Legacy: George Michael – The Grave

Remembering him on the second anniversary of George Michael’s too-early death, here’s his haunting version of Don McLean’s “The Grave.” Originally released on McLean’s 1971 landmark album, American Pie, Michael recorded the song in February 2003, as a protest to the imminent invasion of Iraq. McLean wrote it as a Vietnam protest song.

After hearing Michael’s version, McLean, on his official website, praised not only George’s recording, but his reasons for recording it.

I am proud of George Michael for standing up for life and sanity. I am delighted that he chose a song of mine to express these feelings. We must remember that the Wizard is really a cowardly old man hiding behind a curtain with a loud microphone. It takes courage and a song to pull the curtain open and expose him.
Good Luck George-

Don McLean, March 1, 2003

On the day that George died, McLean, via his Facebook page, wrote a loving tribute.

I never met George Michael but I wish I had. I would have thanked him for the beautiful performance of my song “The Grave” which he did to protest the invasion of Iraq and the disastrous war which he knew would follow and still continues. The authorities had everybody cowered in the shadows as we hoped for a ’60s style protest which never materialized. George Michael was fearless and had a great artist’s need to speak the truth even in cowardly times. We should remember what he did. I always will.

We all loved George and his death still stings. And hearing his ethereal vocal on this cover is a painful reminder of the scope of talent we lost.

Long live George ~ 1963-2016

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