The 2017 BRIT Awards remembered George Michael’s legacy Wednesday with a pair of tributes as the singer’s Wham! bandmates saluted Michael before Coldplay’s Chris Martin performed his 1986 song “A Different Corner.”
Michael’s Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley and the duo’s backing singers Pepsi & Shirlie (real names Helen DeMacque and Shirlie Holliman) came onstage following the In Memoriam portion of the ceremony to eulogize the singer.
“On Christmas Day 2016, the greatest singer-songwriter of his generation, an icon of his era, and my beloved friend, George Michael, was lost,” Ridgeley said in his first non-social media comments following Michael’s death.
“A supernova in a firmament of shining stars had been extinguished, and it felt like the sky had fallen in. It started out ordinarily enough: In 1975, we were two boys that happened to share a mutual sense of humor, a love of life-affirming music, the records and artists it gave birth to, and a shared sense that we understood it.”
Ridgeley, DeMacque and Holliman then recounted their early days together and personal memories of the late singer. “George’s contribution to the great archive of contemporary music rests alongside the immortals,” Ridgeley added. “His is a legacy of unquestionable brilliance and one that will continue to shine and resonate for generations to come.”
Following the tribute, Coldplay’s Chris Martin took the BRIT Awards stage to sing “A Different Corner.” During the performance, the Brits’ screen showed archival footage of Michael, with the singer admitting, “I never really wanted to be somebody else.”
Following another Martin verse, the screen behind the Coldplay singer again projected Michael, who took over singing “A Different Corner.” Through some immaculate timing, Martin and the archival Michael performance sang together for the remainder of the tribute.
Martin previously remembered Michael with a rendition of “Last Christmas” following the singer’s December 25th death. Adele provided the Michael tribute at the 2017 Grammys.