George Michael was the king of pop and then became his own shadow. Back in fashion today

“He could do great things with his voice, very soulful, gospel-like, but he could also do very modern pop music with a bit of a breather,” he says. GQ rock singer Adam Lambert: “It’s really a sound in its own right. I think he influenced a lot of people (in that style), including me.”

Since Michael’s disappearance, singers from all genres, from country diva Carrie Underwood to R&B superstar Usher to Tiktok-savvy hitmaker Charlie Puth, have admitted to being influenced by him. “George was rock and roll, he was pop, he sang, he was all of that,” says Rob Thomas. “I think some of them have no idea that they are under his influence.”

In 1998, a few months after The arrest that forced him outside, Michael explained in an interview with David Letterman, “I was followed into the bathroom by a man over six feet tall, quite attractive … not Lieutenant Columbo,” he said with a smile. , describing the undercover cop who arrested him. It’s called “luring” … He played the game “I’ll show you mine, you show me yours, and then I’ll take you to the police.”

The impact on his career was immediate. British tabloid Sun he had a field day when he released Zip Me Before You Go, a nine-page issue about the fatal error.

Songwriter/producer Babyface was in the studio with Michael just days before his arrest, recording his duet with Mary J. Blige on a Stevie Wonder song. How. “He had to carry a heavy cross in a world that didn’t accept gay people,” he says. GQ. “I was nothing more than a fan of his, not only as an artist, musician, producer, writer, but also as a person who lived his life the way he knew how … You can only imagine how much was on his shoulders. while. moment”. After the scandal How it was never released as a single in America.

Lambert was only 16 when he heard the news of Michael’s arrest. GQ, “but I knew I was gay.” He recalls how his peers spoke about what happened: “Suddenly, especially in a school environment, what happened to him became a joke for people.” This reaction made his stomach ache: “I thought, ‘God, is this really what people are for? Joke?”

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