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George Michael Busted In Bathroom

April 9, 1998 12:00 AM ET

Pop singer George Michael was arrested in a Beverly Hills, Calif., park Tuesday evening for engaging in a lewd act and was charged with a misdemeanor.

Area residents complained to police about seeing lewd behavior in the bathroom at Will Rogers Park, which is located in one of Beverly Hills' most exclusive neighborhoods. A four-person undercover team responded to the complaints and found Michael -- alone in the bathroom -- engaging in a lewd act, Lt. Edward T. Kreins of the Beverly Hills Police Department told JAMTV. Kreins refused to elaborate on what sort of lewd behavior Michael was engaging in.

Just before 5 p.m. (PST) the former Wham! singer -- who gave police his birth name, Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, and told them he was a singer -- was arrested and taken to the B.H.P.D. where he was jailed. He was released around 8 p.m. Tuesday after posting a $500 bail.

Contrary to Associated Press reports, Kreins said the park does not have a reputation as a homosexual cruising ground. In fact, only two arrests were made in 1997 for lewd conduct, Kreins said.

Michael must appear in a Beverly Hills court on May 5 at 8:30 a.m. for a sentencing hearing. At that time, he faces a possible fine and jail term up to one year.

Michael's London-based publicist, Connie Filippello Publicity, had no comment.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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