Music / George Michael

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (born 25 June 1963), better known as George Michael, is an English singer and former lead singer of Wham!. Most successful during the 1980s. Known for taking a long time to make albums (five albums so far in 26 years), and media controversy due to his drug use and alleged solicitation of a police officer (which was actually a sting operation).

Michael's band Wham! are covered here also.

Wham! Albums:

  • 1983: Fantastic
  • 1984: Make It Big
  • 1986: Music from the Edge of Heaven

Solo Albums:

  • 1987: Faith
  • 1990: Listen Without Prejudice (Volume 1)
  • 1996: Older
  • 1999: Songs From The Last Century (Cover Album)
  • 2004: Patience


  • 1986: The Final
  • 1988: 12" Singles
  • 1997: The Best of Wham!: If You Were There...
  • 1998: Ladies And Gentlemen

Notable Singles:

  • 1984: "Careless Whisper"
  • 1986: "A Different Corner"
  • 1987: "Faith"
  • 1987: "Father Figure"
  • 1990: "Praying For Time"
  • 1998: "Outside"

'Cause I gotta have tropes:

  • Album Title Drop: Faith and Older in their respective Title Tracks.
  • Badass Beard: Eventually settled for this after several years of Perma-Stubble.
  • Breakup Breakout: When George Michael left Wham! he got even more successful. Andrew Ridgeley on the other hand released one album, to minimal success, and then retired.
  • Breakup Song: A few, most notably "Faith" and "Freedom '90".
  • Burn Baby Burn: In the video for "Freedom '90", one of the models sets fire to George's iconic leather jacket which was used in his "Faith" video, to symbolize his moving past the image he made for himself around the time of his first solo album. Two other objects from the same video, a jukebox and his acoustic guitar, are set to explode during the chorus.
  • Canon Discontinuity: In 1983, Wham's label Inner Vision had already put out four out of eight songs as singles from Fantastic, and couldn't decide on a fifth, so mixed three songs together to become the Club Fantastic Megamix, which was released as a 12" and 7". This was put out without consulting the band members, who disliked the mix and don't count it as part of their discography.
    • The band's only original B Side, "Blue (Armed With Love)" has never appeared on CD outside of a hard to get Club Tropicana 3 inch single from Japan. The band also did a live version, which is on CD as part of Music From The Edge Of Heaven, a US/Canada/Japan album which came out instead of The Final over there. However the two versions are quite different with the live version having more lyrics, and having crowd noise and a spoken intro, in which Michael describes the song as a song that is very personal to him. This makes it particularly unusual the studio version isn't on CD, because Michael has been known to prefer his mature Wham! songs over the more poppy ones.
  • Christmas Songs: "Last Christmas" by Wham!
  • Cover Version: As well as his Cover Album (below) Many, often released as B Sides. A lesser known one is Freedom '90 (Back To Reality Mix), which is actually a cover of Soul II Soul's Back To Life, with a few of the lyrics from Freedom '90 thrown in to give Michael a co-writing credit.
    • Wham did three, one per album - Love Machine (The Miracles cover on Fantastic), If You Were There (Isley Brothers cover on Make It Big), and Where Did Your Heart Go? (Was Not Was cover on Music From The Edge Of Heaven) respectively. There is also a brief, backstage singalong to Del Shannon's Runaway on the Foreign Skies: Live In China VHS, which is listed as a separate track despite not being one. In the case of the Love Machine cover, it was a last minute replacement for Careless Whisper, which the band were convinced to save for their next album due to it being seen as too mature for their image at the time (Careless Whisper had appeared on the demo tape that got them signed). The cover of If You Were There lent its name to a Wham compilation and featured on it, and is one of George Michael's favorite Wham recordings. Where Did Your Heart Go has the distinction of being the last Wham single.
    • "They Won't Go When I Go" by Stevie Wonder from Listen Without Prejudice.
    • Live recordings such as "What A Fool Believes" by the Doobie Brothers and "Victims" by Culture Club.
  • Cover Album: Songs From The Last Century, which was largely recorded as a contractual obligation.
    • Five Live is an EP featuring live covers, such as "Somebody To Love" and "These Are The Days Of Our Lives" by Queen, "Killer" by Seal, "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" by The Temptations, and "Calling You" from Bagdad Cafe by Jevetta Steele.
  • Cyber Punk: The video for "Freeek!" takes place in this kind of setting.
  • Distinct Double Album: His compilation Ladies And Gentlemen with a first disc of ballads, and second one of pop and dance tracks.
    • He planned this for Listen Without Prejudice, but the proposed Volume 2 never happened due to record company disputes.
  • Domestic Abuse: The topic of "Look At Your Hands".
  • Drugs Are Bad: His song "Monkey" from Faith is about drug abuse, according to George's official website.
