Last night, pop singer and former Wham! member George Michael died in his Oxfordshire home at the age of 53. His longtime manager told the Hollywood Reporter that Michael died of heart failure.
“It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period,” his representative said in a statement to the BBC.
As a solo artist and with Wham!, George Michael racked up ten No. 1 singles. His first solo album “Faith” spent 51 weeks in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. and won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1989. He released four subsequent solo albums and all told has sold over 115 million records globally.
In tribute to the pop icon, here are five of George Michael’s key videos over his career. The first is “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” a song that held the number one spot on the Billboard charts in the United States for three weeks, and was later voted by the British public as the 13th favorite 1980s number one single in a 2015 poll for ITV.
The music video for “Last Christmas,” from Wham!’s final studio album “Music from the Edge of Heaven,” features George Michael, Wham! member Andrew Ridgley and their respective girlfriends at a ski resort. The video focuses on the unspoken tensions that arise between George Michael and Ridgley’s girlfriend, who he clearly used to date.
Directed by Andy Morahan, the video for “Faith,” the title track off his first solo album, features Michael in shades, Levi’s blue jeans with cowboy boots, playing a guitar near a jukebox.
By the time of his second solo album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1,” George Michael no longer wanted to do photo shoots or music videos, citing the pressures of fame. He eventually relented and released a video for the single “Freedom! ’90,” but refused to appear in the video at all. Instead, he featured models Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford in the video lip-syncing to the songs. Directed by David Fincher, the moody, dark video received widespread critical acclaim.
Finally, the video for “Outside,” a single off his 1998 greatest hits album “Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael,” takes a self-deprecating swipe at George Michael’s then-recent arrest for engaging in a lewd act by an undercover police officer in the public bathroom of the Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills. The video features numerous acts of public displays of affection between both gay and straight couples. Michael himself is dressed as an LAPD police officer.