Cover Image: George Michael

George Michael

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Member Reviews

James Gavin has written an exhaustive and yet astonishingly Illuminating biography of one of the great artist of the last 40 years, George Michael. This wonderful book contains the depth and compassion for its subject that George Michael so richly deserves. Michael’s recorded work has and will continue to stand the test of time. His concerts and live performances will never be forgotten by his fans. But the real legacy of George Michael may well be how unflaggingly charitable he was. His compassion for others lives on in the charities he founded and the charities his estate continues to fund. I worked for one of those charities, Project Angel Food in Los Angeles. I know first hand how George Michael’s generosity has saved lives and made the world a better place. God bless this artist. God bless this amazing book. Bravo a million times.
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As a fan of Wham and George Michael I enjoyed reading about his story. The author did a nice job of telling about his background and telling stories the public really didn't know about. If your a fan of the group or George Michael himself I recommend reading this biography you will not be disappointed.
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If you are gen X like myself I think you will enjoy hearing the back story of George Michael and his life. If you are younger, I still say read the book because a lot of what George suffered still applies today. George was not a saint by any means and sometimes was a real pain in the neck and this book does not sugar coat his faults.  I definitely recommend the book for an un-white washed look at the star. This is coming from an unabashed fan of Wham! from the beginning-I loved the songs, "Bad Boys" and "Young Guns" and have all the Wham!  and old George Michael cassettes.  It is a sad story which began with huge promise. The biographer did a lot of research and is a very good writer in my opinion.. I would read more James Gavin in the future.. In any event, this is a kind of Greek tragedy ..ironic that George had roots in Cyprus. RIP Yorg.  

Thank you to the publisher and Net galley for the chance to read and review.
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George Michael came on the scene during the time I was coming out in college and I had a huge crush on him. I followed his career during the earlier years and was perplexed when there were long lapses between his musical output in later years. This comprehensive and well-researched book is illuminating and provides many answers about his life. 

Beginning with his early childhood, his friendship with Andrew Ridgeley and the development of their group Wham!, the first surprise for me was the fact that he was immensely talented at singing and songwriting but his major goal was to simply become famous. He achieved that goal quickly and ventured on to become a huge solo success. However, Michael was never happy with his life and was so obsessed with controlling every detail of every project, he was never truly satisfied. Part of his withdrawal dealt with the fact that he lived in the closet and could not envision a life of success by openly acknowledging his sexuality.

His desire for popularity faded over the years and further heartbreak came when his first love died of AIDS. Shortly after that, his beloved mother died of cancer. The turning point in his career came with a devastating lawsuit against Sony Music. Michael lost the case and the remainder of his work during his lifetime was sporadic (chiefly due to Michael's bullheadedness and not Sony). The culmination of all these events came with his arrest in a Los Angeles public restroom which effectively outed him.

Michael's later years were clouded by drugs (he was an excessive pot smoker) and promiscuity. There were multiple incidences of traffic violations, public intoxication and sexual indiscretions. 

The book is an absorbing read and offers juicy details on Michael as well as some of the people he worked with (Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Elton John, etc.). The author's details of how he worked and came up with his most popular songs is also quite fascinating. Although the attempt as justifying George Michael as a gay icon is not convincing (to me, his long-time silence put a damper on that and even after he was outed, he continued to embody heterosexual characteristics in his videos and his personal life wasn't exactly admirable), the book does an excellent job at capturing his life and his demons. This one should go down as a definitive biography.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Abrams for the chance to read the ARC of this. ok in exchange for a fair and honest review. I really enjoyed this book . it is a thorough, comprehensive study of a complex man.It was obviously well researched  and it is well written.I was  a casual fan of Wham , and was  a little more appreciative  of George Michael, the solo artist. This book gave  me a broader and deeper interest in him and his music.I learned a lot about his early days, his friends and his musical beginnings. His descent into drugs and alcohol is heartbreaking to read .this is a no holds barred, warts and all biography and I highly recommend it.8:
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As a fan of Georgia Michael, I thought the author did a great job keeping me captivated whole also sharing information I don't know. Great writing and great topic. I highly recommend.
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Let me start off by saying as someone who was born in 1984 it appalled me that I had no clue until this book that George Michael was one half of WHAM! Especially since I knew almost all of their songs. My most clear knowledge of him as a singer was his early 90's stuff including Freedom 90'. I have had that song stuck in my head along with a string of other 80's and 90's hits for the last month and a half that I read this book. Lol, be prepared. It was a blast reading chapters and searching the internet for video's and photos that correlated with what I had just read. By the time I got to the later chapters I felt like I was reading about a friend. I was sad when his life started to spiral and his music wasn't getting the love he thought it deserved. I was scared for him as he made reckless choices and i anticipated how it was going to end. The author was incredibly detail oriented in all of this book and I couldn't even find anything to make notes on except for literally one sentence towards the beginning of the book where he wrote someones ethnicity along with their name which i thought was unnecessary. Literally, that was it.
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James Gavin delivers a well detailed and intimate portrait on the life of George Michael. 
Much has been written about George Michael over the years. His younger years were challenged by his difficult relationship with his father and the shunning of homosexuality. Music became his center and he developed his talent with a driving force. His friendship with Andrew Ridgeley led to the formation of Wham! In 1981 and the fans and chart topping hits followed. His good looks, soulful voice and songwriting skills were award winning, received much praise but never eased his personal pain. He struggled with substance abuse, legal issues, depression from the death of his lover and later his mother.
Although the darkest of times were well publicized and became tabloid fodder over the years, Mr. Gavin delivers the most difficult aspects of George Michaels life tastefully, without being vulgar or gossipy. He never loses his level of respect for George Michael the man and the artist.
George Michael was a creative force, a charity fundraiser and an activist. His untimely death at the age of fifty three on Christmas Day 2016 was shocking but the message and beauty of his words will not be forgotten.
Highly Recommended.
My thanks to NetGalley, James Gavin and Abrams Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest book review.
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I have been a fan of George Michael and his music for many years.  I was really excited to get a copy of this book and start reading it.  

