For one week, George Michael and Elton John were accidental chart rivals.

How Elton John Influenced George Michael’s Music and Public Image

How Elton John Influenced George Michael’s Music and Public Image

Slate's weekly roundtable.
June 30 2017 2:45 PM

Hit Parade: The Imperial Elton and George Edition

George Michael and Elton John were friends, collaborators, and for one week, chart rivals.

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Elton John onstage with George Michael performing live in the early 1990s.

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Listen to Episode 3 of Slate’s Hit Parade:

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When Elton John came out as bisexual in 1976, it was a really big deal. It was covered on the evening news. There were angry letters and a decline in sales. And for a generation of queer musicians, like George Michael, it was a lesson: Be careful what you reveal about your sex life to the public. On this episode, we look at the friendship, collaboration, and chart rivalry of the two British icons, who collided on the Billboard Hot 100 for one week in 1988—and later topped the chart together.