It’s 1992 and the biggest musical artists are getting ready for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in London. The Queen front man had died just a year prior of AIDS-related pneumonia, and the money from the concert would go to his memory and fund AIDS research. The concert featured performances by the remaining members of Queen along with David Bowie, Elton John, Seal, Annie Lennox, Liza Minnelli, Axl Rose, and of course, one George Michael. Perhaps fittingly, Michael performed a set that included “Somebody to Love,” Freddie Mercury’s plea to God to help him find someone to love.
Though he wouldn’t come out publicly for another six years, just a year prior, George Michael had come to the realization that he was gay when he met his first love, Anselmo Feleppa. “He was the first person I had ever loved, and I discovered he loved me too,” Michael said of Feleppa, who was HIV positive and died in 1993. The video was taken during rehearsals, so the audio isn’t great, but Michael’s voice comes through as he sings the words, “I just gotta get out of this prison cell / One day I’m gonna be free, Lord.” And if all of that isn’t enough to break your heart, there’s David Bowie watching in the background.
Here’s the performance from the live concert: