Our Top 10 George Michael songs list looks at a legendary artist who first rose to fame as a member of the group Wham! in the decade of the big 80s! While Wham! was together, their hit songs included “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” “Careless Whisper,” Everything She Wants” and “Last Christmas.” Two years after they celebrated multiple hit singles, George Michael embarked on a solo career. He became a bigger star as a solo artist than he did in the group.
George Michael released his first hit single as a solo act in early 1987. He released the duet “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” with Aretha Franklin. It was a number one hit for them. In late 1987, he released his first solo album Faith. The first single from this album “I Want Your Sex” was banned because of the lyrics. The album reached number two on the charts. The album sold over 25 million copies. In addition to “I Want Your Sex,” the hit singles include “Faith,” “Father Figure,” “One More Try” and “Monkey.” This album was so successful that he was able to do a world tour. Aretha Franklin joined him on the tour to sing “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” The tour was the second highest grossing tour of 1988. It earned more than $17 million dollars. He received numerous awards for this album. Despite the success of the album, he wasn’t happy. Everything he did to promote the album stressed him out. He felt isolated and frustrated with the process.
In 1990, George Michael let his record company know that he didn’t want to go through the stress he went through with the first album. He released Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in 1990. He wanted to be taken more seriously as an artist. He wanted people to see him as a serious songwriter. He didn’t want to promote the album. He also didn’t want to appear in any of the videos for the singles. The album wasn’t as successful as its predecessor despite reaching number two on the charts. It sold eight million copies, which was much less than what Faith sold. It wasn’t a flop by any means, but it didn’t do as well as Faith. The album features the number one single “Praying for Time.” It was his last number one solo single in the United States. It also features the singles “Waiting for That Day,” “Freedom ’90,” “Heal the Pain,” “Cowboys and Angels” and “Soul Free.”
When Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 ended up being considered a flop, he landed in legal trouble with his record label. He was supposed to do a follow up to this album, but the label scrapped it. George Michael blamed the record company for not supporting his second album. The label thought he was responsible because he wouldn’t appear in the videos. George Michael didn’t record a studio album for six years. He only released singles. The singles performed better overseas than they did in the United States. In 1996, he released his third album Older. The album was a success in Europe, but didn’t do that well in the United States. It features the singles “Jesus to a Child,” “Fastlove,” “Spinning the Wheel,” “Older,” “Star People ‘97” and “You Have Been Loved.” The album managed to sell over a million copies. All of the singles on this album were top three U.K. hits. He broke a record having the most singles debut in the top three from one album.
George Michael worked on the single “If I Told You That” with Whitney Houston. He produced the single with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins. The single was a hit for Whitney Houston and George Michael. He released Songs from the Last Century in 1999. This album features cover songs. It is mostly jazz songs. This is the only album in his career not to reach number one on the U.K. charts. This album peaked at 187 in the United States. It peaked at number two in the U.K. It features the singles “Roxanne,” “Miss Sarajevo” and “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.” This is one of his worst selling albums in the United States.
Michael took five years to record his next album Patience in 2004. It features the singles “Freeek,” “Shoot the Dog,” “Amazing,” “Flawless (Go to the City),” “Round Here” and “John and Elvis Are Dead.” Five out of the six singles were on the charts. ”Freeek,” “Amazing” and “Flawless (Go to the City)” were number one hits. He decided that Patience was going to be his last album available as a physical release. He was only releasing music through download. He wanted the sales to be donated to charity. He felt he accomplished enough in his career that he didn’t need the public’s money. He wanted to release his music for free. He wanted his fans to use the money to donate to charity. He stood his ground because this was his last album before his death.
George Michael managed to have quite a career before his death. He had a lot of ups and downs with his music as well as with his record label. He dealt with personal demons, but he overcame them. He was a philanthropist and spent the rest of his life donating to charities. George Michael has a plethora of songs in his arsenal, but this list had to be narrowed down to 10 songs. See which song made it to number one on this Top 10 George Michael Songs list.
