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11 Iconic George Michael Recordings That You Absolutely Must Listen To

From "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" to "Outside".

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1. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (1984)

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George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s first American and UK No. 1 hit for Wham! catapulted them to mainstream success, and it’s not difficult to see why; the tune is just so damn catchy, and the music video – with the dance moves, the “Choose Life” T-shirts, and the iconic gloves – is absolutely perfect.

2. "Careless Whisper" (1984)

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This soulful ballad was a giant hit internationally, reaching No. 1 in nearly 25 countries and selling about 6 million copies worldwide. Michael’s smooth vocals complement the sexy-sounding rhythm to leave the listener completely mesmerised.

3. "Don't Let The Sun Go Down on Me" With Elton John (1985)

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This powerful version of Elton John's song – the second time the pair had performed it after they sang it at the Live Aid concert in 1985 – was recorded on the 1991 Faith tour, was a No. 1 hit in many countries, and raised funds for the Aids hospice London Lighthouse and the Rainbow Trust children’s charity.

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4. "Last Christmas" (1986)

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No offense but “Last Christmas” is the best Christmas song out there, don’t @ me. If anything, it’s the OG of Christmas songs, coming a whole decade before Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You”. The best thing about “Last Christmas” is that it’s not just all seasonal cheer; it’s bittersweet and wistful, and that’s what makes it great, because who hasn’t gone through one Christmas they’d rather forget?

5. "Faith" (1987)

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After Wham! disbanded the previous year, Michael’s first single as a solo artist would go on to become one of his most popular songs. Written, produced, and arranged by Michael himself, “Faith” was the top-selling single of the year in the United States, not to mention an absolute banger. Fun fact: The jukebox at the beginning of the music video is playing another Michael classic, “I Want Your Sex.”

(Watch the US version here.)

6. "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" With Aretha Franklin (1987)

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This song, which won George Michael his first Grammy, showed that he could hold his own singing alongside one of the greatest soul singers in history. Not only that, but it was Franklin's only No. 1 hit in the UK.

7. "Father Figure" (1988)

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This is one of Michael's most original-sounding and smooth tracks – his sixth No. 1 single. The lyrics encapsulate how all-encompassing a loving relationship can be, as Michael sings about his desire to nurture and protect his lover.

8. "Freedom! '90" (1990)

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"Freedom! ’90" sees Michael, still shy of 30, literally set fire to his previous image – in the form of the jukebox, leather jacket, and guitar made famous in “Faith” – as he redefines himself as a new man who is more cynical about the music business than he was before. The music video, directed by David Fincher, is also noted for featuring several famous supermodels of the early '90s including Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington.

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9. "Somebody to Love" (1992)

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In a fitting tribute to Freddie Mercury, the frontman of Queen who passed away from AIDS-related pneumonia the previous year, Michael performed the classic along with the remaining members of the band at the Freddie Mercury Concert for AIDS Awareness in 1992. The performance completely lit up Wembley Stadium and just goes to show his vocal prowess as well as master showmanship.

10. "Jesus to a Child" (1996)

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This heartbreaking masterpiece was written to commemorate Michael's Brazilian's lover Feleppa Anselmo, who died two years after he met him from an AIDS-related brain haemorrhage.

11. "Outside" (1998)

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This song was released months after he was arrested for a "lewd act" six months earlier by an undercover police officer in a public lavatory in Beverly Hills, after which he announced that he was homosexual. The song – which proclaims the joy of al fresco lovemaking and its video – which features Michael in a public toilet made up to look like a disco and two male police officers kissing each other – is one of the greatest acts of artistic defiance in musical history.

Listen to all the songs here:

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