The Top 20 George Michael Songs

George Michael
George Michael. Photo by MJ Kim / Getty Images

George Michael first became a star as part of the duo Wham in the 1980s. When he split with Andrew Ridgeley, George Michael did not miss a beat in becoming a solo star. This is a guide to the best of his songs both solo and with Wham! 

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"Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" - Wham! (1984)

Wham Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
Wham! - "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go". Courtesy Epic

Prior to the release of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," Wham! had released four consecutive top 10 pop hits at home in the UK but they failed to make a significant impact on pop charts in the US. This song changed all of that going to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic. George Michael's inspiration for writing the song was a note left by his Wham! partner Andrew Ridgeley. It was written to his parents, and he intended to write "Wake me up before you go." However, he accidentally included two "ups" and then added a second "go" on purpose. George Michael said that the song was influenced musically by 50s and 60s pop. The music video is notable for the oversized Katharine Hamnett T-shirts worn by the duo featuring the slogan "Choose Life."

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"Freedom" - Wham! (1984)

Wham Freedom
Wham - "Freedom". Courtesy Epic

"Freedom" was released as a single at the peak of Wham!'s success. It was written and produced by George Michael. The memorable music video features the duo during their groundbreaking concert tour in China. "Freedom" climbed to #3 on the US pop singles chart and also reached the top five of the adult contemporary chart. IN the UK, it became the duo's second #1 hit. 

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"Careless Whisper" (1985)

Wham George Michael Careless Whisper
Wham! Featuring George Michael - "Careless Whisper".

"Careless Whisper" is George Michael's first solo single, but it was released in the US under the credit Wham! featuring George Michael. It was co-written by George Michael with his Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. George Michael has stated in interviews he is sometimes distressed because the song has meant a lot to many fans, but he doesn't think it is a particularly good lyric. "Careless Whisper" went to #1 on the pop singles chart in both the US and the UK.

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"Everything She Wants" - Wham! (1985)

Wham Everything She Wants
Wham! - "Everything She Wants". Courtesy Epic

"Everything She Wants" is one of the few Wham! songs that George Michael continued to perform in concert once he became a solo artist. It is a song about a man frustrated by the material demands of his female partner. The song was released in the UK as the B-side for "Last Christmas" and then superceded that song on the UK pop charts once the holidays ended. "Everything She Wants" went all the way to #1 on the US pop singles chart, hit #4 adult contemporary and broke into the top 10 of the dance chart.

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"I'm Your Man" - Wham! (1985)

Wham I'm Your Man
Wham! - "I'm Your Man". Courtesy Epic

"I"m Your Man" was released as a Wham! single in late 1985 and originally was not included on an album. Only later did it appear on the duo's final studio collection Music From the Edge Of Heaven released in 1986. The upbeat song was a #3 pop hit single in the US and went all the way to #1 in the UK. George Michael re-recorded "I'm Your Man" in a funkier style in 1996 and released it as the B-side to his single "Fastlove."

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"A Different Corner" (1986)

George Michael A Different Corner
George Michael - "A Different Corner". Courtesy Columbia

"A Different Corner" was only the second single to reach #1 on the UK pop singles chart and be written, sung, played, arranged, and produced solely by one person. It was released as a George Michael solo single in April 1996 while Wham! were technically still together as a recording act. However, in the summer of 1986 the duo's breakup was announced along with the farewell album Music From the Edge of Heaven. "A Different Corner" reached the top 10 on both the pop and adult contemporary charts in the US.

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"I Want Your Sex" (1987)

George Michael I Want Your Sex
George Michael - "I Want Your Sex". Courtesy Columbia

For George Michael's first official solo single following the breakup of Wham! he unleashed the intensely sexual "I Want Your Sex." In the face of threats to not air the accompanying video on MTV, a segment with the words "Explore monogamy" was inserted. Musically, "I Want Your Sex" uses a complex funky jazz rhythm in the multiple mixes of the song. Despite, or because of, the controversy "I Want Your Sex" reached #2 on the pop singles chart in the US and #3 in the UK. The song is included on the soundtrack to the hit film Beverly Hills Cop II.

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"Faith" (1987)

George Michael Faith
George Michael - "Faith". Courtesy Columbia

The expectations were very high for George Michael's first solo album. He had led Wham! to six top 10 hit singles and three #1s in just three years. His first two releases as a solo artist were top 10 hits, and "Faith" was released as the title song from his first solo album. It is a simple pop-rockabilly production that was an instantly catchy hit. The genius of the song lies in the elegantly spare production and songwriting. The "Faith" video includes iconic images of George Michael in tight jeans leaning on a jukebox and dancing around playing a guitar. "Faith" was a top 10 hit around the world and a #1 smash in the US. It was the top selling single of the year in the US in 1988.

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"Father Figure" (1988)

George Michael Father Figure
George Michael - "Father Figure". Courtesy Columbia

"Father Figure" followed "Faith" as the second single from the album Faith. It was originally intended as a dance track, but George Michael preferred it as the sensuous ballad it became in the final mix. The impeccable production mixes such subtle elements as finger snaps into a shimmering stew that erupts in the familiar chorus. Surprisingly, "Father Figure" was George Michael's first single to miss the top 10 in the UK, but it went straight to #1 on the pop singles chart in the US. It also crossed over to the R&B chart reaching #6.

