George Michael: 20 Essential Songs

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

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"Outside" (1998)

Following his 1998 arrest for lewdness in a public lavatory, Michael responded in biting, unrepentant fashion with "Outside" – the lead single from his greatest hits collection Ladies & Gentlemen. "I think I'm done with the couch/I think I'm done with the hall/I think I'm done with the kitchen table, baby," he groans in a deep, slightly unsettling tone. Despite the legal ramifications of his arrest, he laughed off the incident and the idea of vanilla sex with this lush disco track about the illicit thrills of fucking in the great outdoors. Considering the prurient subject matter, the track – produced by Michael – actually sounds like vibe music for a glitzy cocktail party, dusted with elegant strings, wah-wah guitar and gently cooing backing vocals. It's a subversive bit of sleaze from a star who was clearly no longer bound by heteronormativity.

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