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Music / George Michael

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"I've achieved what every artist wants, which is that some of their work will outlive them."
"I still believe that music is one of the greatest gifts that God gave to man."

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou (25 June 1963 - 25 December 2016), better known as George Michael, was an English singer-songwriter and former lead singer of Wham! who was most successful during the 1980s. 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).

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:


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

Live Albums

  • 1993: Five Live (with Queen)
  • 2014: Symphonica

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Christmas Songs: "Last Christmas" by Wham!
  • 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.
    • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 set your monkey free?
    Always giving in to it
    Do you love your 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.
  • Expository Theme Tune: Wham Rap! explains the band's philosophy of having a good time, explaining that working is for losers.
  • 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 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Wham's cover of "Love Machine", regarded as filler at the time, actually prefigures George's success with cover versions later in his career, for example of Queen's "Somebody To Love".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?"
    • 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'.
    • To a milder degree, "I don't know what the hell you want from me" on Wham!'s "Everything She Wants".
  • 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!"
  • Sampling:
    • "White Light" samples The BBC News theme.
    • "Freeek!" samples Aaliyah's "Try Again" and Q-Tip's "Breathe and Stop".
  • 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?
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The video for "Outside" is a reference to his infamous 1998 arrest outside a men's bathroom.
    • His cameo appearances on shows like Extras and other comedy sketches also poked fun at his colorful personal life.
  • Sexophone: "Careless Whisper" is a dark one, as it features a saxophone riff, but the song is about the guilt of Your Cheating Heart.
  • 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, 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.
  • 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