It’s hard to believe that the first anniversary of George Michael’s death is upon us.
Although the shock of losing him has somewhat dominated our recent memory of George, it’s important to remember that this man was, and always will be, one of the greatest artists of all time.
Nothing proves this statement more than the art he created during his legendary career: everything from his early work with Wham! to his more recent releases have been celebrated around the globe.
Here are just some of the songs that George Michael gifted the world and helped certify him as one of the greatest artists of a generation.
Released in 1984 from Wham!’s album Make It Big, this song became one of George’s most notable releases.
This song’s iconic saxophone riff is instantly recognisable and complements it’s equally loveable chorus.
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
Another cut from 1984’s Make It Big, this is a song George created as a tribute to vintage Motown.
Originally the single was set for a UK-only release, but after eventually being released across the pond it became Wham!’s first US No. 1 hit.
Fastlove was released in 1996 as the second single from George’s third studio album Older, this album saw George hang up his 1980s’ dancing shoes and veer towards a more club-scene sound – this artistic risk paid off for George when Fastlove went straight to the top of the UK charts.
Faith was released as the second outing from George Michael’s first solo album of the same name.
The track’s gospel-inspired intro and guitar riffs throughout are just as enjoyable as the accompanying music video, which features a much more masculine version of George than fans were used to.
Many George fans might not consider his signature Christmas hit as one of his very best, but if you ignore the cheesy stigma that surrounds this genre of music, you’ll find this 1984 Wham! release is actually an exceptionally good song.
This synth-pop Christmas classic has become even more meaningful after the ill-fated timing of his death.
Outside was released as the lead cut from his 1998 greatest hits album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best Of George Michael.
Although not one of his most successful leads, this song is fondly remembered for it’s self-deprecating lyrics, which reference his somewhat tarnished public image, and George’s aloof attitude to his media mishaps.
I’m Your Man
I’m Your Man, released as an isolated single in 1985, is to this day one of Wham!’s most well-loved tracks.
The song became the band’s third No. 1 on the UK Singles Charts.
Within six months of release, the duo announced to the world that they were splitting – disappointed fans were treated to a farewell album and I’m Your Man would become the last song George performed alongside bandmate Andrew Ridgeley.
Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
Although Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me is an Elton John track, the 1991 live version release featuring George Michael is considered by many as the superior version.
This now legendary duet was a massive success on both sides of the Atlantic where it reached No. 1 and bagged a Grammy Award nomination.
The song’s legacy also lives on with the proceeds it earned, all of which were divided among 10 charities for children, AIDS and education.
Praying For Time
Released as the lead single from George Michael’s critically acclaimed album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in 1990, the song was celebrated by critics as a sombre reflection of social injustice.
It was also admired for its message that aimed to convey the healing passage of time as the remedy for poverty, hypocrisy and hatred.
The single hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart.
Freedom is widely recognised as George Michael’s piece de resistance and with the success this track has enjoyed around the world – it’s hard to argue otherwise.
This release references George’s past career success while acknowledging his current state of mind, which was far more disparaging of the music business and fame as a whole.
In fact, at this time of his life George was so turned off by being in front of the camera he refused to take part in the music video and invited a group of famous supermodels to appear in his place.
During the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics George made a triumphant return to the stage where he belted out Freedom! ’90 to millions watching around the world.
The adoration for this powerful song was once again realised and gave fans a fitting end to the legacy of George Michael.
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