Minnesotans remember music icon George Michael

George Michael is the latest in a long line of music icons who have passed away this year.

But Minnesotans are remembering what made the blue-eyed soul singer's four-decade long career so special.
Its a sad irony that years after George Michael wrote the new classic "Last Christmas", the holiday he sang about in the iconic song turned out to be his last.

All day long, The Current paid tribute to Michael, who rose to fame in the mid 80's with hits like Careless Whisper, Faith and I Want Your Sex.

"What a shocking year 2016 has turned out to be in terms of losing so many great musicians. David Bowie. Prince. Of course, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Jones and now George Michael," The Current's Program Director Jim McGuinn said.

McGuinn says Michael used the then-new medium of music videos to reach the masses to become one of the greatest singer songwriters of his generation.

"If you think about it, Wham was almost a boy band and when George Michael went solo, he became one of the biggest artists in the world. And maybe he set the template for someone like a Justin Timberlake to come forward years later," McGuinn said.

"I loved George Michael's voice so much ever since I was a kid," Minnesota-born singer Sean Tillman, better known as Har Mar Superstar, said about how the British soul singer inspired him to become one himself."

"I think he was the gateway artist to me being obsessed with soul music," Tillman said. "George Michael made it seem possible for me to do or become a part of it so I owe a lot to him for that."

In fact, Tillman tweeted a cover version of one of Michael's most well known songs "One More Try" that Tillman recorded with the group Gayngs as a memorial to Michael's lasting legacy.

"I think he'll always go down as one of the great pop singers and writers of this and the last century," Tillman said.

Michael also had his share of scandals, but he'll be remembered most for selling nearly 100 million records around the world and his charitable contributions to causes like AIDS research.