George Michael was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s as a member of the pop duo Wham! He later became a successful solo artist, known for his soulful voice, introspective lyrics, and innovative music videos. Over the course of his career, Michael released a number of hit songs and albums that cemented his status as one of the most iconic musicians of his generation.
This list of the top 10 best George Michael songs of all time highlights some of his most memorable and beloved tracks. From the upbeat pop anthems of his early Wham! days to the soulful ballads of his solo career, this list showcases the incredible range and versatility of his musical talent. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or a newcomer to his music, these songs are sure to move and inspire you with their infectious energy, heartfelt lyrics, and unforgettable melodies.
1. “Father Figure”
“Father Figure” is a classic song by British singer-songwriter George Michael, released in 1988. The track is a hauntingly beautiful ballad that showcases Michael’s smooth, soulful vocals over a dramatic, orchestral arrangement. The song’s lyrics explore themes of love, desire, and longing, with Michael crooning to his lover about his willingness to be the “father figure” they need in their life.
The song’s sensual, seductive tone was a departure from Michael’s earlier pop hits, and helped solidify his status as a mature, sophisticated artist. “Father Figure” was a commercial and critical success, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earning Michael a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The song’s iconic music video, featuring Michael in a black leather jacket and shades, also helped cement his status as a sex symbol and style icon. Decades after its release, “Father Figure” remains a beloved classic and a testament to George Michael’s incredible talent as a songwriter and performer.
2. “Freedom ’90”
“Freedom ’90” is one of George Michael’s most iconic songs, released in 1990 as a part of his album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1.” The song is a declaration of independence, a reflection on Michael’s public persona and the pressure of fame. The lyrics are powerful, with Michael proclaiming, “All we have to see/Is that I don’t belong to you/And you don’t belong to me.” The chorus features a repetition of “Freedom,” which became an anthem for many in the 90s, symbolizing the desire to break free from constraints and live life on one’s own terms.
The song’s music video, directed by David Fincher, is also memorable, featuring a group of supermodels lip-syncing the song in place of Michael, who refused to appear in the video. The video’s sleek, black-and-white aesthetic and iconic imagery of burning and exploding symbols of Michael’s past fame added to the song’s impact and popularity.
3. “I Want Your Sex”
“I Want Your Sex” is a controversial song by George Michael that was released in 1987 as a single and later included in his album “Faith.” The song’s lyrics explore the subject of sexuality and its importance in a relationship, with Michael boldly stating that he wants his partner’s body and mind.
The song’s accompanying music video, which features Michael in a leather jacket and tight jeans, caused controversy for its suggestive nature and was banned by some television stations. Despite the controversy, the song was a commercial success, reaching the top ten in several countries and becoming a defining track in Michael’s career. “I Want Your Sex” was a bold departure from Michael’s previous work with Wham! and showcased his willingness to push boundaries and tackle taboo subjects in his music.
4. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” is a classic George Michael song that was originally performed as a duet with Elton John. The song was released in 1991 as a live recording from one of Michael’s concerts. The song features powerful vocals from both Michael and John, with their voices blending seamlessly to create a beautiful harmony.
The lyrics are poignant and emotional, expressing a deep longing to hold onto a relationship before it slips away. The song became a huge hit for Michael and remains one of his most beloved and enduring hits. The success of the song was also partly due to the public’s fascination with the collaboration between two of the biggest names in music at the time. The song’s timeless quality has ensured its continued popularity and has cemented its place as one of George Michael’s greatest songs of all time.
5. “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”
“I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” is a duet by George Michael and Aretha Franklin, released in 1987. The song was written by Simon Climie and Dennis Morgan and produced by Narada Michael Walden. It became an instant hit and reached number one on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart, as well as many other international charts. The song features powerful vocals from both Michael and Franklin, and its upbeat tempo and catchy chorus make it a perfect dance-pop anthem of the late 80s.