This book was definitely well researched.  It was a little slow at times, but over all was a very good account of George Michaels life.  I definitely would recommend this book to anyone who is a George Michael fan, or anyone that would want to learn more about his life.
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James Gavin gives us a very personal and  extremely detailed account of the life of George Michael.   Michael's rise to fame came during the years of extreme homophobia (especially among his Greek community), AIDS, recreational drugs and the emergence of extreme paparazzi.  The complicated admiration, jealously and friendship he had with Elton John gives insight into many of the now famous performance the two gave to the world. I was lucky enough to be at Live Aid in Wembley Stadium to witness one such performance first hand.   The stories in the book are as captivating as the sexy video and music that provided the backdrop to the formative years of many a youth.  HIs trust in others led him into some situations that were not truly in his best interests, but he sometimes followed with the same blind faith he demanded from others. 
Scars were left by the loss of his one true love, his inability to live his life in light and truth without judgement and the business betrayals by those that he trusted. 
The only improvement would be to have shortened the length of the book a bit.  Every studio session and performance is detailed.  Gavin could have left off a few of these stops.  A brilliant book revealing the heartbreak, insecurities and ambitions of one of the best artist of our time. Fans of Wham , George Michael. and the music of the '80's and 90's will relish the behind the scenes stories.
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While there are plenty of facts, and the book is well-researched and thorough, there's no feeling in this book.  It's like reading a well-written Wikipedia page about George Michael instead of a thoughtful account of his life. This is probably because the author doesn't have any real connection with the subject.  Overall, the book is interesting but dry.

Thank you, NetGalley, for the ARC.
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Having been a George Michael fan since he first emerged on the pop scene with whim, I was excited to read his biography. It was sad, though, to read of his continual internal conflict. Despite all of the seeming success that he so desperately strove for, he never could achieve happiness. His life was shaped by a strict Greek father who shunned homosexuality thus compelling George to stay closeted for decades. The book focuses heavily on George Michael’s sexuality but I am assuming that was because it played such a large role in his life. When he died suddenly at age 53, I was saddened as so many other of his fans. To read of his decades-long addiction and health crises aided me in understanding his death at a young age. A compelling read for anyone who has appreciated the songwriting and music of George Michael.
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Ahhhhh- all that was George Michael has been included in this non-fiction book which makes for a very long read (over 560 pages) which is my only negative comment. This was a well thought out, well researched look at who George Michael the man really was- I was a fan of  George M and this story didn’t nothing to change that Thank goodness!
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Thank you Netgalley for offering this book! Although I loved George Michael’s music, I never knew much about his life story and this book is the one book to read for an in-depth look at the boy, the man,  the musician and his troubled soul.
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This was a great book on the rise of George Michael to fame and the fall to drugs and alcohol.  I didn't realize until reading this book that he wrote and produced all his music.  He was very talented but unfortunately very troubled.   I highly recommend this book to any of his fans.
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I chose this book as part of Non-fiction November. I have been a George Michael fan for a long time and thought this might be an interesting read. He was a talented, tortured man, who died too soon. 

