On Christmas Day, the world was blown away by the news of George Michael's passing. The singer left behind a memorable, self-made body of work that defined an entire decade and led the charge for what it mean to be a pop star shedding their teen idol past. In honor of his life, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite songs from his solo career. Here are the results.
George Michael is a moody crooner in "One More Try," the blue-eyed soul ballad off his debut solo album Faith. It became a Number One hit on both the Adult Contemporary and R&B/Hip-Hop charts, continuing a hot streak for the then-24-year-old's budding career outside of Wham!
Interpolating the famous Bo Diddley beat that personified old school rock & roll, Michael combined the new with the old for one of the biggest songs of the Eighties. The track was a Number One hit, becoming one of the longest-running Number Ones of 1987 and was later named the biggest single of 1988.
Released while Michael was still in Wham!, "Careless Whisper" was technically his first solo single and contains one of the most iconic saxophone solos of the Eighties. The track had been written by Michael and Andrew Ridgeley while they were teenagers and long before Wham! blew up on the pop charts. The song was an international success, showing what the singer-songwriter would be capable of doing on his own.
Subversively sensual, "Father Figure" became the most elusive and haunting of Michael's early solo hits. In the song, he croons about an all-consuming romantic relationship, and the ambiguity and coded messages of many lyrics made it clear to many listeners that the song was one of his earliest public addresses of his private relationships and sexuality.
"Freedom" remains one of the most self-reflective, self-aware pop singles of all time, with Michael directly addressing his rise, his appeal and his desire to stick around while being able to expressive himself creatively with no restrictions. The song even shares a title with a Wham! song, but so as to not confuse listeners, the year is added. The David Fincher-directed video served as a piece of legendary art from his history with supermodels like Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford lip-synching to the song.