Why George Michael Didn’t Replace Freddie Mercury On Queen

Why George Michael Didn’t Replace Freddie Mercury On Queen

In 1992, George Michael left everyone speechless with his portrayal of Somebody to Love with Queen during the 1992 Wembley tribute to Freddie Mercury. Then rumors circulated about his possible incorporation to the British band. However, that never happened and no one knew why.

In a recent interview, the drummer Roger Taylor explained why it was impossible for them think of Michael as his new traveling companion and denied that the singer who died in 2016 had turned down the opportunity to become the new leader of the band after the death of Freddie Mercury.

When Michael performed three songs in a big way during the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium, everyone speculated that he would become the band’s new vocalist.

George Michael and Queen at Wembley Stadium in 1992. It was attended by more than 72,000 spectators. PHOTO: CLARIN ARCHIVE

But Taylor says Michael was never offered the job, because it would not have been a suitable fit for the group as a long-term replacement. “I remember hearing the rumors, but we would not have liked it,” he said in statements to Classic Rock.

George wasn’t really used to working with a live band. When he heard the power behind him in rehearsal, he couldn’t believe it. He thought he was on the Concorde or something like that ”, confided the drummer.

Between 2004 and 2009, Queen had Paul Rodgers as vocalistby Bad Company. Later, in 2011, the group replaced him with Adam Lambert, a singer emerged from the reality show American Idol, which is still his current voice.

George Michael, along with Freddie Mercury.  PHOTO: CLARIN ARCHIVE

George Michael, along with Freddie Mercury. PHOTO: CLARIN ARCHIVE

The concert tribute to Freddie Mercury for the knowledge of AIDS (the original title in English was The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness) was held at Wembley Stadium, London, on April 20, 1992, five months after the death of Freddie Mercury.

It was witnessed by more than 72 thousand viewers, and it was broadcast live on radio and television for 76 countries. Some 500 million people saw or heard it, and the collection was 20 million pounds (about 28 million dollars at the current exchange rate).

The objective of the event, apart from honoring Mercury, was raise public awareness about the existence of AIDS, a disease that was just beginning to emerge, and raise funds for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, the foundation created by the members of Queen after Mercury’s death.

George Michael during the Freddie Mercury tribute at Wembley.  PHOTO: CLARIN ARCHIVE

George Michael during the Freddie Mercury tribute at Wembley. PHOTO: CLARIN ARCHIVE

The concert brought together a selection of rock and pop stars. Metallica, Guns N ‘Roses, Extreme, David Bowie, Elton John, Def Leppard, Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, Seal, Roger Daltrey, Robert Plant, Bob Geldof, Tony Iommi, Zucchero Fornaciari, Lisa Stansfield, Liza Minnelli, Annie Lennox participated , Spinal Tap, Paul Young, and Chris Thompson.

But George Michael was the most prominent. He performed three songs: ’39, which used to be one of the most requested by the public at Queen concerts; These Are the Days of Our Lives with Lisa Stansfield; and Somebody to Love accompanied by a gospel choir.

That last one was the one that most impacted the public and the members of Queen themselves. Michael not only was up to the task in the interpretation, but he showed great harmony with the public, who gave him the opportunity to sing “love” in that part of the song, just as Mercury did in life.

Brian May and Roger Taylor.  Photo AP

Brian May and Roger Taylor. Photo AP

It was then thought that the former leader of Wham! would take the place of singer of Queen. But none of that happened. In 1995, Queen managed to complete the album Made in Heaven, with the voices recorded by Mercury in his last year of life. Sand became the most sold by the group in its history.

In 1997, Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon met again in a studio to record what to this day is the final theme of Queen, No-One But You (Only The Good Die Young).

At the end of 2004, May and Taylor announced that they would go on tour again in 2005 with Paul Rodgers, founding singer of the bands Free and Bad Company, under the name Queen + Paul Rodgers. Bassist John Deacon declined to participate and was replaced by bassist Danny Miranda of Blue Öyster Cult.

Then Lambert replaced Rodgers. And on December 25, 2016, at age 53, George Michael turned up dead at his residence in Goring-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire, England. In that way, the possibility that everyone, except the members of Queen, once dreamed of was definitely closed: seeing him in front of the legendary band.


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Why George Michael Didn’t Replace Freddie Mercury On Queen