5 reasons why George Michael’s induction to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is long, long overdue

George Michael (1963-2016) pictured wearing a leather jacket with BSA logo backstage during the Japanese/Australasian leg of his Faith World Tour.

George Michael was considered a legend long before his passing. From breaking records to refusing to be gay-shamed, here are five reasons why his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is well overdue.

George Michael was today announced as one of the newest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but to countless fans the “Careless Whisper” singer has always been a legend.

After recent documentaries exposed his brutal treatment at the hands of the British – and global – media, here are five reasons why the singer should have been awarded a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a long, long time ago.

1. George Michael is one of the best selling musicians of all time

The numbers just don’t lie. George Michael is one of the best selling musicians of all time, with his total sales estimated at between 100 and 125 million records worldwide – at the time of his death, in 2016.

Accolades-wise Michael achieved seven number-one songs on the UK Singles Chart and eight number-one songs on the US Billboard Hot 100.

He also snatched two Grammys, three Brits, three AMAs, 12 BBMAs and four VMAs – what, like it’s hard?

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His band, Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” reached number one in over 20 countries, and his debut solo album Faith sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Like we said – the numbers don’t lie

George Michael performs on stage on his 'Faith' tour, at Earls Court Arena on June 15th, 1988.
George Michael performs on stage on his ‘Faith’ tour, at Earls Court Arena on June 15th, 1988. (Pete Still/Redferns)

2. George Michael simply refused to be gay-shamed

For much of his career, George Michael was hounded by the press over questions of his HIV status and sexuality at a time when the wider world was not particularly accepting of either HIV-positive people, or gay ones.

Outrunning the press as they fought to reveal his sexuality, George appeared on CNN in 1998 to tell the world that he was a gay man, that he was proud and that he would never allow himself to be humiliated for it.

“I don’t feel any shame whatsoever,”  he said unapologetically. “And neither do I think I should.”

It was a beacon to his countless queer fans that life was going to be OK – and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has always honoured trailblazers.

3. The cruising incident – and the ‘Outside’ music video

Prior to his CNN appearance, Michael was arrested for “engaging in a lewd public act” in a sting operation in Beverly Hills California.

In an MTV interview, Michael stated: “I got followed into the restroom and then this cop – I didn’t know it was a cop, obviously – he started playing this game, which I think is called, ‘I’ll show you mine, you show me yours, and then when you show me yours, I’m going to nick you!'”

After being sentenced to 80 hours of community service and being fined, Michael released the music video for “Outside” – which featured policeman brandishing their batons, urinals covered in disco tiles and multiple people performing sexual acts in public.

Stick it to the man – quite literally.

4. Michael’s performances were legendary

It goes without saying that an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame should be able to put on a show – and Michael was a pro.

Performing everywhere from Live Aid in 1985, to Wembley Stadium, to London’s 2012 Olympics closing ceremony; George Michael’s performances were, in a word, sexy.

His huge catalogue of hits enabled him to get an entire stadium on their feet, commanding them masterfully. The true definition of a rockstar.

5. Michael was an campaigner for HIV/AIDS in the 80s and 90s

Michael’s partner, Anselmo Feleppa, was diagnosed with HIV before passing away in 1993 of complications relating to AIDS.

For much of his career, Michael campaigned for LGBTQ+ rights and against HIV stigma – the proceeds from the 1991 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.

If it were up to us, however, Michael would have been added to the Hall of Fame by virtue of this tweet and this tweet alone:

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