# 10 – Monkey
The first song on our Top 10 George Michael Songs list is the strangely titled “Monkey” taken from the insanely popular Faith album. It is the sixth single from the album. This upbeat song is a dance rock song. It is about him wanting a person to choose between him and drugs. Monkey is a metaphor for drug addiction. This is an odd choice for a theme. There aren’t too many people who sing songs about having to choose between a relationship and drugs. It is a relevant theme because there are people in situations like this, but it is unusual to hear it in a song. This song had the potential of being a novelty song because of the title. It may not have been taken seriously because of it.
George Michael wanted the song to have melody with chords and it was the right decision. His vocals are pretty good. He sounds similar to Freddie Mercury. He uses different pitches in the song. He sings in his normal tenor tone as well as in falsetto. He uses his lower register in the background. It shows he has excellent versatility. Here is some trivia about the song. George Michael wanted to work with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis after hearing the remix to Janet Jackson’s “Nasty.” Jam and Lewis produced this song.
# 9 – Fastlove
The next song on our Top 10 George Michael Songs list is the dance friendly “Fastlove.” This song was taken from the pop inspired Older album. This buoyant song has an r&b disco sound. This song is about him not staying in a relationship with someone. This was a different take for him because he usually sang songs about staying in a relationship with someone. This time around he is making it clear that he has no intention of staying with the person. The song has a sensual and sleek groove. The music is very danceable. There’s no way to sit still while listening to it. The sample of Patrice Rushen’s “Forget Me Nots” gives the song something extra. It makes the song pop. This song manages to be catchy without much of a hook. It is basically a bunch of verses that are repeated. He takes a breathy approach to the song. He sounds lustful as he is letting his lover know that he doesn’t plan on staying in the relationship.
# 8 – One More Try
This heartfelt ballad is the fifth single from the spectacular Faith album. This genuine song has a soft rock and blue-eyed soul sound. The song is about not being able to move on with his new love because he was hurt in the past. The music is soft and compelling. George Michael sings this song with a lot of soul. He vocalizes early in the song. It is easy to tell that this profound song is personal to George Michael. His vocals are very passionate the louder he gets in the song. He doesn’t hold long notes, but he does belt throughout the song. He doesn’t allow the music to overpower him. He is louder than the music. The song does feature a long musical pause that might be a turn off if you don’t like long pauses in a song. Other than that, the song is impeccable.
# 7 – Faith
This cheery song is the second single from the extremely popular album with the same name. This catchy song has a rock and pop inspired beat. This song is about him having hope and optimism. It starts off with the sample of “Freedom” from his Wham! days. He was distancing himself from that type of music. The music has a lot going on. It has incredible guitar strumming. The synthesizer sounds incredible. There are handclaps and finger snapping throughout the music. This addition could have been annoying, but it fits in the song. George Michael’s vocals are tight. He wanted to sing this similar to Prince. He was almost successful with his goal except Prince didn’t sing with a growl the way George Michael did in this song. The growl works because it makes him sound more aggressive. It’s easy to separate his vocals from his previous work with Wham!. He doesn’t showcase any vocal tricks, but they weren’t necessary in order for the song to work.
# 6 – As ft. Mary J. Blige
This spicy cover from the fantastic greatest hits album Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael. This inspiring song has an r&b and pop sound. This single wasn’t released in the United States, but it was an international hit. The song wasn’t released in the United States because of his arrest. Michael and Blige don’t stray too far away from the original version recorded by the legendary Stevie Wonder. They add runs that Stevie Wonder didn’t add. It is also a duet. Stevie Wonder sings his version by himself. Wonder’s version is the more superior one, but this is an excellent cover. George Michael takes a backseat in the vocals. He allows Blige to take over the song. She sings her part as if she is taking you to church. George Michael should have sung in the song more than he did. He missed opportunities to vocalize in the song. With that said, it is a good cover of the classic song.
