Early into his musical career, George Michael saw blistering success and fame — and wanted little of the latter, he told the Los Angeles Times in an interview published in 1990.
At the time, he expressed displeasure in making music videos for MTV and even teased said that he may disappear from the spotlight and become a songwriter.
After the story came out, legendary crooner Frank Sinatra wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times, which resurfaced on social media after Michael’s death over the Christmas period. In the note, he responded to Michael’s comments, saying he should be thankful for his position.
“I don’t understand a guy who lives ‘in hopes of reducing the strain of his celebrity status,'” Sinatra wrote. “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,” Sinatra continued. “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.”
Michael assumed a lower profile after releasing his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Despite his negative attitude toward MTV, Michael created an iconic video for the album’s single “Freedom! ’90.” The clip, which starred supermodels like Christy Turlington and Naomi Campbell, was a shot at the network since Michael didn’t appear in the video himself.
Sinatra closed with a plea for Michael to use his musical prowess to good use: “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.”
Read Sinatra’s full letter here.