Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Members of Rock & Roll Heaven, Part 12

Our yearly salute continues with our tribute to one of the brightest stars whose flame was extinguished this year.  We lost him of all days on Christmas Day, less than a week ago:

George Michael, half of Wham! and a huge solo star, died December 25 in Goring-on-Thames, England at the age of 53 of heart failure.

With Andrew Ridgeley, Michael formed Wham! in the early '80s.  Four years later, the duo scored a #1 smash with "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go".

They enjoyed an even bigger hit with "Careless Whisper".

Wham! achieved a third #1 in a row with "Everything She Wants".

They made it four Top 5 hits in a row with "Freedom", all four from their album Make It Big.

Meanwhile, rumors persisted that Michael was going to quit the group to begin a solo career, and in fact, "Careless Whisper" was essentially his first solo single.  Michael made it official with the release of "A Different Corner" in 1986.

Prior to recording his first solo album, George hooked up with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, for this #1 song.

Michael released the album Faith in 1987, the ninth album in history to contain six Top 10 hits on one album.  In fact, all six reached the Top 5.  The title song rose to #1 for four weeks.

George enjoyed another of his biggest career hits with "Father Figure".

Just as he had done with Wham!, Michael scored his third #1 in a row with "One More Try".

Michael was unapologetic about recording music in the style of yesteryear, as evidenced by "Kissing A Fool".

In 1990, Michael released another amazing album, Listen Without Prejudice, with many of the songs in that same style.  "Praying For Time" hit #1.

Michael enjoyed another hit with "Freedom! 90".

He recorded "Mother's Pride" about the horrors of war.

We want to also include one of the several prime tracks on the album to give you a feel for the depth that the rest of the non-singles have.

Elton John once said about Michael:  "He's the greatest talent of his generation."  In 1991, Michael and Elton John performed Elton's hit "Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me".

Michael went on to amass 19 hits.  The world will miss his great music as yet another huge star leaves the earth in 2016.

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