As the apple mourns the accident of George Michael, who was begin dead on Christmas Day at age of 53, the Grammy winner’s music lives on — including a three-decade career of incomparable alive performances.
Here are 10 of the icon’s best:
1. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” (1984)
Okay, so he may accept been lip-syncing. But Wham!’s admission on the UK’s Top of the Pops in 1984 gave the apple its aboriginal glimpse of the full-throttle affection Michael put into his performances. Dressed in the band’s iconic “Choose Life” T-shirt, the afresh 21-year-old airtight and danced his way about the date with glee. It’s the absolute addition into a aerialist who would contentment audiences for decades to come.
2. “Careless Whisper” with Smokey Robinson (1985)
Though he was still in Wham! at the time, Michael essentially launched his abandoned career with his 1984 distinct “Careless Whisper.” Written by Michael and bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, the clue was off Wham!’s album Make it Big — but was billed as “Wham! featuring George Michael” to advance him as a abandoned singer. Over his career, Michael performed the all-around hit abounding times. His 1985 achievement with Smokey Robinson stands out, though. Still a adolescent accompanist at the time, it accepted that Michael had the aptitude and articulation to angle alongside one of music’s greatest performers.
3. “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with Elton John (1985/1991)
Elton John’s 1974 carol was injected with new activity in 1985, aback he and Michael performed the song calm on Bob Geldof’s celebrated Alive Aid concert. The song anon begin its way into Michael’s 1991 Awning to Awning tour, and for its aftermost show, Michael afraid the army with John — giving the two the befalling to reprise their affiliation again. That adaptation would be appear as a alive recording, which would top the Billboard Hot 100. No two gay performers accept done so since.
4. “Freedom 90” (1991)
To bless MTV’s 10th anniversary, ABC aired a appropriate alleged “MTV 10th Anniversary: Money for Nothing” — with artists attractive aback at a decade of greatest hits on the cable music network. Among the celebrity interviews were a scattering of performances from Madonna, Aerosmith, R.E.M., Michael Jackson — and Michael, who alms a stripped-down adaptation of “Freedom 90” that managed to make the chart-topping pop hit complete alike stronger.
5. “Somebody To Love” with Queen (1992)
It was April 20, 1992, and an admirers of over 70,000 aggregate at London’s Wembley Stadium for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness. Held a year afterwards the Queen frontman died of an AIDS-related illness, it was one of the better accessible movements for abutment for AIDS victims in history, with artists like Metallica, U2, Guns N’ Roses and Def Leppard demography the date to accession money for AIDS research. Queen rotated lead singers for their own continued set. Seal, David Bowie, Elton John — they all sang their way through some of the band’s better hits. But it was Michael’s about-face on the band’s “Somebody to Love” that absolutely bankrupt the mold. An affecting Michael powered through the tune — giving what is abundantly advised the best awning of the song ever.
6. “Living for the City” with Stevie Wonder (1997)
Michael and Stevie Wonder were longtime friends, accepting performed calm in 1995 on an alarming affiliation of “Love’s in Need of Love Today.” But it was their affiliation for 1997’s fourth anniversary VH1 Honors concert that archive Michael here. Airing from the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, the two abutting a continued account of chart-toppers for the account to accession money for music apprenticeship — including Prince, James Taylor, Steve Winwood, Chaka Khan, Sheryl Crow and the Wallflowers. They stood out from the backpack with a affiliation of Wonder’s “Living in the City” — an active and electric achievement that still inspires today.
7. “Praying for Time” (2008)
Fans were acclimated to seeing Michael as a vibrant singer. But in 2008, he appeared on the American Idol division 7 afterpiece and gave a frail, affecting performance. The poignant achievement came afterwards the top 10 Idol contestants sang their way through a assortment of his hits — giving alike added weight to the austere accent of the song.
8. “Faith” (2008)
It was his better hit — and in 2008, Michael showed that two decades afterwards its release, he still had “Faith.” Performing the hit at Earl’s Court, the accompanist had the army of bags on their anxiety the absolute time — singing and dancing forth to the blithesome hit. And with background video projections assuming him in his ’80s heyday, all eyes were on Michael and his signature moves no amount area one looked.
9. “If I Were a Boy” with Beyoncé (2009)
Beyoncé afraid the army at London’s O2 Arena in 2009 aback she brought Michael out to affiliation with her on her track, “If I Were a Boy.” The army went agrarian upon his actualization — and throughout their performance. Not abounding bodies can bender Bey in the theatrics department, but Michael abiding does appear close.
10. “White Light” (2012)
When the Summer Olympics formed into London in 2012, some of Britain’s best musicians came out to bless for the antic event’s closing commemoration — billed “A Symphony of British Music.” That included Michael, who gave a activation achievement of “Freedom 90” and “White Light.” The closing was the advance distinct from his sixth flat anthology and was appear 30 years afterwards his aboriginal distinct entreated the British archive in 1982. Heavily aggressive by his near-death bender with pneumonia in 2011, the song is a anniversary of activity – and takes on added desolation afterwards his death.