Deon Estus (born Jeffery Deon Estus, 1956, Detroit, Michigan) is an American bassist and singer, best known as the bass player of Wham! and as the bassist on George Michael’s first two solo projects. Estus’ single “Heaven Help Me,” with additional vocals by George Michael, reached Number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1989.
Estus was born in Detroit and graduated from Northwestern High School in 1974. He sang second tenor in the choir at Northwestern under the direction of Brazel Dennard. His bass (guitar) teacher was the late James Jamerson of Motown’s The Funk Brothers.
Estus joined the R&B band Brainstorm as a teenager, recording two albums with them and scoring a hit with “Popcorn”. During the early 1980s, he moved to Europe and lived in Belgium and Ireland, before settling in London. He turned down the chance to play bass on Marvin Gaye’s 1982 comeback album, Midnight Love, because he was so busy recording and he says that he was not aware that it would be Gaye’s last album released during his lifetime. After his bass talents were recognized, he was invited to join the UK pop group, Wham!. He went on to tour China with Wham! and later backed Wham! frontman George Michael on his Faith tour. He also participated in the late-1980s collective Boogie Box High, which was spearheaded by George Michael’s cousin, Andros Georgiou, and featured Michael along with other high-profile musicians; Estus appears on the group’s only album, Outrageous, released in 1989. Estus later performed with Michael at Rock in Rio and has continued to play bass as part of Michael’s backing band.
In 1989, Estus released a solo album entitled Spell, produced by Colin Campsie and George McFarlane, with several tracks produced by George Michael. Released before the album, the single “Me or the Rumours” reached #15 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play charts in 1988. In 1989, the album’s title track hit #11 on the Adult Contemporary charts. However, the album’s biggest hit was the #5 Billboard Hot 100 single “Heaven Help Me,” for which Michael supplied backing vocals. It also peaked at #3 on both the Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B charts. The album itself ultimately reached #89 on the Billboard 200 and #44 on the Top R&B Albums charts.
He has also played with Marvin Gaye, Tina Turner, Frank Zappa, George Clinton, Annie Lennox, Edgar Winter, Aaron Neville, and Elton John. He most recently produced and co-wrote songs for aspiring singer Julie Anne.
- 1989: Spell – #89 US
|Year||Song||US Hot 100||US R&B||US A.C.||US Dance||Canada||UK Singles||Album|
|1988||“Me or the Rumours”||–||–||–||15||–||–||Spell|
|1989||“Heaven Help Me”||5||3||3||–||4||41|