George, woke up China to pop music before he went-went
By Li Kun

2016-12-27 12:26 GMT+8

8186km to Beijing

By Wang Su  
George Michael, the former front man of British band Wham!, died at 53 on December 25, 2016. To numerous music lovers around the world, Last Christmas is not only one of the biggest hits of the band but also a must-have on their Christmas playlist. Although the song is covered by many artists, the original version by Wham! remains the essential version to many. 
Fans mourn for George Michael in Oxfordshire, Britain on Dec.26, 2017./ CFP Photo 
George Michael was undoubtedly a rare talent – he wrote Carless Whisper, a No.1 Billboard hit in 1985, at the age of 17. His death is a huge loss to his fans worldwide and to the international music industry. He is also remembered by Chinese music fans as one of the first Western pop music artists to visit China. 
Wham! toured China and held concerts in Beijing and Guangzhou in 1985. The band’s performance gave the Chinese audience a brand new experience – the interaction and the groove to make their bodies move and their feet tap. As the first major Western band to hold live shows in China, they even had the honor of being welcomed by the then vice minister of culture of China. To a certain extent, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, his partner in Wham!, witnessed China’s opening up to foreign investment and Western culture. 
George Michael makes a performance on the stage (file photo)./ CFP Photo 
The music of Wham! is also an inspiration to Chinese musicians. Dou Wei, the Chinese rock megastar, covered Wham! in bars in the early stage of his career. It is said that he got the role of lead singer of Black Panther, one of China’s legendary rock bands, because his covers of Wham! impressed Li Tong, the guitarist of the band. Dou Wei is now an artist best known for his experimentation with alternative music. To him and other respected Chinese artists, Wham! remains a symbol of that era. 
2016 is the last Christmas for George Michael; however, he and his music will be remembered for many Christmases to come by people around the globe. After we lost Prince, Bowie and Cohen, 2016 is about to end, finally.   
Wang Su, Senior Associate of Heyi Group 
(The article reflects the author's opinion, not necessarily view of CCTVNEWS)