Life is a mystery, and no one knows the day or time they will die. As people around the world prepare for New Year’s Eve celebrations and say goodbye to 2016, there is a dark cloud of death that looms over the year’s final moments. On Dec. 25, Wham singer George Michael died. His death punctuates a year where many notable singers passed away, suddenly and without warning. The public was not prepared or forewarned that George Michael was nearing death, nor was there warning before David Bowie and Prince died. It wasn’t like these were elderly performers who had lived long lives, written their final memoirs and had retired from the industry. Each had a huge fan base consisting of loyal and devoted followers who felt the loss deeply. To put it bluntly, each death was shocking. Many people have expressed the sentiment that 2016 has been a terrible year because many notable singers and celebrities died.
Several videos are circulating this morning showing how each of our lives connect in ways we don’t see.
Live Aid was one of several charity concerts organized by Bob Geldof, lead singer of the Boomtown Rats. Widely known for his charity work and activism, Geldof co-wrote the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” with Midge Ure as a way to raise money for African causes and to combat poverty. Those who recorded the song “Do They Know It’s Christmas” did so under the group name Band Aid in 1984. George Michael and David Bowie were both members of Band Aid, and Bowie was supposed to be at the original recording session but couldn’t make it. George Michael is clearly seen in the original video along with other singers such as Boy George, Sting, and Bono from U2. You may see the video from 1984 for “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid in the video below.
On July 13, 1985, following the release of Band Aid’s charity song “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” according to History. Geldof organized the first benefit concert for African famine relief: History. Geldof organized the first benefit concert for African famine relief: Live Aid. As David Bowie missed the original performance, he did participate in Live Aid and performed “Do They Know it’s Christmas.” Other singers who performed at Live Aid included Queen with Freddie Mercury, David Bowie and Elton John who performed “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” with Wham members George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Elton John introduced George Michael as his good friend, and Elton John wrote a tribute to George Michael on his social media since news of his death has spread. You may read more about Elton John’s tribute to George Michael here. You may see the 1985 video of Elton John and George Michael performing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at Live Aid below.
At the benefit concert’s conclusion, the group Band Aid took to the stage to perform “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” David Bowie would finally sing the song live, and in the video featured below, you can watch as David Bowie moves over to George Michael and urges him to move to the front. Many now find it ironic that both men died in 2016, and that George Michael died on Christmas day.
You may watch the full, 1985 Live Aid concert in the video playlist below. Live Aid raised over $100 million for African famine relief.
Freddie Mercury and Queen performed at Live Aid, but Mercury died in 1991 at only 45-years-old. Watch the video above to see Freddie Mercury and Queen’s Live Aid performance.
In 1992, many singers gathered for a tribute concert for Freddie Mercury to bring awareness to AIDS. The concert is titled “The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness,” and David Bowie and George Michael were several of the performers who performed with Queen. David Bowie and Queen performed the songs “Under Pressure” (with Annie Lennox), “All the Young Dudes” (with Ian Hunter, Mick Ronson, Phil Collen and Joe Elliot), “Heroes” (with Mick Ronson) and the Lord’s Prayer.
George Michael also performed with Queen for the songs “39”, “These Are the Days of Our Lives” (with Lisa Stansfield) and “Somebody to Love.” You may see a playlist below including popular videos from the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for Aids Awareness below.
In addition to videos from Band Aid and Live Aid, several other videos are highlighting the mysterious life and death connection between David Bowie and George Michael. During rehearsals, both George Michael and David Bowie stood off to the side and watched the other perform. The person who filmed the rehearsals made a note to focus on both singers with their cameras, never realizing that 24 years later, both would die the same year. You may see both videos from the Freddie Mercury Tribute rehearsals below, as well as watch the video in the player above. David Bowie watched as George Michael rehearsed “Somebody to Love,” and George Michael watched as David Bowie rehearsed “Under Pressure” with Annie Lennox.
George Michael died on Dec. 25, 2016; he was 53-years-old. David Bowie died on Jan. 10, 2016; he was 69-years-old.
[Featured Image by Gill Allen/AP Photo]