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George Michael - The Life: 1963-2016: The Man, The Legend, The Music

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'I WENT THROUGH A LONG PERIOD WHERE I WAS AFRAID OF DOING THINGS I WANTED TO DO, AND YOU GET YOUR COURAGE BACK, WHICH IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT' – GEORGE MICHAELBorn Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael was raised in a family of Greek Cypriot immigrants in North London, and dreamed of stardom when he was a little boy. At just twelve years old he met Andrew Ridgeley and t 'I WENT THROUGH A LONG PERIOD WHERE I WAS AFRAID OF DOING THINGS I WANTED TO DO, AND YOU GET YOUR COURAGE BACK, WHICH IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT' – GEORGE MICHAELBorn Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael was raised in a family of Greek Cypriot immigrants in North London, and dreamed of stardom when he was a little boy. At just twelve years old he met Andrew Ridgeley and the two of them went on to achieve stunning success in the early 1980s with Wham!, creating music that remains popular to this day.Yet despite the enormous success of Wham!, George wanted more, and so set about recreating himself as a serious solo artist, reaching heights of even greater success. Ironically, however, even from the early days he was plagued with insecurity about his sexuality, which, combined with the calamity of losing his first lover to AIDS and his mother to cancer, plunged him into a lifelong struggle with drug addiction. He died, at the tragically early age of just fifty three, on Christmas Day 2016.George Michael's life and career brought him international fame, and his sudden and unexpected death shocked the world. His unrivalled popularity as an artist, however, and the music he made, have turned him into one of the immortal greats of pop music. As Emily Herbert shows in this new biography, his legacy is not just his music, but his many extraordinary, and often anonymous, acts of charity.


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'I WENT THROUGH A LONG PERIOD WHERE I WAS AFRAID OF DOING THINGS I WANTED TO DO, AND YOU GET YOUR COURAGE BACK, WHICH IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT' – GEORGE MICHAELBorn Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael was raised in a family of Greek Cypriot immigrants in North London, and dreamed of stardom when he was a little boy. At just twelve years old he met Andrew Ridgeley and t 'I WENT THROUGH A LONG PERIOD WHERE I WAS AFRAID OF DOING THINGS I WANTED TO DO, AND YOU GET YOUR COURAGE BACK, WHICH IS WHAT'S IMPORTANT' – GEORGE MICHAELBorn Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, George Michael was raised in a family of Greek Cypriot immigrants in North London, and dreamed of stardom when he was a little boy. At just twelve years old he met Andrew Ridgeley and the two of them went on to achieve stunning success in the early 1980s with Wham!, creating music that remains popular to this day.Yet despite the enormous success of Wham!, George wanted more, and so set about recreating himself as a serious solo artist, reaching heights of even greater success. Ironically, however, even from the early days he was plagued with insecurity about his sexuality, which, combined with the calamity of losing his first lover to AIDS and his mother to cancer, plunged him into a lifelong struggle with drug addiction. He died, at the tragically early age of just fifty three, on Christmas Day 2016.George Michael's life and career brought him international fame, and his sudden and unexpected death shocked the world. His unrivalled popularity as an artist, however, and the music he made, have turned him into one of the immortal greats of pop music. As Emily Herbert shows in this new biography, his legacy is not just his music, but his many extraordinary, and often anonymous, acts of charity.

30 review for George Michael - The Life: 1963-2016: The Man, The Legend, The Music

  1. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    This is a quick read about the life of George Michael, but not as in depth as some of the other books about him. If you are a hard core fan, there's not a lot of new information. However, if you're a fan but don't know much about his life, you'll learn some things. This is a quick read about the life of George Michael, but not as in depth as some of the other books about him. If you are a hard core fan, there's not a lot of new information. However, if you're a fan but don't know much about his life, you'll learn some things.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I bought this book as I wanted a female perspective on George Michael's life. What I got was a shoddy cut and paste, often inaccurate portrayal. I suppose I should have been aware that she wasn't a fan to have brought out her book with such indecent haste. At the time of going to press, there had been no conclusion about what caused his death and the funeral only happened just over a week ago. If it wasn't for the fact that I don't believe in defacing books, I would take my red pen and correct al I bought this book as I wanted a female perspective on George Michael's life. What I got was a shoddy cut and paste, often inaccurate portrayal. I suppose I should have been aware that she wasn't a fan to have brought out her book with such indecent haste. At the time of going to press, there had been no conclusion about what caused his death and the funeral only happened just over a week ago. If it wasn't for the fact that I don't believe in defacing books, I would take my red pen and correct all the plethora of mistakes and return a copy to Ms Herbert.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jo Jackson

