George Michael (born June 25, 1963 | died December 25, 2016 ) was an English-Greek pop singer/songwriter who (as a solo artist and one half of the duo WHAM!) has sold an estimated total of 80 million records.
It wasn’t until he formed the duo Wham! together with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 that success came for Michael. The band’s first album, Fantastic!, was an instant success, and within a year they had released their classic debut single, Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do). Their second single, Young Guns (Go For It), became the first in a string of Top 10 hits in the UK singles chart. They were rapidly followed by titles such as Bad Boys, Club Tropicana, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, Freedom, Last Christmas/Everything She Wants, I’m Your Man and a second album, Make It Big. George also sang on the original Band Aid recording of Do They Know It’s Christmas and donated the profits from Last Christmas/Everything She Wants to the charity. He also added background vocals to David Cassidy’s 1985 hit The Last Kiss.
Wham!’s tour of China in April 1985 (the first visit to China by a Western pop act) generated enormous worldwide media coverage – much of it centred on George Michael. The tour was documented by celebrated film director Lindsay Anderson and producer Martin Lewis in their film Foreign Skies: Wham! In China and contributed to an ever-widening awareness of Michael as a personality.
With the success of his solo releases Careless Whisper (1984) and A Different Corner (1986) stories of an impending Wham! split intensified, and WHAM! separated in the summer of 1986 after a farewell single, The Edge of Heaven and album, plus a sell-out concert at Wembley Stadium that included the world premiere of the China film.
Some of his biggest hit singles as a solo artist include the single “Faith,” taken from his debut album Faith. The album not only became number one on both sides of the Atlantic but also resulted in four number one singles in America. In 1986 he dueted with both Aretha Franklin and Jody Watley. In 1989 he again sang backing vocals on a record called Heaven Help Me with long-time friend Deon Estus. The song was written by both of them, and just missed out on the British the top 40, reaching #5 in America.
“Careless Whisper” (written when he was seventeen) became one of the most played songs of the decade and voted Londoner’s Favourite record of all time in January, 1995, in a competition run jointly by the capital’s leading evening newspaper and radio station. He was then also voted Best Male Singer by the same radio station and by the readers of a national newspaper. Some of his other hits include “Father Figure”, “Kissing a Fool”, “One More Try”, “Freedom 90”, “Fastlove”, “Jesus to a Child” and “Dont Let the Sun Go Down on Me” (a duet with Elton John).