 4 weeks of rehearsal, George Michael records at 3 Mills studios his MTV Unplugged, an acoustic mini concert, broadcast on MTV and VH1. The audience is made up of competition winners from all over the world as well as special guests.

A breathtaking and emotional concert during which the star covers ten songs from her solo albums such as Faith, Listen Without Prejudice and Older as well as a few songs from the Wham! Period.

According to George Michael, this concert is one of the best performances of his career.

 

Address : Three Mill Lane, London E3 3DU

 

2000: The Flask, George Michael's favorite pub


This historic 2000th-century pub has become the favorite pub for pilgrimage fans, who know that in the early XNUMXs their idol stopped by for a few drinks.

Address : 77 Highgate West Hill, Londres N6 6BU

More information  

 

George Michael House in Highgate


 

A few meters from his favorite pub The Flask, George Michael lives in a XNUMXth century mansion classified grade II on England's national heritage list.
Located in the north of London in the chic district of Highgate, this residence is made up of seven rooms, a swimming pool, an annex and a secret access to the park ofHampstead Heath through a back door.

George's Mansion is one of the most famous homes in showbiz, with top-notch neighbors like Jude Law, Kate Moss Kate and Sting.

When he died in 2016, an incredible memorial garden was set up in front of his home at 6 The Grove where thousands of fans lay flowers for more than a year after his disappearance. The crowds are so crowded that the family is asking fans to stop leaving floral tributes.

 

Address : 5 The Grove, Highgate London N6 NJU

 

July 4, 2010: George Michael's accident in Hampstead

 

On July 4, 2010 at 3:45 am back from Gay Pride in London, George Michael under the influence of cannabis, crashed with his 4 × 4 Range Rover into the Snappy Snaps store.
After his arrest by the police, the pop star pleaded guilty in Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court to possession of cannabis and driving while incapacitated to drive.

He was sentenced to eight weeks in prison at HMP Pentonville in north London and Highpoint Prison in Suffolk. In addition to the prison sentence, he was fined and could not drive for five years.

The accident grabbed the headlines of many newspapers and fans showed their support by placing flowers and messages outside the store.

 

Address : 80 Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead, London NW3 1ND

 

September 2010: George Michael jailed in Pentonville prison

 

Following his accident, George Michael is incarcerated at Pentonville Prison where he serves half of his eight week sentence before being transferred to Highpoint Prison in Suffolk.

These four weeks spent in Pentonville prison are a trauma for the artist who finds himself alongside pedophiles and rarely leaves his cell.

Address : Caledonian Road, London N7 8TT

 

December 2015: Midnight Mass at St Thomas of Canterbury C of E Church


 

In December 2015, George Michael attends the midnight mass which is held in the Romanesque church of St Thomas of Canterbury, close to the artist's home.

In his tribute a memory book and a fan-funded commemorative plaque are located near the front door so that admirers can pray and leave a message.

Address : Off Manor Road, Goring, Reading RG8 9DS

 

December 25, 2016: Death of George Michael at Mill Cottage


 

Since 1999 George Michael and his companion Kenny Goss had lived in a charming XNUMXth century mansion on the banks of the Thames in the village of Goring-on-Thames, about an hour from London.

It was in this house that George Michael died on December 25, 2016 at the age of 53 from dilated cardiomyopathy with myocarditis, i.e. a weakening of the heart muscle, and from hepatic steatosis, which results in a accumulation of fat in liver cells.

 

Address : Lock Approach, Goring, Oxfordshire RG8 9AD

 

December 28, 2016: Pegasus honors George Michael


 

Only three days after his death, the famous street artist Pegasus pays tribute to the singer through a work he produced in east London in the district of Shoreditch.
This work features the singer in pink, blue and black accompanied by the words Never Gonna Dance Again - lyrics from George Michael's 1984 single Careless Whisper.

 

Address : Great Eastern street, Shoreditch

 

March 29, 2016: Burial of George Michael at Highgate Cemetery


 

Three months after his death, George Michael was buried in the strictest privacy on March 29, 2017 with his mother in one of the seven Victorian cemeteries (called Magnificent Seven) at Highgate Cemetery.

The artist's remains had until then been kept by the coroner to establish the causes of death. Access to his burial is prohibited to the public.

 

Address : Swain’s Lane, Highgate, London N6 6PJ

 

September 19, 2020: Inauguration of the work of Dawn Mellor


 

A mural depicting George Michael by British artist Dawn Mellor was unveiled on September 19, 2020 in the Brent neighborhood on Kingsbury Road where the singer lived and studied as a teenager.

This nine-meter mural references several George Michael hits, including Careless Whisper and Outside.

 

Address : 499 Kingsbury Road, Kingsbury, NW9 9ED

 

Hard Rock Cafe and its Rock n 'Roll decoration


London has three Hard Rock Cafe restaurants, an American restaurant chain known for their burgers and cult items that once belonged to rock stars. With more than 81 pieces, the chain has the largest collection in the world of objects around rock n'roll.


Le Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus The pop star owns an elegant gray Armani suit which he donated to benefit Elton John's “Out of the Closet” charity sale.

 

 

If you would like to eat at the Hard Rock Cafe restaurant, you can benefit from an attractive rate by booking on GetYourGuide which offers a menu at 28,40 € (consisting of 2 or 3 courses with a soft drink) and giving priority entry to the restaurant.

Addresses of Hard Rock Cafe :
Hard Rock Cafe London :  150 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1QZ
Hard Rock Cafe Oxford Street : Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch, London, GB W1H7DL
Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus : 225-229 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HR

More information 

 

Some reading tips to get to know George Michael better

Bare : George Michael, His Own Story, by George Michael and Tony Parsons
In 1990, British journalist Tony Parsons wrote an authoritative biography of the pop star. He interviews family, friends and colleagues of George Michael who have known him for many years. The result is a fascinating portrait of the artist, from many different perspectives, including his own.

 

More information  

 

George Michael, by David Nolan
The author, David Nolan journalist and television producer retraces through this biography the career of George Michael since his beginnings in the group Wham! until his last appearances and concerts in the months preceding his death.
It is a beautiful hardcover book of 144 pages, which contains more than 200 beautiful photos: portraits, concert photographs or even more intimate images.

 

More information  

 

Wham! George & Me, by Andrew Ridgeley
For the first time, Andrew Ridgeley, tells through his autobiography his story of friendship with George Michael which started on the benches of the school and continued with the success of their duo.

 

More information  

 

Conclusion

George Michael finds success with Wham! which in five years became one of the largest British pop groups with more than 25 million record sales worldwide. Wham! were also the first Western group to tour China in 1985 before their farewell concert at Wembley Stadium in 1886.

Over the course of his career, George Michael was a British singer-songwriter and producer and embodied the perfect synthesis of British pop music. He sold around 100 million records and won two Grammy Awards, six Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards and three Brit Awards.

Gay icon, George Michael is also a popular singer with the public, some media like Le Monde consider him a “pop icon” and The Times sees him as a “pop superstar” since Wham! 

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