He started off as one half of the pop duo Wham!, along with Andrew Ridgeley, who was most successful during the 1980s. After the group broke up in 1986, he found further success as a solo star. Known for taking a long time to make albums (five albums in 26 years), and media controversy due to his drug use and alleged solicitation of a police officer (which was actually a sting operation).
- Faith (1987)
- Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1 (1990)
- Older (1996)
- Songs from the Last Century (1999)
- Patience (2004)
- Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael (1998)
- Twenty Five (2006)
- Symphonica (2014)
- Five Live (with Queen) (1993)
- "Careless Whisper" (1984)
- "A Different Corner" (1986)
- "Faith" (1987)
- "Father Figure" (1987)
- "Praying for Time" (1990)
- "Outside" (1998)
'Cause I gotta have tropes:
- Album Title Drop: Faith and Older in their respective Title Tracks.
- Break-Up 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.
- Cover Version:
- 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.
- "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 Baghdad Cafe by Jevetta Steele.
- Crazy Homeless People: "Crazy Man Dance" from the "Too Funky" maxi-single (and on the 2017 reissue of Listen Without Prejudice, Volume 1) sings about these kind of people being in New York.
- Cyberpunk: The video for "Freeek!" takes place in this kind of setting.
- Dead Artists Are Better: He spent the last decade of his life dealing with various run-ins with the police and the paparazzi, in essence becoming the butt of the joke in British tabloids. After his sudden death, his music returned to the music charts. The posthumous revelation that Michael was heavily (albeit anonymously) involved in charity work also helped his image.
- Distinct Double Album: His compilation Ladies and Gentlemen with the first disc of ballads, and the second one of pop and dance tracks.
- Domestic Abuse: The topic of "Look At Your Hands".
- Dream Team: Did duets with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Elton John, Mary J. Blige, Paul McCartney, Mutya Buena, Jody Watley, and performed live duets with Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Luciano Pavarotti, Beyoncé, and Queen.
- Drugs Are Bad: His song "Monkey" from Faith is about drug abuse, according to George's official website.Why can't you do it?Why can't you set your monkey free?Always giving in to itDo you love the monkey or do you love me?
- Epic Rocking: At just a hair under six minutes, "One More Try" was one of the longest songs to ever hit #1 on the US charts.
- Fashion Show: George's "Too Funky" video has actual famous models of the era (including Linda Evangelista and Tyra Banks) and the impressive sight of 58-year-old Julie Newmar still rocking a catsuit.
- 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 babyBut I'm showing you the door!
- 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.
- 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, which were dedicated to his lover Anselmo Feleppa.
- Intercourse with You: "I Want Your Sex", "Too Funky", "Freeek!", and "Fastlove" are notable examples. "Outside" was an ode to outdoor sex and a cheeky reference to his infamous 1998 arrest.
- 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.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Careless Whisper", which has the quintessential Sexophone riff, is actually about the guilt of someone having lost their lover because they cheated on them.
- My God, What Have I Done?: "Careless Whisper" is about him cheating on a lover and feeling really guilty about it.
- Nice Guy: After his death, it was revealed that he donated to charitable causes, even giving a free concert for nurses to thank them for taking care of his mother while she was dying of cancer.
- Nice to the Waiter: After his death, stories circulated over how generous of a tipper he was, such as paying off a student nurse's debts one time.
- Non-Appearing Title: "One More Try" just barely averts it, with the final three words of the lyrics.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: "Free" sounds literally nothing at all like any of his other songs, being an experimental instrumental that sounds more like something Mr. Hahn would put together, and that's even despite obvious musical homages to other songs on Older, the album it closes.
- Perma-Stubble: One of his trademarks was sporting various facial hairstyles, to the point that an article paying tribute to him after he died jokingly referred to him as a "beard experimenter".
- 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".
- "Flawless" motivates the listener to know: "I think you know that you are more than just some fucked up piece of ass"
- "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?"
- Rearrange the Song: The b-side "Blue (Armed With Love)" is a lyrically sparse demo. To pad out their somewhat limited live setlist, the song was given a full set of lyrics and this was recorded first for a performance on The Tube, and more formally as "Blue [Live In China]".
- 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?
- The video for "Outside" is a reference to his infamous 1998 arrest outside a men's bathroom.
- The song itself has samples of radio reports of his arrest, and the lyric "I'd service the community, but I already have, you see" alludes to his sentence for the offense.
- His cameo appearances on shows like Extras and other comedy sketches also poked fun at his colorful personal life.
- The video for "Outside" is a reference to his infamous 1998 arrest outside a men's bathroom.
- Sex Is Good: From "I Want Your Sex (Part 1)":Sex is natural, sex is good.Not everybody does it, but everybody should.
- Sexophone: "Careless Whisper" is a dark one, as it features a saxophone riff but the song is about the guilt of adultery.
- "Fastlove" features it as well but plays it straight.
- "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, a line from The Tony Hancock Show episode "The Radio Ham":Will you stop playing with that radio of yours? I'm trying to get to sleep.
- And at the end, a line from The Tony Hancock Show episode "The Radio Ham":
- 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.
- The video for "Freedom '90" does this to his sex symbol image that he gained during his Faith period (both the album and the video, which he was never comfortable with), deliberately making a point of not appearing in the video himself and allowing items connected to that era such as the guitar and jukebox exploding and the leather jacket hanging in a closet suddenly catching fire.
- Title Track: Faith, Older, and Patience.
- Vocal Evolution: While he's sounded pretty much the same from his Wham! days through Older (and arguably Songs from the Last Century), his voice from Patience onward is noticeably deeper and slightly raspier, partially due to age but also due to his drug use.