    Why can't you set your monkey free?
    Always giving in to it
    Do you love your monkey or do you love me?
  • Estuary accent, NW London subgroup. His speaking voice is in noticeable contrast to his soulful trans-Atlantic singing style.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Wham Rap! explains the band's philosophy of having a good time, explaining that working is for losers.
  • Freudian Excuse: "Star People"'s refrain seems to suggest this:
    Maybe your momma gave you up, boy.
    Maybe your daddy didn't love you enough, girl.'
  • Get Out: In "Faith":
    Well it takes a strong man baby
    But I'm showing you the door!
  • Gold Digger: "Everything She Wants" by Wham!, with George Michael singing as a husband who married a woman with an insatiable appetite for all the things she can get out of him.
  • Greatest Hits Album: Ladies and Gentlemen and Twenty Five, both double disc sets. In the case of Twenty Five there was a limited three CD version available as well. His previous band Wham! have The Final, and the more widely available (but less thorough) The Best Of Wham!
  • Greed: The topic of "Praying For Time".
    The rich declare themselves poor,
    And most of us are not sure if we have too much,
    But we'll take our chances,
    'Cause God's stopped keeping score.
  • Grief Song: "Jesus To A Child" and "You Have Been Loved" from Older, dedicated to his lover Anselmo Feleppa.
  • Instrumentals: "Free", the closing track on Older.
  • Intercourse with You: "I Want Your Sex", "Too Funky", "Freeek!", and "Fastlove" are notable examples.
  • Let's Duet: "I Knew You Were Waiting For Me" with Aretha Franklin, and "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me" with Elton John.
  • Lighter and Softer: His album Patience was more upbeat than the previous Older.
  • Perpetual Frowner: The page image is one of the only times you'll see him smiling in a promotional image.
  • Precision F-Strike: In "Star People" from Older: "Who gives a fuck about your problems, darlin', 'cause you can pay the rent."
    • Also "all that bullshit conversation" from "Fastlove".
    • "When you shake your ass, they notice fast" from "Freedom '90".
    • From "Battlestations" from Music From The Edge Of Heaven: "Why lie to my face? When you can have a tape machine that gives me bullshit in your place?"
    • The original 'Unsocial' mix of "Wham Rap" is full of the stuff:'You don't take no shit from the benefit', 'Cut the radio bullshit, this is how it be', 'Well i don't give a shit man can't you see'. Wham Rap '86 also includes the first of these lines. The Unsocial Mix has been mostly covered up by the Social Mix US Remix, which was the one included on Fantastic and The Final, and hasn't appeared on CD. Both variations of the song have "Come on everybody, don't need this crap" and "Give a wham give a bam but don't give a damn". Wham! styled themselves as rebellious young men who didn't want to work, thus the use of the lyrics. Pretty obvious that George really likes the words 'shit' and 'bullshit'.
  • Robosexual: "Freeek!" has a hint of this with George repeatedly saying "I think I need a reboot-y!"
  • Second Coming: Jesus' second coming is alluded to in "Praying For Time."
    And you cling to the things they sold you.
    Did you cover your eyes when they told you
    That He can't come back
    'Cause He has no children to come back for?
  • Shout-Out
    • To Doris Day in Wham!'s "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," and to MTV in "Freedom '90".
    • "Waiting For That Day" shouts out to The Rolling Stones near the end when he does the refrain "You can't always get what you want."
    • "Fastlove" does one for Patrice Rushen's song "Forget Me Nots" when the female backup singer sings the chorus in the latter half.
  • Space Clothes: One of the models in "Too Funky" wears what appears to be a metallic cyber swimsuit.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate in "Too Funky".
    I am not trying to seduce you. Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?
    • And at the end:
    Will you stop playing with that radio of yours? I'm trying to get to sleep.
  • Straight Gay: George himself, who was outed around the time of Ladies And Gentlemen.
  • Take That: In the video for "Fastlove", one of the people in it wear headphones that are marked FONY, a jab at George's at-the-time former record label Sony.
  • Title Track: Faith, Older, and Patience.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Two Wham! songs deal with cheating in various ways "Last Christmas" features a protagonist who's just broken up with his partner because his partner cheated on him, but "this year to save" the protagonist "from tears" on Christmas, he'll give his heart "to someone special". Then there's "Careless Whisper", a song where the protagonist is the cheater and is feeling extremely guilty about having done so. ("Guilty feet have got no rhythm", "Should've known better than to cheat a friend/The wasted chance that I've been given", etc.)

Alternative Title(s): WHAM