by Jeva Lange

Singer George Michael had "wanted to be a pop star since I was about 7 years old," but you have to be careful what you wish for. Michael rocketed to fame at 21 when Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" flew up the charts and he publicly balked at the cost of celebrity. "I'm ... sure that most people find it hard to believe that stardom can make you miserable," Michael told the Los Angeles Times in 1990, giving similar statements to several other publications. "After all, everybody wants to be a star. I certainly did, and I worked hard to get it. But I was miserable, and I don't want to feel that way again."

Frank Sinatra—who himself once tried to wave off fame—set Michael straight in a humbling letter. "Come on, George," Sinatra wrote. "Loosen up. Swing, man. Dust off those gossamer wings and fly yourself to the moon of your choice and be grateful to carry the baggage we've all had to carry since those lean nights of sleeping on buses and helping the driver unload the instruments."

Michael died at his home in Goring, England, on Christmas, at the age of 53.


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