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"One More Try" (1988)

George Michael One More Try
George Michael - "One More Try". Courtesy Columbia

The hesitant love ballad "One More Try" was George Michael's third consecutive #1 hit from the album Faith. It features vocals that show the powerful range of his voice. In addition to topping the pop chart in the US, "One More Try" brought George Michael back to the top 10 in the UK. In an unusual feat for white artists, the song topped the US R&B chart. No white artist returned to the top of the chart until Robin Thicke 19 years later with "Lost Without U."

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"Monkey" (1988)

George Michael Monkey
George Michael - "Monkey". Courtesy Columbia

"Monkey" was the fourth consecutive #1 pop hit single from George Michael's debut solo album Faith. The single release of "Monkey" was remixed by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, best known for their work with Janet Jackson. "Monkey" also topped the dance chart in the US and broke into the top 10 on the R&B singles chart.

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"Kissing a Fool" (1988)

George Michael Kissing a Fool
George Michael - "Kissing a Fool". Courtesy Columbia

"Kissing a Fool" was released as the sixth and final single from George Michael's debut solo album Faith. It is a jazzy ballad about personal insecurity. The song followed a string of four consecutive #1 pop hit singles and peaked at #5. It topped the adult contemporary chart and broke into the top 40 on the R&B singles chart.


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"Praying For Time" (1990)

George Michael Praying For Time
George Michael - "Praying For Time". Courtesy Columbia

"Praying For Time" is George Michael's most political major hit single. He addresses directly the role of religion and prejudice in creating societal ills. "Praying For Time" to date is his final #1 hit single in the US. George Michael refused to appear in a music video accompanying the song or appear on the single's promotional artwork. Carrie Underwood brought the song back to the charts as part of the 2008 charity event Idol Gives Back.

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"Freedom! 90" (1990)

George Michael Freedom '90
George Michael - "Freedom '90". Courtesy Columbia

The "90" was added to this "Freedom" to distinguish from the earlier Wham! hit titled "Freedom." By 1990 George Michael was a bit soured on the image he had earned at MTV and with the music establishment. "Freedom! 90" finds him literally destroying elements of his image in the music video - "Faith's" leather jacket, guitar, and jukebox. It all occurs to the tune of one of his most engaging uptempo songs. George Michael refused to appear in the music video and instead employed a troupe of lip-synching supermodels. The result was a top 10 hit in the US, but "Freedom! 90" barely made the top 30 at home in the UK. George Michael performed "Freedom! 90" during the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

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"Too Funky" (1992)

George Michael Too Funky
George Michael - "Too Funky". Courtesy Columbia

The single "Too Funky" was donated to the charity project Red, Hot + Dance. It was George Michael's last single with Sony Music before he began legal action to end his contract with the label. A spoken word clip from the film The Graduate, "Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?" is included in the mix. The ending sample consisting of the spoken lines, "Would you stop playing with that radio of yours? I'm trying to get to sleep" is taken from the UK TV program The Tony Hancock Show. "Too Funky" reached the top 10 in the US and was a top 5 hit in the UK.

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"Jesus To a Child" (1996)

George Michael
George Michael. Photo by MJ Kim / Getty Images

George Michael wrote "Jesus To a Child" in memory of his former lover Anselmo Feleppa. He died two years after the pair first met in 1991 from complications of AIDS. George Michael was blocked from writing new songs for 18 months due to his personal grief. "Jesus To a Child" was released as the first single from the album Older. It was George Michael's first new original song released in four years. The song reached #1 on the UK pop singles chart while hitting the top 10 in the US on both pop and adult contemporary charts.

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"Fastlove" (1996)

George Michael Fastlove
George Michael - "Fastlove". Courtesy Virgin

"Fastlove" is a single from George Michael's 1996 comeback album Older. It is an ode to no strings sexual arrangements. There is a re-sung chorus of Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" included in the backing track of the song. "Fastlove" to date is George Michael's final top 10 pop hit in the US and his last #1 hit at home in the UK. It was nominated for Best British Single at the 1997 Brit Awards.

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"Outside" (1998)

George Michael Outside
George Michael - "Outside". Courtesy Epic

In 1998 George Michael was arrested for "lewd acts" in a public toilet and made headlines around the world. The incident prompted him to come out publicly as gay and create the single "Outside" in response. It is a clever, humorous response to the event and another catchy uptempo hit. "Outside" reached the top 3 of the dance chart in the US and #2 on the pop singles chart in the UK. The accompanying music video pokes direct fun at the arrest and societal discomfort with open sexuality. The officer who arrested George Michael tried and failed to receive a court decision compensating him for damages due to emotional distress.

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"Amazing" (2004)

George Michael Amazing
George Michael - "Amazing". Courtesy Sony

For "Amazing," George Michael created a heartfelt tribute to his partner Kenny Goss. The song amounts to an uptempo, danceable gay wedding song. While pop radio in the US ignored the release, it was heavily embraced by dance clubs and became George Michael's third #1 dance hit in the US. Back home in the UK "Amazing" reached the top 5. It was his biggest hit there in five years. George Michael and Kenny Goss broke up in 2009.

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"Flawless (Go To the City)" (2004)

George Michael Flawless
George Michael - "Flawless". Courtesy Sony

George Michael's album Patience, his first of new songs in eight years, included extensive use of samples in a number of the songs. "Flawless (Go To the City)" includes a a segment from the song "Flawless" by The Ones who used a sample from the 1978 disco song "Keep On Dancin'" by Gary's Gang. This single was ignored by mainstream pop radio in the US but hit #1 on the dance chart.

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