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Dec 28, 2016 11:59 AM EST

Frank Sinatra’s Advice To George Michael and His Reluctance To Fame [Video]

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GORING, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: A drawing is left with flowers and tributes outside the Oxfordshire home of British pop singer George Michael. The singer died on Christmas day in his country home in Oxfordshire at the age of 53.
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Before his passing last Sunday, George Michael has always had challenges with being famous. When he talked about it back in 1990, he got an advice from no less than Frank Sinatra, the legendary crooner and actor.

The New York Times reported a story ran by The Los Angeles Times in 1990 which said that George Michael refused to make music videos to promote his songs. This was the peak of MTV and not making videos was fatal to artists who wants their music to be heard.

George Michael is reported to have said that he will not be able to survive years of major exposure or handle being lost or out of control. Frank Sinatra who was in his 70s at that time have known a thing or two about fame and the lack of it. He wrote George Michael a letter to admonishing his statements and reminding him that fame comes with a price, a baggage that the lucky ones are meant to carry. The letter which was written in September 9, 1990 was later on published by the online museum letters of note and as of this writing has been shared in social media.

Mr. Sinatra, in the letter told the younger superstar to be grateful for everything he has and remember those days when he was struggling to get noticed whenever he feels the strain of his celebrity status. He also asked him to look back at all the hard word needed to get to where he is now. The hours of travelling and sleeping on tour busses, loading and carrying his own instruments and equipment from one show to another.

Frank Sinatra learned music by ear and began singing professionally in the mid 1930s. It was a slow and hard climb to popularity and by the late 1940s he faced a career slump. Sinatra refused to quit and came back in the 1950s. He transformed himself and became a pop culture icon with his career lasting up to the 1990s.


This is why he also told George Michael to stop thinking about his popularity as a tragedy because the real tragedy of fame is to arrive at a show prepared and excited to perform only to find an empty audience.

Sinatra's advice drew mixed reactions but he concluded his letter saying he's been there.

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