What Were George Michael’s 5 Biggest Hits of All Time?

George Michael was one of the biggest stars of the 1980s before falling off the cultural radar for some time. His untimely death in 2016 piqued many people’s interest in Michael’s music and personal life. For those who are nostalgic for his music or want to get into it for the first time, here are his five biggest hits on the Billboard Hot 100 both with and without Wham! You might be surprised which songs didn’t make the cut.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgely of Wham!
George Michael and Andrew Ridgely of Wham! | Chris Walter/WireImage

5. ‘Everything She Wants’

“Everything She Wants” has everything you could want in a pop hit. It’s dramatic, well-sung, and oddly danceable. The song’s beat sounds like funk music from another planet — as if Klingons produced Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” In some ways, the infectious rhythm might mask the dark lyrics, which are about someone questioning their commitment to their lover.  

“Everything She Wants”

RELATED: Wham!: The ‘Other Guy’ Andrew Ridgeley, His Net Worth, and Memories of George Michael

In that way, “Everything She Wants” typifies dark 1980s dance music. That era gave us songs made for the club that had unsettling lyrics, like “Billie Jean” or “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” While those hits are still radio staples, “Everything She Wants” deserves to get more airplay.

4. ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” is an incredibly upbeat-sounding song. If it catches you in the right mood, it could be a pick-me-up. If it catches you in the wrong mood, it can be incredibly grating.

“Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”

Regardless, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” has a melody that is impossible to forget. Ariana Grande’s hit “Bang Bang” has a chorus that sounds quite similar to part of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” so clearly the latter song was influential.

3. ‘One More Try’

Michael had an absolutely captivating voice. While he made some great dance songs, his vocals really shined on ballads. Michael really showed off his prowess as a singer with “One More Try.”

“One More Try”

RELATED: ‘Last Christmas’: How Are George Michael’s Songs Used In the Movie?

In addition, the instrumentation of “One More Try” is almost otherworldly. It sounds like the score of a sci-fi film combined with the music you’d hear during a Latin Mass. “One More Try” is a great example of how the 1980s were a wonderful time for power ballads.

2. ‘Careless Whisper’

“Careless Whisper” is ubiquitous. Rather, a few seconds of it is ubiquitous. The saxophone riff from the song has become known as “sexy sax” online and gets used in many comedic videos.

“Careless Whisper”

“Careless Whisper” has become a meme song. Many meme songs aren’t considered great songs, however, “Careless Whisper” is actually a top-tier 1980s pop. It combines Shakespearean themes of lust, regret, and sadness into a top 40-friendly package.

1. ‘Faith’

Many superb songs from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love” compare love to a religious experience. “Faith” was Michael’s stab at the same subject.

“Faith”

RELATED: ‘Last Christmas’: Which George Michael Songs Are on the Movie’s Soundtrack?

It’s got an energetic beat reminiscent of early rock ‘n’ roll. The song spoke to multiple generations when a cover by Limp Bizkit started getting radio play in the late 1990s. “Faith” works just as well as a pop song as it does as a rap-rock song, which shows how great it is.