This book is written well, its very in-depth and through, going all the way back to his tumultuous childhood. His surge into stardom and the aftermath of his coming out and his untimely death. For me, this book was really slow. It is intensely detailed and I found myself sometimes skimming the chapters just to get to an interesting part. Its fascinating to read about someone I grew up listening to. Reading about his life, I felt sad and wondered if he was ever truly happy. From the tone of this book, I'm guessing the answer is no. This book is also a glimpse into the inner life of a man who craved love and privacy. It just goes to show that you never truly know what is going on in someone's mind, especially someone in public view. 

If you are a fan of his or want to know more about his life and career this is a book you should pick up. The author gives a detailed biography of a man that few really knew. A man who was so undoubtedly unhappy. He brought so much joy and happiness to those who listened to his music, I just wish he could have had that in his own life.
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As a teenager growing up falling in love with George Michael and using his music as an anthem of my youth his story behind the façade has always interested me.  Although this book was very slow moving and seemed to revolve solely around the fact that George was gay and had trouble coming to terms with it, it was also the undercurrent of a man so possessed with trying not to fail that he ended up isolated and afraid.  I had no idea that he struggled to keep writing and singing after the SONY debacle and that up until the very end the drugs he was abusing played a huge role in his demise.  After reading this book I can now say that George Michael was a man filled with self hatred and consumed with the idea of failure.  Not something I would have felt with his otherwise.
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I'm a Gen-X/MTV Gen kid and George Michael first came to my attention through his song Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go with Wham! At the time, I was too young to understand its camp and humor and homage to the girl soul groups of the 60s. It wasn't my favorite song, though if you watched MTV it was unavoidable. I was also too young to have any real concept of gay or straight, but let's just say I sensed something was "different" here. (As I did with Culture Club. At that age, we'd ask ourselves "Was Boy George a boy or girl?" Me and my friends honestly did not know, but we didn't care either.) The next time GM came on my radar was with his string of massive solo hits: Careless Whisper, Last Christmas, I'm Your Man (which all thought was written for famous virgin Brooke Shields, whom he was supposedly "dating"), Father Figure, I Want Your Sex... and mostly "Freedom 90" with its iconic video of the supermodels of the day. (If you weren't there it's impossible to convey how famous these ladies were.)

Then George basically fell off my radar. In reading George Michael by James Gavin, I see why... it was about this time that he sank from favor with US radio, though he remained quite famous in Britain. While I vaguely remember him being caught cruising in a park or bathroom or something like that, I didn't follow him or read enough tabloid trash to have a full handle on the problems he was having at this time. So it was quite sad and shocking for me to read in excruciating detail his long, slow, mostly self-inflicted demise with drugs and what appears to be a sex addiction that kept him relentlessly trolling for anonymous, drug-fueled sex, and at the height of AIDS, no less.

Nor did I realize that GM was essentially a musical genius, writing most of his hit songs in his late teens and early 20s. As a young gay man, how could he have written so convincingly of a blue collar hetero marriage gone wrong? Yet he did in "Everything She Wants." He also produced and arranged everything - all without any formal training. It does not appear he took one vocal lesson yet could sing rings around just about anyone, and easily held his own with icons like Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston.

What is also apparent in the book is the deep scars inflicted on him during his childhood by his Greek Orthodox homophobic father who only showed some pride in his son after he realized how much his son could buy for him.

Sadly GM never got over the two loves of his life - partner Anselmo, and his mother. These early deaths unfortunately sparked GM's downward spiral into massive drug usage and eventually his body gave out. It's tragic that he spent the last years of his life hounded mercilessly by the UK's outrageously cruel tabloid media, and doing so many drugs that he was mostly out of it. At times it was very hard to keep sympathetic to him as he crashed one car after another driving under the influence, and could have easily killed someone. This was obviously a man in deep deep pain. But he was intelligent and sensitive to know how much he was revered by millions. And that is comforting to know.

Do yourself a favor and if you are a GM fan, pick up this book.
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I really enjoyed this expose on Mr. George Michael. I feel like I was really in his brain so to speak. This is incredibly well researched and enjoyable to read. I do feel it would be somewhat embarrassing to Mr. Michael to have all of this information out there without him being able to give his side of the story, but I am also fairly certain he would be glad he lived a life worth memorializing. I think some editing is necessary before publication; if anyone, Michael believed that a true artist should not be afraid to make good edits whenever necessary.
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I have loved George Michael as long as I can remember so I was thrilled to be able to read this biography! This was a long read so that made it a little difficult to get through, but I felt like it ewe very well researched and out together. As a long time fan, parts of this book hurt my heart to learn that George clearly a tortured soul. He was in a lot of pain but someone truly created beauty (in his music) out of the near-tragedy  that was his life. I hope he finally is at peace.

Thank.you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read this early!  It will be released in June 2022. I will share this review to my Instagram blog (books_by_the_bottle) soon!
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