George Michael named the two songwriters he ‘most respected’

The late George Michael left behind a tremendous legacy. Not only did he compose some of the most essential music of his generation, but he also backed it up with an unfailingly gregarious personality committed to making the world a better place.

Whether it be in Wham! or as a solo artist, Michael’s highlight reel is extensive. From 1980s pop anthems such as ‘Club Tropicana’ to moments of genuine artistic panache such as ‘Heal the Pain’, Michael’s creative arc was impressive, as with every release, he continued to refine his craft and assert why he was one of the finest musicians of his era.

One aspect of Michael’s life that was truly fascinating was that he was a genuine fan of great music. Although it might have been at odds with Michael’s position as a pop star, if it wasn’t already clear, he was not a typical star in the traditional mould. He blurred the lines between the familiar parameters of his standing with many other elements of life, whether it be genres of music or even his distinctive form of comedy, which kept fans locked in until the end.

From effusing about the work of Kurt Cobain and Nirvana to purchasing the personal piano of former Beatles leader John Lennon, Michael’s music taste was better than many would have given him credit for — and it was also something he was never afraid to discuss. Because of this, the singer provided a collection of engaging takes that offered more insight into the inner workings of one of Britain’s most cherished artists.

One of Michael’s most interesting admissions emerged when he was speaking to Capital FM in 1999. Discussing his latest solo album, Songs from the Last Century, which was comprised of only covers, at one point in the chat, concentration turned to The Police song ‘Roxanne’, which he covered on the record. Asked if the 1978 hit was a “special” song for him, Michael admitted that it wasn’t one of his favourites by frontman Sting before revealing that he deemed the former Police leader and U2’s Bono the two British writers he most respected. To clarify, Bono is Irish, so Michael made a faux pas. He meant two writers from the British Isles.

Michael said: “Well, to be honest, it’s not one of my favourite Sting songs. But in terms of the writers or people that have impressed me during my career, the two British writers that I most respect and wanted to acknowledge are Sting and Bono. I really think they’re two of the best writers during the time that my career has spanned.”

He continued: “So really it was a matter of, what Sting song can I do? And, to be honest, I really like to cover songs that, not that I think that could not necessarily be better, but that I don’t think were perfect in the first place. I’ve never really liked ‘Roxanne’ that much, but it’s a great song. I don’t like the original record that much.”

Listen to ‘Roxanne’ below.

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