George Michael's hilarious spat with Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant explained

30 November 2023, 15:03

Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, 69, has recalled a brilliant story about a spat he had with George Michael back in 2012.
Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, 69, has recalled a brilliant story about a spat he had with George Michael back in 2012. Picture: Getty

By Giorgina Ramazzotti

Pop legends George Michael and Neil Tennant shared the heart-warming moment at the London 2012 Olympics.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

It may be almost seven years since George Michael's death on Christmas Day 2016, yet stories of the star's sense of humour are still emerging.

Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant, 69, has recalled a brilliant story about a squabble he had with George Michael back in 2012.

Speaking to the Guardian, Neil said while he didn’t know George too well, they crossed paths here and there across their 30 years in the music industry.

It may be almost seven years since George Michael's death on Christmas Day 2016, yet stories of the star's sense of humour are still emerging.
It may be almost seven years since George Michael's death on Christmas Day 2016, yet stories of the star's sense of humour are still emerging. Picture: Getty
Neil Tennant (pictured) performing during the 2012 Olympic Team GB celebration parade.
Neil Tennant (pictured) performing during the 2012 Olympic Team GB celebration parade. Picture: Getty

"I first met him in 1982. I interviewed him and Andrew [Ridgeley] for Smash Hits and then the last time we saw him it was exactly 30 years later, at the Olympic closing ceremony," he explained.

He said: “We were in these Portakabin-y dressing rooms and the person next to us is playing music unbelievably loudly.

"I said to our tour manager: ‘Can you go and ask him to turn that down, please?' he continued.

"And suddenly the door flings open and George, who we hadn’t seen since he’d been in jail, comes in and says: ‘Did you just tell me to turn my music down?’ I said: ‘Yes, I did.’

"And he says: ‘Give me a hug.’ And then he went back to his dressing room, put his stereo on and played 'West End Girls' – loudly."

The Pet Shop Boys singer added that he was sad and 'almost angry' when he heard about George's death.

George Michael (pictured) performing at the London Olympic Closing Ceremony in 2012.
George Michael (pictured) performing at the London Olympic Closing Ceremony in 2012. Picture: Getty
Elton John once summed up not only George Michael's kindness, but also his incredible talent as a musician.
Elton John once summed up not only George Michael's kindness, but also his incredible talent as a musician. Picture: Getty

"I felt sad and almost angry because it seemed like such a waste. He was so young and also I think he was on a path it would have been possible to reverse. But he was very stubborn, George."

The story joins a roll call of many that have emerged since the star's death, many of which showed George Michael's expansive personality, from pranks and witticisms, to incredible acts of secret generosity.

Elton John once summed up not only George Michael's kindness, but also his incredible talent as a musician.

"He was probably one of the most brilliant songwriters this country’s ever produced, and certainly one of the best vocalists ever, one of the best in the world," Elton said on his radio show The Rocket Hour in February 2017, a month after George's untimely death.

Wham's greatest music videos: Andrew Ridgeley breaks down his biggest hits | Smooth's Video Rewind

"It was an amazing friendship based on music to start with, and I remember sitting in the car just off of Hyde Park listening to a cassette of ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ and I said, ‘George, that’s the nearest record I’ve heard to a Motown record for years and years.'

"He was the kindest, most generous man, and did it without wanting any publicity," Elton continued.

"I’ve seen him being so kind to so many people. I’ll miss him so much for his music but more than anything for his humanity."