# 5 – I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
This joyous and uplifting song is from Aretha Franklin’s eponymous album. This has an r&b, pop and rock beat. This infectious song is about a person waiting for the one they love. Michael wanted to work with Aretha Franklin because she is one of his favorite artists. He wanted to write and produce a song for her, but he was busy with Wham! and couldn’t do it. He was nervous about working with her because she was one of his favorite artists. He had no reason to be nervous because their voices were a perfect match for each other. Their voices blended well together. Their styles are completely different so it could have been a disaster, but it wasn’t. Their differences worked well for the song. They both use a double throughout the track. She uses a growl while he belts throughout the song. They have superb harmony in the chorus. They sound like one person in the bridge. They should have recorded another duet with each other.
# 4 – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
The next song on our Top 10 George Michael Songs list is the beautiful ballad “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” taken from Elton John’s Duets album. This has a soft rock beat. This duet is a live version of Elton’s John’s original song. This version was a bigger hit than Elton John’s 1974 version. It is easy to see why because this song is superb. George Michael and Elton John stick to the same formula as the original version except this version is live. George Michael was originally supposed to sing this song alone, but he invited John to sing it with him and they recorded it as a duet. George Michael sounds magnificent. He has stupendous vocalization. He belts throughout the song. He sings softly during the quieter moments of the song and sings loudly during the louder moments. George Michael and John’s vocals sound similar except George Michael has more power in his voice. George Michael sings the song as if he wrote it. It’s easy to forget that it’s a cover song.
# 3 – I Want Your Sex
This sexually inspired song is from the phenomenal Faith album. It has a dance, pop and funk sound. This scandalous song is about him convincing his lover to have sex with him. This controversial song took a lot of heat when it was released. People didn’t like the graphic nature of the lyrics. People didn’t want to play the song because of the promiscuous lyrics. George Michael didn’t see it as controversial because he wanted to have sex with his lover and not a stranger. This song was a great way to separate himself from the clean-cut image he had with Wham!. George Michael played all of the music. The synthesizer and drums drive the song. It makes you want to get up and dance. He shows vocal versatility by singing in his upper and lower registers. He holds a soul-wrenching note in the bridge that was a pleasant surprise because it was unexpected given the nature of the song. The only complaint about this song is he is hard to understand in some of the lyrics.
# 2 – Freedom 90
This anthemic song is from the message filled Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 album. This midtempo inspirational song has a pop and funk sound. This song is about his independence. He is trying stray away from the work he did with Wham!. He struggled with being taken seriously as a songwriter and this song is about that struggle. The chorus is infectious and catchy. It’s easy to sing along with it because there isn’t much to it. It’s a simple chorus. The piano and guitar riffs are addictive. The music also contains elements of gospel. The music was a great match with his soaring vocals. His vocals are soulful as he is screaming out in protest for his freedom. There aren’t enough words to describe how great this song is. It deserved its spot in the top two on this list.
# 1 – Father Figure
We have arrived at the number one song on the Top 10 George Michael Songs list with the haunting “Father Figure” taken from the highly addictive Faith album. This has a soft rock and r&b beat. This beautiful song is about loving someone flaws and all. Here is some trivia about the song. George Michael wanted this to be a midtempo dance song when he first wrote it. When he listened to the demo, he decided it would have been better if it were slower. He made the right choice because the song might have lost something if it were faster. The music is mesmerizing and sensual. It’s very rhythmic and has a great flow.
The song changes to a gospel song when he sings the chorus. The song has a misleading title. If you go by the title, it seems as if it is about being a good influence on someone. You would have to pay attention to the lyrics to realize that it is a love song. His voice is layered because he sounds as if he’s using a double in the hook. He has outstanding harmonies in the hook. His vocals are excellent throughout the song. It’s easy to see why this gem was number one on the charts and number one on this list.