What do you think of when you hear “George Michael”? Tight jeans and a goatee? Though George Michael may have peaked in the 1980s, his legacy remains relevant even today. Michael has lived much of his life in the public eye; however, there are still some things that many people do not know about him. With that in mind, here PPcorn present a list of 15 facts you probably didn’t know about Lionel Richie. British singer George Michael, who became one of the pop idols of the 1980s with Wham! and then forged a career as a successful solo artist with sometimes sexually provocative lyrics, died at his home in England on Sunday. He was 53.
Number Twenty-One: Christmas Is His Favorite Holiday
George Michael is one of the few artists to have a song on both the #1 and #2 spots in the Christmas Singles charts – when “Do They Know It’s Christmas” from Band Aid was #1 and “Last Christmas” from Wham was #2 way back in 1984.
Number Twenty: He Destroyed The British Charts
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley – aka Wham – had four #1 hits in the British singles chart – “Wake me up before you go go”, “Freedom”, “I’m your man” and “The Edge of Heaven”.
Number Nineteen: His First Solo Album Was A Huge Success
Faith – his debut solo album released in 1987 sold over 20 million copies.
Number Eighteen: Wrote His First Hit Song When He Was 17
The timeless classic “Careless Whisper” was his first solo single when he was 21 years old, although he actually wrote it in an afternoon when he was just 17 years old.
Number Seventeen: He’s A Huge Beatles Fan
A massive Beatles fan, George Michael bought the Steinway Model Z upright piano used by John Lennon for an incredible £1.67 million and sent it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool in 2000.
Number Seventeen: He Performed on ‘Solid Gold’
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley of Wham! perform on TV show Solid Gold in 1982 in the pop duo’s first American television appearance.
Number Sixteen: He Was A Fan Of The Late Princess Diana
Princess Diana talks to George Michael (second right) as Mick Hucknall looks on ahead of a concert at London’s Wembley Arena to mark World Aids Day on 1 December 1993.
Number Fifteen: George Michael Has Two Grammy Awards
George Michael has received two Grammy Awards over the years. He earned his first one in 1987 for Best R&B Performance, and he got his second one in 1988 for Album of the Year (for Faith).
Number Fourteen: He Has Been Arrested Five Times
Michael has been arrested five times! He was arrested four times for possession of marijuana, and one last time he was arrested for public indecency.
Number Thirteen: He Was Sued Over a Music Video
Policeman Marcelo Rodriguez attempted to sue Michael for $10 million after Michael released his music video for “Outside.” The video was released in 1999, and Rodriguez was suing because he felt he was being portrayed in an unfavorable light. However, he was not successfully able to sue Michael.
Number Twelve: He Claimed to Smoke 25 Spliffs a Day
In a 2009 interview with The Guardian, Michael claimed that he smoked 25 marijuana cigarettes, or spliffs, in a single day. That’s a lot of weed.
Number Eleven: He Won 32,000 Pounds on a Game Show
Michael was on the show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire in 2003, and he was playing with partner Ronan Keating. Together, the duo won 32,000 pounds and donated all of it to charity.
Number Ten: He Served Community Service
Michael was forced to serve 80 hours of community service after being charged with a public sex act in 1998. And that’s not the only community service he did! He had to perform 100 more hours in 2007 for driving under the influence.
Number Nine: He Was Paid to Play for Vladimir Putin
You might know that Putin has some ridiculous antics up his sleeve, but have you heard about this? Putin allegedly paid 1.6 million pounds to have Michael play for him and 300 of his guests on New Year’s Eve of 2006.
Number Eight: He Was Part of the First Western Pop Group to Tour in China
In 1985, Wham!, to which Michael belonged, toured in China, and they were the first Western pop group to do so. There was even a film made documenting the tour called Foreign Skies: Wham! In China.
Number Seven: He Is Left-Handed
It’s true! Michael is part of the 10 percent of the population that is left-handed.
Number Six: George Michael Has Given His Voice as a Gift
Michael is clearly gifted, but he’s also quite giving around the holidays. As a wedding gift for Prince William and Kate Middleton, Michael covered Stevie Wonder’s “You and I.” The version Michael performed was released in 2011.
Number Five: He Has Survived a Fall Out of a Moving Car
While in a car going down England’s M1 motorway, Michael somehow fell out of it while it was moving. He was promptly airlifted to the hospital and survived the accident.
Number Four: He Has a Crush on Justin Timberlake
Well, sort of. Michael allegedly admitted that he invited Justin Timberlake to join him in recreating the iconic Madonna/Britney kiss. However, he reportedly said that Timberlake has yet to call him back.
Number Three: Some Radio Stations Still Refuse to Play “I Want Your Sex”
It’s true! Despite the status of the song being iconic, some stations still refused to play it because of its blatantly sexually explicit content.
Number Two: He Is a Cancer
Astrologically speaking, of course. Michael’s sign in the Chinese horoscope is a rabbit.
Number One: There Are More Than 400 Covers of “Last Christmas”