Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016), known professionally as George Michael, was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as a member (with Andrew Ridgeley) of the music duo Wham!.
During the time of Margaret Thatcher as the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom throughout the 1980s, Michael voted Labour.
Michael wrote "Shoot the Dog", a song critical about the friendly relationship between the British and American governments, in particular Tony Blair and George W. Bush, with their involvement in the Iraq War. Michael voiced his concern about the lack of public consultation in the UK regarding the War on Terror: "On an issue as enormous as the possible bombing of Iraq, how can you represent us when you haven't asked us what we think?"
During 2000, Michael joined Melissa Etheridge, Garth Brooks, Queen Latifah, the Pet Shop Boys, and k.d. lang, to perform in Washington, D.C. as part of 'Equality Rocks' – a concert to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.
In 2007, the £1.45 million piano that John Lennon used to write "Imagine" was sent by Michael around the US on a "peace tour", having it on display at places where violence had taken place, such as Dallas' Dealey Plaza, where US President John. F. Kennedy was shot.
He devoted his 2007 concert in Sofia, Bulgaria, from his "Twenty Five Tour" to the Bulgarian nurses prosecuted in the HIV trial in Libya. On 17 June 2008, Michael said he was thrilled by California's legalisation of same-sex marriage, calling the move "way overdue".
In November 1984, Michael joined other British and Irish pop stars of the era and formed Band Aid, singing on the charity song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" for famine relief in Ethiopia. This single became the UK Christmas number one in December 1984, holding Michael's own song, "Last Christmas" by Wham!, at No. 2. "Do They Know It's Christmas?" sold 3.75 million copies in the UK and became the biggest selling single in UK Chart history, a title it held until 1997 when it was overtaken by Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997", released in tribute to Princess Diana following her death (Michael would attend Diana's funeral with Elton John). Michael donated the royalties from "Last Christmas" to Band Aid and subsequently sang with Elton John at Live Aid (the Band Aid charity concert) in 1985.
In 1988, George Michael took part in the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute at Wembley Stadium in London together with many other singers (such as Annie Lennox and Sting), performing "Sexual Healing".
The proceeds from the single "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" were divided among 10 different charities for children, AIDS and education. Michael was also a patron of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.
In 2003, he paired up with Ronan Keating on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and won £32,000, after having their original £64,000 winnings halved by missing the £125,000 question. The same year, Michael joined other celebrities to support a campaign to help raise £20 million for terminally ill children run by the Rainbow Trust charity of which he was a patron. He was quoted as saying "Loss is such an incredibly difficult thing. I bow down to people who actually have to deal with the loss of a child".