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Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Album Cover Copyright: Columbia Records

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.

Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

What my bedroom wall looked like as a teenager.

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.

Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

After the NetAid concert in London, England where George performed. L to R: Vince Fihosy, Autumn Murray, Kema Mordi | October 9, 1999

Thank you the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Before George Michael 25 Live Atlanta concert at Phillips Arena. L to R: Pangaja Paramsothy, Autumn Murray, Renee Graham, April Bell,  Zaneta Gaul | July 8, 2008

George Michael 25 Live Concert at MGM Grand in Las Vegas | June 21, 2008

Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Before the George Michael Symphonica Concert in London at Royal Albert Hall | September 29, 2012

Cowboys & Angels Concert Promotional Flyer

Cowboys N Angels Concert Promotional Flyer

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.  

Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Cowboys & Angels Official Logo

Thank youfor the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Photo credit: Ollie Millington | L to R: Katie Kissoon, Shirley Lewis, Lincoln Jean-Marie, Jay Henry, Dee Lewis Clay, Jo Garland

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:

              1. Gospel Opening (acapella)
              2. Father Figure
              3. Praying for Time
              4. Fast Love
              5. Everything She Wants
              6. Star People
              7. Outside
              8. Flawless
              9. Edge of Heaven
              10. You Have Been Loved
              11. Jesus to a Child
              12. Amazing
              13. Different Corner
              14. One More Try
              15. Kissing a Fool
              16. Spinning the Wheel
              17. Cowboys and Angels
              18. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
              19. Freedom (original)
              20. I'm Your Man
              21. Careless Whisper
              22. Faith
              23. Happy Birthday (honoring George Michael's birthday)
              24. Freedom '90
Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Photo credit: Ollie Millington | L to R: Katie Kissoon, Shirley Lewis, Lincoln Jean-Marie, Jay Henry, Dee Lewis Clay, Jo Garland

Thank you for the music George Michael! #GeorgeMichael #cowboysandangels

Photo credit: 02 Academy Brixton

Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Photo Credit: Shirley Lewis

Thank you for the music George Michael! Cowboys & Angels

Robin Victorio Pacson and Autumn Murray at the Cowboys & Angels Concert at Brixton 02 Academy in England

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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38 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Choose Love!                                             Article:   George Michael's Music Saved My Life […]

    Reply
  • […] the most over the years were putting on a concert rather than getting someone to fill in for him.  The Cowboys N Angels Concert was an amazing experience for me as I was able to celebrate George’s 56th birthday with his […]

    Reply
  • […] There hasn’t been an official tribute to George Michael since he died.  When I heard about the unofficial tribute concert that his former band members were organizing, I immediately bought my ticket for the concert and booked my flight to London. For me, I appreciated the fact that the people that worked with George the most over the years were putting on a concert rather than getting someone to fill in for him.  The Cowboys N Angels Concert was an amazing experience for me as I was able to celebrate George’s 56th birthday with his former band members and thousands of his fans. I sat down with Shirley Lewis and band members Dee Lewis, Lincoln Jean-Marie, and Trevor Murrell to take a look back at the concert and to also get an inside look at their relationship with their boss and friend – George Michael.  You can read my article covering the 2019 Cowboys N Angels Concert HERE.  […]

    Reply
  • Beautiful, moving piece! I loved me some GM too! If you don’t hear Freedom 90 and immediately get up and dance, that person must be dead inside!

    Reply
  • Renee Graham
    March 6, 2020 9:20 am

    As we endure hardships and the challenges of life, one never knows how their story will impact and help support others on similar paths. We have so many things in common and George’s music is one of them! I can’t imagine reminiscing, dancing and singing his tunes for hours with no one else other than you, I can say it a million times: “You are simply amazing, Autumn”! Thank you for this stellar story!
    I love you!

    Reply
  • Kim Paceley Zajac
    March 2, 2020 6:25 pm

    Autumn you are truly an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story. I love you!

