Why was George Michael's nickname Yog and what was the singer's real full name?

George Michael's nickname in the recent Netflix documentary film is confusing fans

Wham! George Michael's nickname
(Image credit: Netflix)

Netflix has just released a new film documentary titled, Wham! which charts the pop duo's incredible journey from school friends to superstars.

Popstars George Michael and Andrew Ridgely, the dynamic duo behind Wham! were the stars of a recent documentary from Netflix that looked back at their success using interviews with George and Andrew from over the years. 

Fans are loving this archival footage, but there is one thing that is still confusing viewers, why is George Michael referred to as Yog by his bandmate? And what is the late singers real name?

What is George Michael's real name?

George Michael's full real name was discussed within the first few minutes of the Netflix show. It was revealed that George's real name is 'Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou'. Andrew explained that he knew his bandmate by this name for much of their early life when they met at age 11. "Our teacher introduced him as Georgios Panayiotou," said Andrew.

Of course, this is a Greek name, and although George used it for most of his life, just before he reached stardom, George decided to change it in order to become more accessible.

In Contemporary Musicians: Profiles of the People in Music, Julia Rubiner commented, "As a solo artist George Michael has been hailed as a leading creative force in popular songwriting. With fame approaching, Michael decided to change his name from the intimidating Georgios Panayiotou to the more accessible George Michael." 


(Image credit: Netflix)

Why did Andrew call George 'Yog'?

In the documentary Andrew repeatedly called George 'Yog'. "For me he was Yog. It was the nickname I'd given him. Essentially Yog and I saw things exactly the same way, musically we were joined at the hip. We'd spend hours doing skits and putting together comedy radio shows," he said.

Some were confused and thought this might have been for 'yogurt'. "They didn’t really say why his nickname was Yog was he a greek yogurt? #wham," joked one viewer. Of course, the real answer is far more sensible.

'Yog' is a shortened version of his Greek name 'Georgios' which has a much softer 'Y' sounding G at the beginning and a much harder 'G' sounding G in the middle. This name was used when Andrew was introduced to George, and why he still refers to him as 'Yog'. 

Fans loved this sweet nickname and could clearly see how much love and respect there was between Andrew and 'Yog'. "Wham! A perfect documentary. I confess, a newfound respect for Andrew Ridgely … and a reminder of my over 30-year heartfelt devotion to Yog," said one viewer. "The Wham! doc is beautiful. Their love for each other was clearly something very special and their friendship seemed to stand every test. Big love to Andrew and Yog," said another.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.