Frank Sinatra’s 1990 letter about George Michael tells ‘reluctant pop star’ to ‘loosen up’
Frank Sinatra had some harsh advice for a young George Michael in 1990 as the pop star was shying away from his place in the Hollywood limelight: stop complaining!
Following a cover story in The Los Angeles Times in which Michael discussed his abhorrence to fame, Sinatra wrote an open letter to the publication, urging the Wham! star to accept his popularity.
“When I saw your Calendar cover today about George Michael, ‘the reluctant pop star,’ my first reaction was he should thank the good Lord every morning when he wakes up to have all that he has,” Sinatra wrote. “And that’ll make two of us thanking God every morning for all that we have.”
The Los Angeles Times cover came as Michael refused to make music videos for his songs, despite MTV’s growing prominence.
“I’m not stupid enough to think that I can deal with another 10 or 15 years of major exposure. I think that is the ultimate tragedy of fame… People who are simply out of control, who are lost. I’ve seen so many of them, and I don’t want to be another cliché,” Michael said to the publication during the 1990 interview, ominously foreshadowing his eventual, tragic fate.
“I’m sure a lot of people are going to believe all this is just some sort of gimmick…just another way to stir interest. But I’m also sure that most people find it hard to believe that stardom can make you miserable. 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.”
Sinatra, who performed 65 concerts in 1990, looked at Michael’s struggle with the spotlight with very little sympathy.
“I don’t understand a guy who lives ‘in hope of reducing the strain of his celebrity status.’ Here’s a kid who ‘wanted to be a pop star since I was about 7 years old.’ And now that he’s a smash performer and songwriter at 27 he wants to quit doing what tons of gifted youngsters all over the world would shoot grandma for — just one crack at what he’s complaining about,” he wrote.
“Come on, George” Ol’ Blue Eyes continued “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.”
Sinatra’s staunch advice to the “Faith” singer came nearly eight years before Michael publicly came out as gay in April 1998, just after being arrested in a Beverly Hills park for “engaging in a lewd act.”
Michael later admitted that he felt “fraudulent” for hiding his homosexuality.
Sinatra, however, had no interest in any type of excuse as to why Michael tried to stay out of the public eye.
Following his arrest in 1998, Michael found himself continuously shrouded in scandal — despite his efforts to keep a low profile.
Michael managed to lay low in recent years, communicating with fans only through Twitter to insist he was “perfectly fine” despite rumors.
However, just two days before Michael’s death, record producer Nile Rodgers visited the singer’s North London home to film a documentary on the iconic star’s life, titled Freedom, which is due to air in March 2017.
The pop star had even announced earlier in December that he was beginning to record a new album, to be released next year.
Sadly, Michael passed away at the age of 53 — right in the midst of an attempted comeback.