    Reply
  • […] Thank You For The Music George Michael! […]

    Reply
  • What a touching story. It is always astonishing to hear how regular events changed someone’s life in such a huge way. I’ve always loved him too. Especially “Lets Go Outside”. Kim put that on the first mix tape she made me 🙂

    Reply
  • Wow – or should I say “Simply Amazing”? An amazing story, about an amazing journey, about an amazing influence. Beautiful, Autumn. When a musical artist passes, it’s with gratitude that we must remember how fortunate we are to have their music live on forever. Listening to notes and lyrics – taking us back in time to when they first reached deep within us to leave an permanent emotional imprint. I, too, loved so much of his music – “Waiting For That Day” was one of my absolute favorites… and the reprise on the album was so sad. After watching one of his documentaries, I learned of what a lonely life he led and only then recognized how much of his internal strife and heartache came through his songs. Artists understand the power of music and it’s clear what a powerful impact it has on your life. I’m so sorry for what you endured throughout the early part of your life – and although maybe not via music, you’re impacting the lives of others and leaving a your own permanent emotional imprint on theirs through what you share and what you do. Much love —-

    Reply
  • Tara Shannon
    March 1, 2020 8:44 pm

    Autumn this is a fabulous article! I am so glad His music saved your life!!
    Music definitely moved my soul as a youngster and still today! Wham was awesome and was hurt when they parted paths. However, when George started doing his thing it soothe that pain and crossed me over to his music forever. I will never forget when I went to Paris and heard music from him I hadn’t heard in the US. It was exciting and sad at the same time.
    Thanks for sharing your memories and pictures!

    Reply
    • Thank you, my friend! Music really does heal. I remember your trip to Paris but had no idea about you listening to George’s music when there! It is so sad that his music was so much more recognized overseas than it was in the USA. Love you to the moon and back. Thank you for your kind words and for knowing the real me.

      Reply
  • Jeffrey Graham
    March 1, 2020 7:16 pm

    Great article! Music can definitely heal the soul! My top two favorite songs are Amazing and Everything Sh Wants (MTV Unplugged). Good job!

    Reply
  • Autumn, I’m so glad that hearing Wham’s, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go! saved your life and that we’re friends today! I loved the sound of Wham and love the way George Michael grew into his own. One of favorites is “Freedom” when I gotta point to make!! And “Careless Whispers” when I’m singing alone (thankfully) in the car. Thanks for this sweet feature!

    Reply
    • Thank you Nadine! I love how George’s music evolved over the years. I am pretty sure he hated performing/singing the old Wham stuff, but I love all of his music. I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. Love you!

      Reply
  • Kim Paceley Zajac
    March 1, 2020 5:19 pm

    My dear friend, I hope you realize you are an inspiration to all who know and read you.
    In my book- you are right up there next to GM. ⭐️
    Thank you for sharing your story. It matters. I love you.

    Reply
  • Marie Southern
    March 1, 2020 2:04 pm

    This article moved me in such a special way. I too had a rough and tumble childhood and music always pulled me through the tough times. Being a metal head at a young age Wham was not on my radar until George Michael came out with the song Praying for time. I had such an emotional reaction and loved George Michael and his beautiful voice ever since. Thank you Autumn for such an amazing article and a beautiful tribute

    Reply
    • Thank you Marie! I love Praying for Time! It is still relevant to this day and what we are going through at the moment. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and your support! It means the world to me! #ChooseLove

      Reply
  • Susan Caiaccio
    March 1, 2020 1:34 pm

    Sometimes all it takes is one person…one band… that makes you forget!!

    I still listen to Freedom pretty much every day!!!

    Sometimes the clothes do not make the man ❣️

    Reply
  • Thank you so much for sharing such a deeply personal story. Music has a way of touching each of us and I am glad that the music of George Michael could provide such a positive touch on your life. I was a huge fan of Wham! back in the day as well. It had a way of transporting me to a happy place.

    Reply
  • Such a great article!! Thanks for sharing your story and experience! I loved growing up with his music and enjoy it just as much now! Such great memories!

    Reply
  • Tonya Freeman
    March 1, 2020 10:54 am

    This is a great article! Back down memory lane, I am sure that was tough, but the memories you have made! I know how much you loved George Michael. Music does help heal! Keep sharing.

    Tonya

    Reply
  • Richard Avery
    March 1, 2020 10:39 am

    What a wonderful tribute! His music played a big role in my life and his loss will always be felt by me

    Reply
  • George Michael’s music meant so much to us growing up in the 80’s! I have so many great memories of his songs and just heard I’m Your Man yesterday. I’ll be honest—I was totally jamming in the minivan!! Thankfully none of my kids were with me so I couldn’t embarrass them to death! 😂 In all seriousness, thanks for sharing this. I am so glad to hear Cowboys and Angels are working to carry on his legacy! Great post as always!!

    Reply
  • […] Way Foundation, spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at a private event at Northern Trust to raise awareness of sex trafficking a day after 40 people were arrested ahead of the Super Bowl game in Atlanta.  […]

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  • […] Choose Love!                                             Article:   George Michael’s Music Saved My Life […]

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