Banbury is a historic
market town on the
River Cherwell in
Oxfordshire, England. It had a population of 46,853 at the
Banbury is a significant commercial and retail centre for the surrounding area of north Oxfordshire and southern parts of Warwickshire and Northamptonshire which are predominantly rural. Banbury's main industries are motorsport, car components, electrical goods, plastics, food processing, and printing. Banbury is home to the world's largest coffee-processing facility (
Jacobs Douwe Egberts), built in 1964. The town is famed for
Banbury cakes – similar to
Eccles cakes but oval in shape.
Banbury is 64 miles (103 km) northwest of London, 37 miles (60 km) southeast of
Birmingham, 27 miles (43 km) southeast of
Coventry and 22 miles (35 km) northwest of
George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou; 25 June 1963 – 25 December 2016) was an English singer, songwriter, record producer, and philanthropist who rose to fame as a member of the music duo
Wham! and later embarked on a solo career. At the time of his death, Michael had sold over 115 million records worldwide, making him one of the
best-selling music artists of all time. He achieved seven number-one songs on the
UK Singles Chart and eight number-one songs on the US
Billboard Hot 100. Michael
won various music awards, including two
Grammy Awards, three
Brit Awards, three
American Music Awards, 12
Billboard Music Awards, four
MTV Video Music Awards, and six
Ivor Novello Awards. In 2008, he was ranked 40th on
Billboard's list of the Greatest Hot 100 Artists of All Time.
East Finchley, Michael formed the duo Wham! with
Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. The band's first two albums,
Fantastic (1983) and
Make It Big (1984), reached number one on the
UK Albums Chart and the US
Billboard 200. Their hit singles included "
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "
Last Christmas". Certifying themselves as a global act, Wham!'s tour of China in April 1985 was the first visit to China by a
popular music act, and generated worldwide media coverage. Michael's first solo single, "
Careless Whisper", reached number one in over 20 countries, including the UK and US. His debut solo album,
Faith, was released in 1987, topping the UK Albums Chart and staying at number one on the Billboard 200 for 12 weeks. Four singles from the album—"
Father Figure", "
One More Try", and "
Monkey"—reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Faith was awarded
Album of the Year at the
1989 Grammy Awards.
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990) was a UK number-one and included the Billboard Hot 100 number-one "
Praying for Time". "
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me", a 1991 duet with
Elton John, was also a transatlantic number one. Michael went on to release the albums
Songs from the Last Century (1999) and
Patience (2004). In 2004, the
Radio Academy named him the most played artist on British radio during the period 1984–2004.
came out as
gay in 1998, was an active
LGBT rights campaigner and
HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser. Michael's personal life and legal troubles made headlines during the late 1990s and 2000s, as he was arrested for public lewdness in 1998 and was arrested for multiple drug-related offences after that time. The 2005 documentary
A Different Story covered his career and personal life. Michael's first tour since 1991, the
25 Live tour, spanned three tours over the course of three years: 2006, 2007, and 2008. Four years later, he performed his final concert at London's
Earls Court in 2012. In the early hours of 25 December 2016, Michael was found dead at his home in
Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, aged 53. A coroner's report attributed his death to liver issues and heart disease. (