George Michael to be inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

It’s the first year the late British musician has been eligible. According to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame rules, artists must have released their first record 25 years prior.

Michael was the most-played artist on British radio between 1984 and 2004, the organization said.

“George Michael possessed extraordinary talent as a songwriter, vocalist, and producer,” the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame said in announcing Michael as an inductee.

Michael formed the pop duo Wham! with schoolmate Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. They achieved teen idol status with the hits “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and the timeless holiday megahit “Last Christmas.”

Michael’s foray into the solo spotlight with the introspective hits “Careless Whisper” and “A Different Corner” eventually spelled the end of Wham! in 1986.

Michael went on to release his debut solo album “Faith” in 1987.

“With well-crafted hooks, mature lyrics, and funk and Motown influences, ‘Faith’ was a Number One smash boasting four hit singles, including the title track and ‘Father Figure’,” hall of fame organizers said. “Echoes can be heard in the impassioned vocals and personal lyrics of artists from Adele to Lady Gaga to Mary J. Blige.”

 

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame called George Michael’s “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1” a “masterpiece” that “alludes to Michael’s struggle as a closeted gay man during the height of the AIDS epidemic.

“However, after coming out in 1998, Michael refused to shy away from honesty again,” the group said, “paving the way for a generation of proud LGBTQIA+ artists, from Sam Smith to Lil Nas X to Troye Sivan.”

Michael died in 2016 of heart and liver disease. He was 53.

Other artists who will be inducted this year who hadn’t been nominated before include Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliot, Willie Nelson, and Rage Against the Machine.

The Spinners, who had been nominated in previous years, also will be inducted.

George Michael won the fan vote ahead of the official announcement of inductees with more than 1 million votes. Cyndi Lauper came in second with 928,113.

The 38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Nov. 3 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.