Music lovers around the world paused their holiday celebrations when news that pop icon and former Wham frontman, George Michael had passed away.
According to the BBC, a press release was issued that stated that the 53-year-old British singer-songwriter “passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.” Although no cause has been announced, the release also notes that there are no “suspicious circumstances” and that the family request privacy at this time.
Michael was known for fun-loving songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” recorded with Wham! and a number of hit songs recorded as a solo artist. Country music fans might best know George as the songwriter behind the tune “Last Christmas.” Carrie Underwood covered the holiday classic in 2005 for “Christmas In Washington,” and Taylor Swift recorded it for her 2007 holiday project, “Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection.”
In 2008, Carrie tapped into George’s vast catalog with a cover of his musical commentary on a suffering society, “Praying for Time.” Carrie performed the song during 2008’s edition of “Idol Gives Back.”
It turns out that Carrie counts George Michael a huge influence in her career. In a 2009 interview with CBS News, Carrie said that George’s voice was “the first voice I could ever pick out.” She says, “I remember singing everything that he did with Wham and by himself when I was very, very young. I knew all the worlds and still do. He was my biggest musical influence.” The Oklahoma country girl proved that during a segment of Carpool Karaoke with James Corden in 2015 as the pair wailed out “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” down to every vocal run.
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I never told him (mainly because I thought I'd freak him out) but #georgemichael has always been such an influence on me. As a child, his was the first voice I could pick out of the sea of voices I heard on the radio. Before I knew anything about him, I knew his voice. As an adult, I cried when I saw him in concert. His songs and his voice helped to teach me how to sing. I will forever regret not letting him know…Thank you, George, for giving the world your gifts…may you rest in peace.
Our thoughts are with the family of George Michael during this difficult time.