1) Too Funky
George’s forte as a musician was to create brilliant, memorable dance-pop or sincere, aching ballads. This song falls into the former and is a plea for sexual activity, utilising a spoken clip from 1967 film ‘The Graduate’.
2) A Different Corner
George once said the following about his second solo single: “I think you can tell that ‘A Different Corner’ is genuinely the sound of a man who’s heart’s been broken. I was 19 and the best critique I ever heard of that song was from a friend of mine who said, ‘It’s beautiful, pathetic, but beautiful.'”
3) Cowboys and Angels
A brilliantly written jazz song which Michael revealed to be about a bizarre love triangle in which a woman was in love with him whilst he was in love with a man.
4) I knew You Were Waiting For Me (with Aretha Franklin)
It takes courage and a belter of a vocal to come anywhere near those of soul diva Aretha Franklin but thankfully George rose to the challenge to sing with one of his idols. A brilliant, powerful track with a killer chorus.
One of the best pop tracks from the 90’s, this was one of the more uptempo moments from the overall melancholic and brooding nature of ‘Older’. It is unusual in that it has no conventional chorus but its utilisation of hip-hop beats, brass instruments and lyrics about sexual desire make it one of Michael’s stand out tracks of his career and this was a huge hit in 1996.
A sweet acoustic guitar-driven track which refreshingly used elements of acid-jazz and dance-pop. A testament to his partner of the time Kenny Goss, this piece of pop perfection was a hit single from George’s final album of all new material ‘Patience’.
A filthy electropop track which utilises multiple samples from a variety of pop & hip hop tracks to formulate its expensive-sounding production. The video is pretty sexy too…
8) Freedom! 90
An all time classic which George famously performed at the London 2012 Olympics. The video is also noteworthy due to the absence of George and instead it featuring five supermodels lipsynching its lyrics.
9) Spinning the Wheel
One of George’s most underrated works. A jazz-pop track which utilises brass instruments and a funky bass line over hip-hop beats, this track depicts the worry of a lover whose partner is sexually promiscuous during an age where AIDS was newly discovered and prevalent in the West.
10) John & Elvis Are Dead
Another of George’s most underrated works. This psychadelic Pop track documents a character who awakes from a coma to find many iconic singers have died. Slightly eerie now, considering George himself has joined them.
A stunning ballad from George’s final album of original material ‘Patience’. Utilising little more than strings and meticulously programmed synthesizers, this desperate ballad presents a man worn down by life and pushed to the edge.
12) I Can’t Make You Love Me
The original, of course is a country ballad by Bonnie Raitt. George covered this for his ‘MTV Unplugged’ session and performed perhaps the best version. His vocals are aching with sincerity and it is by far one of the most emotional and pure versions of this beautiful song.
Stunning, space-y track which was previously unreleased prior to its inclusion on George’s 25 greatest hits album. George has said this track is a follow up to Wham! classic ‘Everything She Wants’ but is far more melancholic and sincere in nature.
14) Father Figure
Another classic, this soul-infused Pop track reportedly began life as a dance track until Michael removed the percussion and realised it worked better at a slower tempo.
15) Jesus to a Child
Gorgeous, heartbreaking ballad which George wrote in tribute to his Brazillian lover Anselmo Feleppa who died of AIDS in 1993. Utilising Bossa Nova music (a genre of Brazillian music which fuses samba and jazz music together), George apparently suffered severe writer’s block following Feleppa’s death but eventually wrote this track in under an hour. Following George’s death, Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of charity Childline revealed that Michael had secretly donated all of the song’s royalties to the charity.
16) Waltz Away Dreaming (with Toby Bourke)
Another little-known tracks by George which was originally written by Irish singer-songwriter Toby Bourke. Bourke was signed to Michael’s label and Michael reportedly loved the song so much, he ended up featuring on and co-producing the gorgeous ballad.
Brilliant, funky disco-track which parodies the infamous 1998 toilet incident in which Michael was arrested in a Beverly Hills lavatory for engaging in a lewd act. George handled the incident brilliantly, talking openly and frankly on many talk shows after the incident and this song and its accompanying video is a self-deprecating, humorous version of events.
One of George’s best known/well-loved tracks which was written in a rock and roll style.
19) Cars & Trains
A great track which lyrically tells of a collection of self-destructing individuals. The production on this is particularly brilliant – the glitchy finish was way ahead of its time (this seems to litter much current pop music) and the meticulously programmed/layered track adds to its brilliance.
20) December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas)
We all know and love ‘Last Christmas’, of course. George was always critical of much of the material he wrote in Wham! and it’s likely this effort was written as an attempt to write a festive song with more credibility. It never quite achieved the same status as ‘Last Christmas’ but each are brilliant in their own way. This song was written with long-time writing partner David Austin and was initially released as a free download on George’s official website before finally being released a few years later. It’s a dark, melancholic and dreamy song but it’s George at his best and is not dissimilar from much of his best work on ‘Older’.