11 Essential George Michael Songs
Pop icon George Michael died on Christmas Day in 2016. The sudden loss (Michael died of heart failure) shocked the music community, as well as his dedicated legion of fans. Michael had been writing and singing hits since the '80s, when he formed Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley. He eventually became successful as a solo artist, selling more than 100 million records worldwide and earning the coveted album of the year Grammy for his hit 1987 record, "Faith."
Nearly seven years after his death, Netflix is reliving the arc of Michael and Ridgeley's Wham! career in a new documentary fittingly titled "WHAM!" "For the very first time, told in their own words, the amazing story of how in four years they dominated the charts around the world with timeless and classic pop songs," Netflix's official synopsis reads. "'WHAM!' is a feature length documentary that captures this magical time, from director Chris Smith and producers John Battsek and Simon Halfon. With unprecedented access to both George and Andrew's personal archive including remarkable and never-before-seen footage, alongside rare, candid and previously unheard interviews, 'WHAM!' charts their incredible journey from school friends to superstars."
"WHAM!" is streaming on Netflix. Let's continue celebrating Michael's life with 11 essential songs from his career.
"Young Guns (Go For It!)" (1982)
Released shortly after Wham!'s debut record, "Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)," this single landed the group a spot on the popular BBC series, "Top of the Pops." The appearance is credited with jump-starting their popularity, putting them on the road to success.
"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (1984)
If you know one Wham! song, it's probably this one. The catchy pop hit charted at No. 1 across Europe, in the United States, and in Australia. It's also featured in a particularly memorable scene in "Zoolander" — along with orange mocha Frappuccinos.
"Last Christmas" (1984)
"Last Christmas" is one of the ultimate pop Christmas songs, up there with Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You." Even if you think you haven't heard it all that much, I bet if it came on the radio, you'd still know all the words.
"Everything She Wants" (1984)
Though it was overshadowed by the success of "Last Christmas," this Wham! track still hit No. 1 in the US and is certified gold.
"Careless Whisper" (1984)
While he was still technically with Wham! at the time, Michael recorded this as his first solo venture. The risk paid off, and the song went platinum in the US, charting at No. 1 in nearly 25 countries.
"I Want Your Sex" (1987)
Michael released his first solo album, "Faith," in 1987. While it had four No. 1 songs, "I Want Your Sex" shockingly wasn't one of them. However, the track has achieved long-term staying power, eventually earning platinum status.
Of course, the song most associated with the "Faith" album is "Faith" itself. It was the top-selling single of 1988 and it's still one of Michael's most well-known hits.
"Father Figure" (1988)
Also off the "Faith" album, this song won an MTV Video Music Award and hit No. 1 on the US charts.
"One More Try" (1988)
This heartbreaking ballad is a great example of Michael's skills not only as a singer, but a lyricist. "When you were just a stranger / And I was at your feet / I didn't feel the danger / Now I feel the heat / That look in your eyes / Telling me no / So you think that you love me / Know that you need me / I wrote the song, I know it's wrong / Just let me go."
"Freedom! '90" (1990)
This hit track off Michael's "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" isn't just famous because of the melody; supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford all appeared in the racy music video.
"Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (1991)
OK, this one is a bit of a cheat. Technically Elton John wrote and released this song in 1974, but it had a huge resurgence in popularity when Michael sang it with him at the Live Aid concert in 1991. The duet skyrocketed to No. 1 in the US and the UK shortly after the performance.