The World of George Michael
by Jim Allen | March 21, 2014
As his new career-spanning live album Symphonia makes plain, George Michael has come a long way since his teen-idol days with '80s hitmakers Wham! In the three decades since he became a household name by prancing around in shorts singing perky pop confections, the Greek-British superstar born Georgios Panayiotou evolved from pinup boy to something like the British equivalent of Prince and eventually to cool, classy crooner. Along the way, Michael has collaborated with an astonishingly broad array of icons including Queen, Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, Mary J. Blige and Luciano Pavarotti, to name but a few. Here's a handy primer putting the highlights of the silken-toned singer/songwriter's sonic journey together in one sweet spot.