    I have been a long time fan of George Michael, more so when he ventured away from WHAM and pursued his solo career. I found this book easy to read yet quite interesting. Emily has provided a detailed account of George's life, without being critical of him. It is very true what she says in the book, that all the money and fame in the world can't bring you happiness. George lived a life of torture from within, which is such a shame for such a great musician. Many are taken too early. I have been a long time fan of George Michael, more so when he ventured away from WHAM and pursued his solo career. I found this book easy to read yet quite interesting. Emily has provided a detailed account of George's life, without being critical of him. It is very true what she says in the book, that all the money and fame in the world can't bring you happiness. George lived a life of torture from within, which is such a shame for such a great musician. Many are taken too early.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    While it was at times interesting to read about the tragic life of one of my favorite pop stars, this book fell flat for me. The writing was amazingly simplistic, and the vocabulary seemed try-hard and forced. I was rushing towards the end to be done with it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Barnes

    A biography of a major music star which barely mentions the music... Usually, biographies have a long list of acknowledgements and sources, showing that the author has spoken to many people with first hand knowledge of the subject, and often the subject themselves. Herbert acknowledges one person who tells her a lot of stuff but it's not clear if they ever knew George. This is tabloid fare - essentially making the point, over and over again, that George's drugs and depression was largely due to ha A biography of a major music star which barely mentions the music... Usually, biographies have a long list of acknowledgements and sources, showing that the author has spoken to many people with first hand knowledge of the subject, and often the subject themselves. Herbert acknowledges one person who tells her a lot of stuff but it's not clear if they ever knew George. This is tabloid fare - essentially making the point, over and over again, that George's drugs and depression was largely due to having to live a lie about his sexuality for a long period at the start of his music career; being the heartthrob for hordes of girls whilst knowing in his heart that he was gay. For a man with such colossal talent, there is almost nothing to say about his influences or where he began performing, where his inspiration came from. George meets Andrew, they form a band and suddenly become famous have a string of hits and so on. Was there a Manager or mentor of some kind that guided them along? Who gave George his first guitar, who taught him piano? No, none of this. Better to spend a whole chapter gushing about the supermodels on the Freedom 90 video rather than actually try to reflect on the man, the legend or the music.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    A sad read in some ways , George Michael was a big figure from my childhood - I was a big Wham fan ! To read about him was fascinating, but it was told in such a matter of fact way that you didn’t really get to know him as a person .

  7. 4 out of 5

    NarniaRU

    There was some soul lacking to this book. I feel like the author didn't actually dig deep enough and just retold the tabloid fodder back to us. That said, it still held my attention and I really liked the earlier years. There was some soul lacking to this book. I feel like the author didn't actually dig deep enough and just retold the tabloid fodder back to us. That said, it still held my attention and I really liked the earlier years.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lee

    Good read. I've read better biographies. The writing is a bit clumsy and jumps around. Really enjoyed reading about George's life. I grew up, just a few years younger than he, listening to his music. It's still a fantastic listen. Shame we lost him so early. Good read. I've read better biographies. The writing is a bit clumsy and jumps around. Really enjoyed reading about George's life. I grew up, just a few years younger than he, listening to his music. It's still a fantastic listen. Shame we lost him so early.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ryan O'Neill

    This book is a fairly straightforward chronicle of George Michael's life and career. It takes us through his beginnings and his Greek father's scepticism over his choice of music as a career and provides some helpful context for the early work of Wham! - for example, 'Club Tropicana' being released at time where mass tourism and package holidays were becoming the norm. Other interesting historical elements include Wham's landmark performances in China and the bafflement, wonder and chaos that res This book is a fairly straightforward chronicle of George Michael's life and career. It takes us through his beginnings and his Greek father's scepticism over his choice of music as a career and provides some helpful context for the early work of Wham! - for example, 'Club Tropicana' being released at time where mass tourism and package holidays were becoming the norm. Other interesting historical elements include Wham's landmark performances in China and the bafflement, wonder and chaos that resulted in a country that had yet to taste Western culture on such a brash level. The author continues to chart Michael's image change and attempts to become a more serious solo artist, the giant success of Faith, his refusal to tour or promote his second album and subsequent lawsuit with Sony. Michael's personal heartache began to take hold in the '90s as he dealt with the death of his secret partner, who he had to grieve for while still keeping his sexuality a secret, and the book does a decent job at documenting his inner conflict at his stardom as a heterosexual icon and the desire for success that also influenced his secrecy. The death of Michael's mother from cancer in late 90s precipitated his personal issues and despite having success with most releases throughout his remaining career, drug and legal issues and personal turmoil marred his later life until his death on Christmas Day 2016. Unfortunately, this book is at times badly written, relies on lightweight sourcing and misses out much of what it would have been interesting to know about Michael as an actual musician, rather than a troubled celebrity. Above all, it is is gossipy and prioritises his personal life above what made his music such a touchstone for many artists today. There are some positives, notably in how the author charts the artist's conflicted feelings towards coming out and the attention he garnered, and the shocked reaction to songs like 'I Want Your Sex'. The book is a very speedy read and a good primer for someone like myself wanting to know more about him, but if it's a deeper dive into the music side of the artist, you're better off going elsewhere.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Flint

