Remembering George Michael: Lisa Stansfield Shares Memories of Singing With Him at Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

The first time that I properly met George was when we sang together at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness [at Wembley Stadium in London in 1992]. We’d had the same manager, and I’d said hello to him, but we’d never really sat down and talked before then. It was an unbelievable event. I remember I was in the middle of this rehearsal room with 100 really famous people all around me.

I had no makeup on and I was eating a bacon muffin. George was practicing “Somebody to Love” and he kept on looking at me. I remember thinking, “Am I putting him off?” When I got up to sing “These Are the Days of Our Lives” with him, he said, “How can you eat a full bacon sandwich and then sing like that? I’m so jealous.” It really sticks out as it was the first thing he ever said to me. I had a really good laugh with him.

He was very candid about his own life. A lot of people paint this picture of him as being very precious and, true, he was a very private person, but he was also a really lovely guy. You didn’t feel that there was any malice in him. He got on with his life and tried to do his best. He had demons, but don’t we all?

His music and influence will live on for years and years. When he came out of the closet he helped a lot of other people to think, “F— it. I’m going to do it as well.” He was quite revolutionary in that sense. It gave liberation to so many gay men and women. The world is a better place for him.

This article originally appeared in the Jan. 14 issue of Billboard.

Gay Pride Month 2017