Thank You for the Music George Michael
I have loved the music and the voice of George Michael ever since I first heard the song “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” on the radio in 1984 when he was with Andrew Ridgeley in Wham! With all honesty, I can say that “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” saved my life. Specifically, it prevented me from taking my own life.
When I heard Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go! on the radio, the song instantly made me happy and made me forget about my home life. And when I saw the video, I was in love with the infectious energy of George, Andrew, Pepsi, Shirlie, and all of the backup singers and band members. They looked like they were having such a carefree time which was the polar opposite of what my life was like living with the family that adopted me.
In my world at the time, I would literally dream about the ways to end my suffering and abuse. I had this dream and feelings from the time that I was 8 until I heard this song in 1984 when I was 14 years old.
As I have outlined in my posts about my birth mother and my birth father, I suffered abuse while living with my birth mother until I was removed from her home. I was adopted by the family that babysat for my birth mother after they continuously saw the signs of abuse on my body.
The sexual abuse by several members of my adopted family started when I was six years old and ended when I moved to Atlanta to go to college following my high school graduation. Throughout all of my young life, music was my lifeline and still is to this day. I love all types of music. Everything from classic all the way to heavy metal and everything in between. Music has always given me a sense of peace.
You Have Been Loved
George's voice and his songs have always made me feel loved. I don't know how else to explain it. Listening to his music gave me an overwhelming feeling of love. No one in my family had ever told me they loved me. I had lots of friends in town and knew that they liked me, but I never felt love until George Michael's music.
After listening to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, I purchased the album it was on – Make It Big – and Wham!'s first album – Fantastic. I was in heaven listening to the music of Wham! and even more so when watching their videos on MTV. Literally, nothing could harm me when I focused on their music while my brother, cousins, father, and mother by adoption took my innocence and childhood away from me. I focused on George's voice and how happy everyone seemed to be in the music videos.
Over the years, I purchased most if not all of his music and videos and a few books. Now that I write this, I don't even want to think of the money spent on purchasing albums, then cassette tapes, then CDs, then iTunes. However, it was money well spent.
I was fortunate to see George in concert in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and London thanks to my husband and his support of me and knowing what George Michael's music means to me. Below are a few of the photos I took of myself at his concerts.
George Michael 25 Live Concert at MGM Grand in Las Vegas | June 21, 2008
Praying for Time
On June 25th of this year, I was able to have a sense of peace with the passing of George Michael at his unofficial tribute – Cowboys & Angels at Brixton Academy in England. I will never forget Christmas day of 2016 when we heard the horrible news of his death. I was literally devastated. However, it was early evening in Atlanta when I heard the news. I had friends from all over the world sending me their condolences as I made no secret of my love for George Michael throughout the years. But on that Christmas day, I had to collect myself so that I could get through Christmas dinner with my family and friends. It was a difficult feat to accomplish but I didn't want to spoil Christmas for my children. How do you deal with the death of someone that gave you life?
George Michael's family, friends, and fans will always miss his beautiful soul being on this earth.
Cowboys & Angels – An Evening Celebrating the Life and Music of George Michael
In 2018, singer and producer, Shirley Lewis, along with George Michael's backup singers and band (the GM Singers and the 25 Live Band) joined together and dedicated a Facebook page to the musical legacy and artistry of the Late George Michael. The GM Singers and the 25 Live Band now call themselves “Cowboys & Angels” as is the name of their Facebook page. The singers and the band members worked and toured with George Michael on several of his tours, the final tour being the Symphonica Tour in 2011-2012.
On the 25th of June 2019 (what would have been George Michael’s 56th birthday), Cowboys & Angels held their inaugural show performing George Michael's songs from when he was a solo artist and a few of the songs from when he was with Wham! The show was held at the Brixton O2 Academy in England and it sold out quickly. A portion of the concert proceeds went to the Childline Charitable Foundation in honor of George Michael.
The opening act was White Eskimo, a British pop-funk band managed by Shirley Lewis. I hadn't heard of them before, but I enjoyed their music and will look out for their next album.
The concert was magical. You could literally feel the love for George Michael radiating in the arena from the band members, singers, and the entire audience. I must admit, I shed a few tears when a few of my most favorite songs were performed. I named my website “Simply Amazing Living” after George's song “Amazing” which is definitely one of my favorite songs written by him. Honestly, I have never heard a George Michael song that I didn't like. I like some songs more than others, but there is not one song that I would turn off on the radio or skip to the next song if I were playing one of his albums.
It is important to note that the Cowboys & Angels concert is not an official event and is not in connection with George Michael's estate. However, George Michael's sisters gave their approval for the band to hold the event.
Cowboys & Angels band members:
Michael Brown, Chris Cameron, Steve Walters, Jo Garland, Jay Henry, Lincoln Jean-Marie, Katie Kissoon, Dee Lewis, Shirley Lewis, Lea Mullen, Trevor Murrell, Phil Palmer, Luke Smith, and Andy Hamilton
The setlist of songs at the concert:
- Gospel Opening (acapella)
- Father Figure
- Praying for Time
- Fast Love
- Everything She Wants
- Star People
- Edge of Heaven
- You Have Been Loved
- Jesus to a Child
- Different Corner
- One More Try
- Kissing a Fool
- Spinning the Wheel
- Cowboys and Angels
- Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
- Freedom (original)
- I'm Your Man
- Careless Whisper
- Happy Birthday (honoring George Michael's birthday)
- Freedom '90
Heal the Pain
My friend Robin Victorio Pacson and I were interviewed by the film crew at the Cowboys & Angels concert. They were interviewing fans that came the farthest to attend the concert. Robin flew in from Hawaii and I flew in from Atlanta, GA. There was also someone that flew in from New Zealand. George Michael fans are definitely loyal!
Thank you to Shirley Lewis and everyone involved with putting the Cowboys & Angels concert together. I am extremely thankful that I was able to express my feelings on camera on how George Michael's music saved my life. It was lovely spending time with all of the George Michael fans and listening to his friends and former band members perform his songs. It definitely helped to heal some of our pain from losing George Michael so soon. I'll definitely be on the lookout for tickets to the next Cowboys & Angels concert!
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