    I've loved George ever since the first time I heard and bought the 7" single of Bad Boys from his Wham Days. Being a naive 11 year old girl at that time, pop music was my escape and I loved Wham back then. That picture would change in my adult life when the bad boy I once idolised suddenly and sadly appeared to become a cartoon character of his former self that I just didn't recognise anymore nor could get why he was hell bent on a destroying a career he had proudly made for himself. However aft I've loved George ever since the first time I heard and bought the 7" single of Bad Boys from his Wham Days. Being a naive 11 year old girl at that time, pop music was my escape and I loved Wham back then. That picture would change in my adult life when the bad boy I once idolised suddenly and sadly appeared to become a cartoon character of his former self that I just didn't recognise anymore nor could get why he was hell bent on a destroying a career he had proudly made for himself. However after reading this book it does delve into the events leading up to his demise and his premature and untimely event of his passing. I now get why he would have felt so lonely and out on a limb and ended up going the path he went. Reading this book has made me sympathise more with what he truly had to deal with through his life and from as early as being an 11 year old boy just wanting to make his family proud. Life can be cruel and not everone copes with life events as well as others. After reading this book, George really was a man who appeared to be a very troubled, lonely and misunderstood man. An interesting read for any fan and for those who weren't too. This book just proves that fame and fortune alone, and being one of the biggest pop stars of your time, doesn't bring you happiness in the long run. God Bless George x

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tina Brown

    This is THE worst biography I have ever read in my life. Absolutely no substance to it. "Michael probably this, Michael may have thought this". And has the gaul to comment on her own thoughts about his drug and drinking use. Major events skimmed over. Everything in this pathetic piece of drivel is more than likely copied and pasted from past articles. Save your money and stay away from this absolute piece of trash. Emily Herbert should be ashamed. No wonder there's none of the usual accolades fr This is THE worst biography I have ever read in my life. Absolutely no substance to it. "Michael probably this, Michael may have thought this". And has the gaul to comment on her own thoughts about his drug and drinking use. Major events skimmed over. Everything in this pathetic piece of drivel is more than likely copied and pasted from past articles. Save your money and stay away from this absolute piece of trash. Emily Herbert should be ashamed. No wonder there's none of the usual accolades from various people/papers on the back.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This has been on my pile for almost two years but have not been able to pick up and read for fear of turning into an emotional wreck. I grew up with George Michael and was devastated regarding his untimely death. I cannot give a review per se as it would be somewhat biased. All I can say is that I give the book top marks. It was easy to read, but for the majority it is what most of us know about him anyway.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katja

    Most sources used in this book are pieces from papers like The Sun, Daily Mail etc. which annoyed me but there are other publications and web medias quoted too, so it's not all British yellow press stuff. Herbert also repeats a lot of things and the book isn't terribly long, so it's quite shallow piece. Most sources used in this book are pieces from papers like The Sun, Daily Mail etc. which annoyed me but there are other publications and web medias quoted too, so it's not all British yellow press stuff. Herbert also repeats a lot of things and the book isn't terribly long, so it's quite shallow piece.

  14. 5 out of 5

    The Book Grocer

    Purchase George Michael: The Life 1963-2016 here for just $10! A frank account of the life of this quintessential 80’s pop star, filled with George Michael’s own reflections. Thoughtful and respectful, this biography does well to celebrate Michael’s extraordinary career, and also acknowledge the difficult experience of fame from the persective of a queer man in the 1980’s. A great reminder of why Michael’s life meant so much to so many. Amarina - The Book Grocer Purchase George Michael: The Life 1963-2016 here for just $10! A frank account of the life of this quintessential 80’s pop star, filled with George Michael’s own reflections. Thoughtful and respectful, this biography does well to celebrate Michael’s extraordinary career, and also acknowledge the difficult experience of fame from the persective of a queer man in the 1980’s. A great reminder of why Michael’s life meant so much to so many. Amarina - The Book Grocer

  15. 5 out of 5

    Thiery

    Biographies are not my kind of readings, but I can't resist when it's one of my fave music singer and compositor. Biographies are not my kind of readings, but I can't resist when it's one of my fave music singer and compositor.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mario Vanhoucke

    The book contains more gossips than facts. I like the book written by Andrew (Wham! George and me) better!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Frans van der Mark

    I expected more, it read like a bundle of newspaper clippings. George Michael is worth more than that, but then there are other books...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ann Steentoft

    Not the best biography I’ve read. The writing is a bit clumsy and jumps from one subject to another a lot. It is quite repetitive and doesn’t focus much on the man and his music. It’s mostly just what we already know from different media.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angie Rushforth

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kees Paalvast

  21. 5 out of 5

    Trish D

  22. 5 out of 5

    Natasha

  23. 5 out of 5

    Annette Rogers

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cbsd library

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stuart Hill

  26. 4 out of 5

    Staci Willems

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristien

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Saxen

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lotta

  30. 5 out of 5

    Leire Rogel

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