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George Michael: A Life

Featuring a Conversation with Author James Gavin and a Performance from Sam Harris

To celebrate the release of the new book, George Michael: A Life, the GRAMMY Museum is thrilled to welcome author James Gavin and musician Sam Harris for an intimate conversation about the new book and life of George Michael, followed by a special performance from Sam Harris. Following the program, there will be a book signing. 

George Michael was an extravagantly gifted, openhearted soul singer whose work was both pained and smolderingly erotic. He was a songwriter of true craft and substance, and his music swept the world, starting in the mid-1980s. His fabricated image—that of a hypermacho sex god—loomed large in the pop culture of his day. It also hid—for a time—the secret he fought against revealing: Michael was gay. Soon his obsession with fame would start to backfire. As one of the industry’s most privileged yet tortured men began to self-destruct, the press showed little sympathy. George Michael: A Life (Abrams Press; June 28, 2022; $32.50; Hardcover) explores the compelling story of a superstar whose struggles, as well as his songs, continue to touch fans all over the world. 

Acclaimed music biographer James Gavin traces Michael’s metamorphosis from the shy and awkward Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou into the swaggering, dominant half of the leading British pop duo of the 1980s Wham!; he then details Michael’s sensational solo career and its subsequent unraveling. With deep analysis of the creative process behind Michael’s albums, tours, and music videos, as well as interviews with hundreds of his friends and colleagues, George Michael: A Life is a probing, definitive portrait of a pop legend. 


Called “a killer biographer” in the Hollywood Reporter, James Gavin is the author of five acclaimed books and dozens of New York Times features; he is a worldwide public speaker, a GRAMMY nominee, and a recipient of two ASCAP Deems Taylor-Virgil Thomson Awards for excellence in music journalism. The New York Times called Gavin’s Is That All There Is?: The Strange Life of Peggy Lee (Atria Books/Simon & Schuster) “fascinating, suspenseful, musically detailed and insightful.” Of Stormy Weather: The Life of Lena Horne (Atria), Liz Smith wrote: “[It] may just be one of the best biographies about show business, race, love, sex, and music ever written.” Oprah Winfrey chose it as one of her Top 25 Summer Reads. In the New York Times, David Hajdu described Gavin’s Deep in a Dream: The Long Night of Chet Baker (Knopf) as “almost unbearably vivid.” Gavin’s first book, Intimate Nights: The Golden Age of New York Cabaret (Grove-Weidenfeld) was called “vividly reported … etched in acid” by the Times. The author’s new book, George Michael: A Life (Abrams), is the most probing and intensively researched telling of the pop superstar’s turbulent story. People chose it as one of its Summer Must-Reads of 2022. Kirkus Reviews wrote that Gavin’s “first-rate reporting makes this biography sing”; Library Journal called it a “fluent, gripping account of Michael’s roller-coaster music career … an emotionally fulfilling read.” 

Manhattan-born and a graduate of Fordham University, Gavin is a much-published freelance journalist. Aside from the New York Times, he has written for Vanity Fair, the Los Angeles Times, NPR Music, Time Out New York, and JazzTimes. He has contributed liner notes to over 600 CDs; his essay for the GRP box set Ella Fitzgerald – The Legendary Decca Recordings was nominated for a Grammy. From 2011 through 2017, Gavin toured as narrator, host, and author of Stormy Weather: The Life and Music of Lena Horne, a show that starred former Supreme Mary Wilson.  


Sam Harris’ diversified career has run the gamut from singer and songwriter to actor on Broadway, film, and television, to writer, director, producer, and author. Sam burst into the public eye after pulling a weekly audience of more than 25 million viewers on STAR SEARCH in its premier season. Jimmy Fallon called his performance of Over the Rainbow “one of the greatest performances ever on television, EVER!”

Sam is a multi-platinum recording artist with 9 studio CDs to his credit. Rolling Stone magazine listed him as one of the “Top 100 Vocalists of all Time.”

On Broadway, Sam received a Tony, Outer Critic’s Circle and Drama Desk nominations for his work in Cy Coleman’s THE LIFE, a Drama League Award and Drama Desk nomination for his role in Tommy Tune’s GREASE, and appeared in Mel Brooks’, THE PRODUCERS, as well as JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, CABARET, JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, HAIR, PIPPIN, and THE JAZZ SINGER. His autobiographical show HAM: A Musical Memoir (based on his best-selling book HAM: Slices of a Life) played New York and in Los Angeles, and was filmed for television and can be seen on all prominent streaming channels.

Sam has toured extensively in concert and has played to sold-out audiences everywhere from Carnegie Hall to the Boston Pops. He has appeared at The White House, on numerous television specials and live productions. Sam was a regular on the CBS sitcom, THE CLASS, winning the People’s Choice Award, and has guest-starred on numerous series. He hosted his own segment on EXTRA called “Six Degrees of Sam Harris.”

His new novel is titled “The Substance of All Things,” and has garnered critical acclaim and is in development as a limited series. 

Member Check – In: 6:30pm

Nonmember Check – In / Doors: 7:00pm

Show Time: 7:30pm

American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets from Thu 6/23 10:30AM through Sat 6/25 11AM.   


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  • Vaccinated guests must present upon arrival a photo ID along with proof that they meet the CDC definition of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, either in the form of a physical vaccination card or a photo of the card.
  • Guests under the age 12 or those who are exempt from COVID-19 vaccinations due to medical reasons or sincerely held religious beliefs will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours before entering the building and present their negative results at the door with a photo ID.
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July 22, 2024 (07:30 PM - 09:30 PM ET)
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July 22, 2024 (12:30 PM - 02:00 PM PT)
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