George Michael: 12 songs to remember the late pop icon by

Andrew Ridgeley (right) with George Michael performing in 1984.
Andrew Ridgeley (right) with George Michael performing in 1984.PHOTO: HANDOUT

"I'm never gonna dance again", goes the chorus of Careless Whisper, one of British pop star George Michael's best-known songs.

His death on Christmas Day at age 53 was a shock to most as there had been no reports of illness earlier.

The singer, who shot to stardom in the 1980s with pop band Wham!, sold more than 100 million albums during a career that lasted three decades.

While he has been under the radar in recent years, his chart-toppers are now pop classics, and no Christmas passes without re-plays of his holiday hit - Last Christmas.

The Straits Times takes a look at some of George Michael's iconic songs:

 

1. Wake me up before you go-go (1984)

One of the biggest hits in the 1980s, the song was inspired by a note over Wham! bandmate Andrew Ridgeley's bed, according to Rolling Stone. It marked the start of the band's bouncier, more up-tempo phase.

2. Careless Whisper (1984)

His first solo single, while still with Wham!, was Careless Whisper. It dominated the air waves throughout 1984.

3. Last Christmas (1986)

So much more poignant with the news of his death on Christmas.

4. Faith (1987)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lu3VTngm1F0

Michael's debut solo album, Faith, chalked up sales of 20 million and was Billboard magazine's biggest album of 1988.

5. I want your sex (1987)

This raunchy number was banned in Singapore when it first came out. While it seems tame now, it was controversial to have the word "sex" in the song title then, and even the BBC banned it from play.

6. Father Figure (1988)

One of his most popular songs, and a requisite in any "best of George Michael" list.

7. One More Try (1988)

Michael seems to pour himself into this soulful, melancholy ballad which lasts more than five minutes.

8. Freedom '90 (1990)

The '90 in the title differentiates this song from an earlier Freedom released by Wham!. From his second solo album, the song signified a break from the past for Michael.

9. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (1992)

This song was written by Sir Elton John, but this duet featuring George Michael was a huge hit.

10. Too Funky (1992)

The music video, starring super models like Linda Evangelista, starts with a line from film classic The Graduate: "I am not trying to seduce you... Would you like me to seduce you?"

11. Jesus to a Child (1996)

Influenced by bossa nova, this was a tribute to Michael's Brazilian lover Anselmo Feleppa, who died of Aids in 1993.

12. Club Tropicana (1983)

Here's an early near-hit from before their Wake Me Up Before You Go-go fame. Just 20, the tanned Wham! duo camp it up while showing off their abs in the music video.