Still feeling the strain following his hugely successful solo debut album three years previous, George Michael told the LA Times in September of 1990 that he would be shunning the limelight prior to, and during, the decidedly low-key release of his new album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1; specifically there were to be very few interviews, no promotional music videos, and no tour. Many fans were understandably displeased with his approach, but the reaction of one person in particular will forever stand out.
The text of the following letter, written by the Chairman of the Board, Frank Sinatra, appeared in the same magazine the next week.
Transcript of Letter:
September 9, 1990
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., And that’ll make two of us thanking God every morning for all that we have.
I don’t understand a guy who lives “in hopes 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.
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
And no more of that talk about “the tragedy of fame.” 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.
Talent must not be wasted. Those who have it – and you obviously do or today’s Calendar cover article would have been about Rudy Vallee – those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.
Trust me. I’ve been there.
(Signed, ‘Frank Sinatra’)
© 1990 Frank Sinatra