George Michael & Elton John – “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – (1991)

Obviously this song was a big hit for Elton John in 1974, reaching #2 on the Hot 100. In 1991, he and George Michael performed the song as a duet during the Live Aid concert. This version went to #1 on the Hot 100 and on charts around the world. This version was included on Elton John’s 1993 album Duets. The first part of the song is George Michael just blowing everyone away with incredible vocals and then he brings out Elton who kills it. This is an amazing version. It’s two incredible voices battling it out and we all win.

Aretha Franklin & George Michael – “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” – (1986)

This extremely 80s-sounding song from Aretha Franklin and George Michael was a #1 hit on the Hot 100. This was the era of Aretha’s pop resurgence and George Michael was a really big deal in 1986. I’ll be honest, this is a pretty good song with pretty good vocals. Sure it sounds a little dated (like it came out of a Beverly Hills Cop movie or something) but I still like it.

George Michael – “Waiting For That Day” – (1990)

This song is sometimes subtitled “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” – and that’s because it sounds similar to the Rolling Stones song of the same name. George Michael wrote this song independently and later realized how similar it sounded, so he gave Mick Jagger and Keith Richards credit (presumably to avoid a lawsuit). Amazingly, this was George Michael’s first single to not make it into the top 10 in the U.S. – it only reached #27.

George Michael – “Freedom! 90” – (1990)

Here is one of George Michael’s best songs – and he’s had some awesome songs. This is one of those songs that has that “anthem” type feel to it. It’s upbeat but it builds and builds to the chorus in which George Michael is sort of yelling “Freedom!” behind George Michael who is also singing the chorus. The music video was directed by David Fincher… who also directed the music video for “Cradle of Love,” which we featured a few weeks ago. Fun fact, the “90” in the title is only there to differentiate it from the Wham! song that was called “Freedom.” It was a top ten hit in the U.S. and remains one of his most popular songs, even if it sounds a little older than it is (and even though the title clearly states what decade it came out in).

Wham! – “Everything She Wants” – (1984)

This was the third #1 from Make it Big and it’s not as good as “Careless Whisper” but it’s still pretty good. Apparently this is George Michael’s favorite Wham! song and he still performs it at his solo shows. The best part of this song is the high-pitched “All to give you money – all to give you money” followed by some kind of squeal or something. If Wham! could have continued to produce songs like this they would still be huge.

#2 – Wham! featuring George Michael – “Careless Whisper” – (1984)

But George Michael was already on this list. Well, in the U.S., this song was credited to Wham! featuring George Michael, plus it was released on a Wham! studio album. But it doesn’t matter – listen to that sax. This song screams “80s” louder than just about any song I can think of. George Michael’s vocals are amazing. This song was a #1 in ten countries. It’s a tremendous break-up song and I don’t know what else to say about it other than how good it is, so I’ll just give you the lyrics of the chorus: “I’m never gonna dance again / guilty feet have got no rhythm / though it’s easy to pretend / I know you’re not a fool. / I should’ve know better than to cheat a friend / and waste this chance that I’ve been given. / So I’m never gonna dance again / the way I danced with you.”

#12 – George Michael – “Father Figure” – (1987)

George Michael is one of my favorite artists to come out of the 80s. Hmm. Poor choice of words there. Of all his solo work, this is my favorite and I think, his best, song. It’s kind of slow, but the chorus is loud and very church-choir-ish. And unlike almost every song ever recorded, the lyrics on this track are completely discernable. I can pick up every word he says (and sing along, loudly), without having to look up lyrics. His voice is clear – and that is rare. In the music video, George is sporting “his look” – big sunglasses, leather jacket and giant cross earring. Faith was his biggest album, generating four #1 singles and a #2 single.