12 Of George Michael’s Greatest Songs

Above: A few of George Michael's most memorable tracks
12 Essential George Michael Songs

George Michael, the British pop star and founding member of Wham!, died of heart failure at his home in Goring, England on Christmas Day. He was 53.

“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” read a statement from Michael’s London-based publicist, Connie Filippello. “The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage.”

Throughout his career George Michael released five studio albums as a solo artist; three with Wham! and had an undeniable influence on pop music. He scored two Grammys and three Brit Awards, had eight No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, won four MTV VMAs, and sold more than an estimated 100 million records worldwide.

Here’s a look back at 12 essential George Michael songs.

1984: Wham!, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”

Jitterbugging chart-topper “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” was George Michael and Andrew Ridgely first major international hit. “I think ‘Go-Go’ is undoubtedly the most remembered Wham! song because it is that much more stupid than anything else,” Michael once said.

1984: “Careless Whisper”

“Careless Whisper” was George Michael’s first solo single although he was still performing in Wham! at the time (the song is included on Wham!’s 1984 album Make It Big). The track set the stage for Michael to become an ’80s sex symbol and a successful solo artist.

1985: Wham!, “Last Christmas”

“Last Christmas” is undeniably one of the most iconic holiday pop songs in history. Fun fact: Michael wrote and produced the holiday track himself.

1987: “I Want Your Sex”

Michael’s first controversy. “I Want Your Sex” was the first single from Michael’s debut LP, Faith. It was also the world’s first taste of the risqué pop star.

1987: “Faith”

“Faith,” the title track from Michale’s debut solo album was a landmark track for the pop star, and it went on to become the biggest-selling single of 1988.

1988: “Father Figure”

One of the most memorable ballads of Michael’s career. The iconic video (which featured fashion model Tania Coleridge as the object of his desire) is also one of his most memorable.

1990: “Praying for Time”

The lead single from 1990’s Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 is a protest song disguised as a somber ballad. Michael’s pleading performance is one of his most memorable.

1990: “Freedom! ’90”

The music video starred every in-demand supermodel of the era and torched the world’s image of Michael as a ’80s pop heartthrob. An immediate classic.

1991: Elton John feat. George Michael, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

Sixteen years after Elton John’s original, solo version of “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” was released, John joined Michael in concert for an arena-scale duet of the ballad.

1992: “Too Funky”

“Too Funky” with its samples of Anne Bancroft’s famous come-ons from The Graduate was the standout single on the 1992 HIV/AIDS awareness compilation Red Hot + Dance. The iconic video with its Thierry Mugler fashion show featured supermodels like Linda Evangelista, Eva Herzigova and Tyra Banks is essentially high art.

1996: “Jesus to a Child”

Michael, now out of the closet, paid poignant tribute to his late lover Anselmo Feleppa, who had died from an AIDS-related brain hemorrhage several years earlier, with this slow-burning ballad in 1996.

1998: “Outside”

Following his 1998 arrest for lewdness in a public lavatory, Michael responded with “Outside” – the lead single from his greatest hits collection Ladies & Gentlemen.

Tags: Elton John, Eva Herzigova, George Michael, Linda Evangelista, RIP, Tyra Banks, Wham

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