While not specifically a “dance” artist, the now sadly passed George Michael’s music was — and is still — enjoyed on dancefloors worldwide. In the era between 1980-2000, there were impressively very few artists who matched his ability to be able to create pop-as-dance songs that so immediately drove people’s feet to the dance floor worldwide. In honor of his amazing legacy, here are, statistically, his top five dance anthems ever.
By 1990, George Michael was entering his second decade as a pop icon and had yet to truly take the next level as a dance music superstar. However, it was with the release of his universally-appealing anthem “Freedom ’90” that he not only achieved club superstar status, but became a music legend on-the-rise. Most significant to “Freedom ’90’s” acclaim is a music video that, in featuring supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford, upon its launch on MTV was a mega-success.
Guitar rock songs aren’t necessarily meant to drive dance floors crazy. However, not all guitar-driven rock songs are “Faith.” Similar to “Freedom ’90,” there’s a video that’s key to “Faith’s” excellence. George Michael morphing from neon-short and “CHOOSE LIFE” t-shirt wearing member of Wham into five o’clock shadow-having, leather jacket, sunglasses and cowboy boot-clad booty-shaking solo star was something else. In the era just past America’s roots rocker-to-dance maniac story Footloose being a huge hit, Michael’s song and look as an US star-maker makes sense.
’80s Brit-pop duo Wham! were known for making everything from rap to pop during their six-year run. However, it’s their 1984-released tropical soul single “Everything She Wants” that revealed not only Michael’s standout solo voice, but as well the idea that Michael had much more to offer as a singer-songwriter. Production-wise it, alongside songs from the likes of Culture Club and The Police, amazingly showcased the Carribean influence on UK pop. It’s a (somewhat) hidden gem of a song that is absolutely deserving of praise.
Most pop songs about hooking up don’t include the lyric “sex is best when it’s one on one” to imply that monogamy is best. But, then again, most pop stars aren’t at George Michael’s level of appeal to both sexes in 1986. “I Want Your Sex” is Michael’s post-Wham! solo debut, and did everything to distance him from the finger-snapping pop of his former group. A top-ten dance song in every country in which it charted, it set a standard that he oftentimes met and amazingly enough, exceeded, during his career.
In 1965, Motown legends Smokey Robinson and The Miracles released “Going To A Go-Go.” 20 years later, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley mirrored that song’s style and feel for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” There’s something in how the 1985 song’s saxophones and guitars hop out of the speakers and attack the emotions of the listener that makes it a winner. Throw the brightest of pop vocals on top and it’s a next-level Michael smash that set the table for everything that followed.