The late 2016 death of pop star George Michael came as not only a shock to music lovers worldwide, but also another low light for a year filled with the losses of some of the entertainment genre’s most memorable & game changing figures (see: David Bowie, Prince, etc.).
Now, to the pleasure of the ‘Faith’ singer’s fans, the Recording Academy has announced Michael and Prince are to be the recipients of a full on tribute to their groundbreaking and enduring achievements. And, while 2016 saw a number of unforgettable performances in homage of The Purple One, we at That Grape Juice are hoping the performers selected for Michael’s memorial are equally as talented and appropriate.
A multi-talented singer, songwriter, composer, and instrumentalist, George’s career spanned over 30 years and birthed a number of chart-topping hits with group Wham! (‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,’ ‘Careless Whisper’) before striking out solo (‘Faith,’ ‘Father Figure,’ ‘Freedom,’ etc.). The first white artist to top the R&B charts, Michael’s interpolation of jazz, gospel, and other rhythmic formats into his pop sound was by no means unheard of for the day, but it was definitely one of the more authentic attempts to do so among his counterparts.
As such, we’ve formatted a list of artists across all genres who we think would give him a Grammy tribute worthy of his legacy. Get into our list below and weigh in:
With a narrative similar to George’s (transition from top selling boy band to respected solo sex symbol), Timberlake is an obvious choice to tribute him. Add to this Timberlake’s affinity for weaving R&B into his brand of modern pop, we’d say he’d be a good pick to deliver songs like Michael’s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ (with an awesome female co-star) or ‘I Want Your Sex.’
Often compared to Timberlake for his heavy reliance on falsetto and affinity for more soulful sounds, Robin Thicke is another blue-eyedsoulster we’d love to hear put a spin on some of George’s signature songs – namely ‘Freedom.’
If you need proof of his abilities check out his impressive tribute to late pop icon Whitney Houston (seen above).
If the music gods would only grant us one wish it would be to hear Sam Smith sing ‘Careless Whisper.’ In reality, if you ask us, he should be the GO TO for this tribute. He is the most fitting pick.
A shock to many, pop diva Mariah Carey is a huge George Michael fan. Even citing the ‘Father Figure’ singer as one of her reasons for wanting to do James Corden‘s ‘Carpool Karaoke,’ the songstress has earned thumbs up in the past for covering Michael’s ‘One More Try’ for her ‘Elusive Chanteuse’ album (hear it above)
It would be great to see it rendered live.
John, a reported close friend of George’s, shared a memorable moment with the divo when they recorded a live remake of the 70’s hit ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down’ in the early 90’s. A touching tribute would see Elton sing the song in “duet” with a video of the late singer.
Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige has delivered inspiring tributes to the likes of Ray Charles (with Elton John) and Aretha Franklin over her storied career. How awesome would it be to hear her revisit her remake of Stevie Wonder‘s hit, ‘As,’ as seen above?
Tamia (‘Careless Whisper’) and Michael Buble (‘Kissing a Fool’) – both of whom have covered George over their critically acclaimed careers – are also two picks of ours. Let’s hope the Academy hears our plea and picks one of the 8 listed here.
Until we find out this Sunday, tell us: who would you like to hear tribute George Michael?