The song was initially meant to be a solo track for Michael, but he later approached Franklin to join him on the duet. The collaboration was a huge success, and the song won the duo a Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Its success cemented Michael’s status as a global pop icon and earned him a spot as one of the greatest male vocalists of all time.
6. “As” ft. Mary J. Blige
“As” is a cover of the Stevie Wonder classic, performed by George Michael and Mary J. Blige. The song was included in Michael’s album “Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael” and was released in 1999. The duet was widely successful, reaching the top 5 in several European countries and becoming a number one hit in Italy.
The rendition of “As” features Michael and Blige trading verses over a driving R&B beat, punctuated by brass sections and soulful backing vocals. Their vocals blend seamlessly, creating a dynamic and emotional performance. The song is a declaration of love and devotion, as the singers promise to stand by each other through thick and thin.
The cover of “As” was a testament to Michael’s versatility as an artist, showcasing his ability to reinterpret classic songs and make them his own. The addition of Blige’s powerful vocals adds an extra layer of emotion and depth to the song, making it a standout track in Michael’s discography.
“Faith” was the lead single and title track of his 1987 debut solo album. The song was a huge success, reaching the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for four consecutive weeks. It was also a hit in many other countries, including the UK, where it reached number two. “Faith” is a lively and upbeat song that showcases George Michael’s vocals and songwriting skills, and its infectious melody and catchy chorus have made it a staple of 80s pop music.
The song’s lyrics express a message of love and devotion, with the narrator declaring his unwavering commitment to his partner. The accompanying music video, featuring George Michael’s iconic leather jacket and shades, was equally successful and cemented the singer’s status as a pop icon. “Faith” remains one of George Michael’s most popular and enduring songs and is considered a classic of the 80s music scene.
8. “One More Try”
“One More Try” is a soulful ballad by the late George Michael. The song was released in 1988 as the fifth single from his debut solo album, “Faith”. The track is known for its poignant lyrics and Michael’s emotive vocals, which are accompanied by a simple and understated instrumental arrangement. The song reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number eight on the UK Singles Chart.
The lyrics of “One More Try” explore themes of love, heartbreak, and the desire to keep trying despite past failures. Michael’s vocals are particularly striking in this song, as he delivers each line with a raw emotional intensity. The minimalist instrumentation, which consists of a piano, bass guitar, and drums, allows Michael’s voice to take center stage and amplify the emotional impact of the lyrics.
“Fastlove” is a song by British singer George Michael, released in 1996. It was the lead single from his third solo studio album, “Older”. The song is a dance-pop track with elements of funk and soul, featuring a prominent saxophone riff throughout. The lyrics describe a man looking for love but not wanting to settle down or get too emotionally involved. The chorus is a nod to the fast-paced lifestyle that comes with celebrity and the pitfalls of fame.
The song was a commercial success, reaching the top 10 in many countries including the UK, US, and Canada. It also received critical acclaim for its catchy melody and Michael’s smooth vocal delivery. The music video, directed by Vaughan Arnell, features Michael in various locations around London, surrounded by dancers and a light show. “Fastlove” is a quintessential example of Michael’s ability to combine pop hooks with soulful vocals, and remains a fan favorite to this day.
“Monkey” is a song by George Michael released in 1988. It was the fourth single from his debut solo album “Faith”. The song is characterized by its funky bassline and synth-pop beats. The lyrics of the song talk about a womanizing man who is compared to a monkey, as he moves from one woman to another without any real attachment. Michael’s powerful vocals in the chorus elevate the song to a more emotional level as he sings, “Why can’t you do it? Why can’t you set your monkey free?”.
“Monkey” was a commercial success, reaching the top 20 in several countries including the US, UK, and Australia. It was also accompanied by a stylish and artistic music video that further added to the song’s popularity. The video features Michael dancing in front of a mirror and being watched by a mysterious woman. The song’s catchy chorus and infectious rhythm make it a favorite among fans of 80s pop music, and it remains one of George Michael’s most popular and beloved songs.