When the late pop icon George Michael, who died of heart failure over the Christmas holiday, shot to superstar status in the 1990s at the age of 21, he felt the pressure of stardom weighing heavily on his shoulders, and it was almost too much, according to a Los Angeles Times feature about the singer.
Michael's comments — "I'm ... sure that most people find it hard to believe that stardom can make you miserable" — quickly drew the attention of the Chairman of the Board himself, Frank Sinatra, who tried to call it quits in 1971, but inevitably failed.
Following the publication of the profile of the "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" singer, Sinatra encouraged Michael to "loosen up" and "swing."
"Come on George, 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," Ol' Blue Eyes wrote.
Sinatra, likely an extrovert, seemed so thrown by the Wham! star's introverted reflection on his celebrity that he scolded Michael, who had been striving for fame since he was seven years old, for being reluctant to embrace the limelight.
"No more of that talk about the ‘tragedy of fame,'" Sinatra wrote. "The tragedy of fame is when no one shows up and you’re singing to the cleaning lady in some empty joint that hasn’t seen a paying customer since Saint Swithin’s day."
"And you're nowhere near that; you're top dog on the top rung of a tall ladder called Stardom, which in latin means thanks-to-the-fans who were there when it was lonely," he added.
Read the rest of the letter:
Frank Sinatra's letter to George Michael https://t.co/LXDpjiXqdD— Catherine Rampell (@Catherine Rampell) 1482766754.0