George Michael: 20 Essential Songs

The best of the pop icon's hits, duets and reinventions

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"Careless Whisper" (1984)

Before Wham! disbanded, Michael began planting the seeds for his even-more thriving solo career with "Careless Whisper," a soulful, saxophone-laden ballad. Still, the song had a bit of Wham! in it, having been co-written by his bandmate Andrew Ridgeley when the pair were teenagers and before their duo took off. The track was a Number One hit internationally, thanks in large part to the deep pathos of the infidelity-themed lyrics. "I'm still a bit puzzled why it's made such an impression on people," Michael said in a 2009 interview. "Is it because so many people have cheated on their partners? Is that why they connect with it? I have no idea, but it's ironic that this song — which has come to define me in some way — should have been written right at the beginning of my career when I was still so young. I was only 17 and didn't really know much about anything – and certainly nothing much about relationships."

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