Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou- mmmm that name seems too long, we need something shorter, catchier, something you might call a popstar name- how about George Michael? George was just 18 when he and Andrew Ridgely were signed up as Wham! and gave us their first single “Wham Rap!” in June 1982 which missed the top 100. It was their first and last flop. With a name derived from Andrew mucking about singing “Wham! Bam” I am the man” to the tune of “Rapper’s Delight” the school friends set out into the world of pop. In the pantheon of 80s pop there are many great acts but Wham! were in fact the 6th biggest singles act of the decade in Britain and the second best selling group with some 4.9 million singles sold in the UK alone, and all the acts above them charted for longer periods of time than the 4 years Wham! had together. In short they were a commercial hurricane (Yeah Yeah). The duo accrued an impressive 4 Number one singles and five other top 10 singles from just 10 releases then boom- they were no more! Splitting up at the height of their fame in the summer of 1986 with a sell out Wembley gig and No 1 single was the perfect ending before it all got……tatty. But what then? The answer had already been given back in 1984- the solo career! Founded on a hat-trick of solo chart toppers George unveiled his master plan to move to the next level- it was called “Faith”. It spawned 6 top 20 hits in the UK but was massive stateside with four US chart topping singles and sold 11 million in the UK and US alone. Let’s call that a success shall we? Too much of a success it seems for George- it caused a major re-think of how he wanted to be seen as a performer and writer and resulted in his second LP “Listen Without Prejudice Volume 1” in 1990. Commercially it wasn’t a success on the level of his first solo album in the US at least where his refusal to do promo video’s or really promote on the required level saw only No 1 single, in the UK it outsold “Faith” but only gave him three top 30 hits. George and the courts- He wins some and he loses some- after successfully wriggling out of his first record contract with Innervision in 1984, by 1991 he’d enough of Sony- time to go back to see the judge! A long case ended in 1994 with failure in the courts but Virgin came along and bought him out of the Sony contract- yay! So we got “Older” in 1996 and we seemed happy to have him back. It put George in the record books as the first studio album to generate six top 3 hits in the UK though only two US hits. And then the "toilet" incident…..April 1998 and George gets…”entrapped” and the world knows he’s a gay- front page of “The Sun” stuff “Zip Me Up Before You GoGo”. Turning it brilliantly into pop gold dust on “outside” we all moved on and “Ladies & Gentleman” proved we didn’t particularly care with 8 weeks at No 1 and sales of over 2 million in the UK alone. Then things got…odd. A collection of covers “Songs From The Last Century” missed No 1 and was met with (generally) a raised eyebrow but sales of over 600,000 so hardly a failure by most artists standards. First we heard there was an album in the offing then silence then a few singles in 2002 which met with a critical backlash- George doing sex and politics wasn’t acceptable it seemed. What turned out to be a final studio album emerged in 2004, “Patience” was another immediate UK No 1 album and gave us his final UK top 10 single in “Flawless” that summer. The second half of the 00s wasn’t overly kind to George, more often in the papers for the wrong reasons than the right ones (Snappy Snaps anyone) but another No 1 greatest hits set and a sell out tour (his first in 15 years) again proved that we kept the faith with George! Into the 2010’s and George at least delivered us the occasional new song and a live album “Symphonica” which naturally made No 1, then the ultimate disaster happened and we woke up on Boxing Day 2016 to the news that George had passed! I can still remember my shock……… A rehashed “Listen Without Prejudice” with additional “MTV unplugged” again saw him at No 1 in 2017 before we got his music set to film last Christmas called….well “Last Christmas” which we’ll glaze over. And that’s what we’re rating! All 65 official singles including promo singles and radio hits are here for your approval or otherwise and I’m sure you all know the rate rules by now but here they are! Rate all of tracks from 0 to 10 (half points are permitted but nothing smaller please) Award one track your precious 11- choose wisely my Whamettes! PM your votes by 28th May 2020 at 22.00 GMT (George Michael Time) Don’t troll vote please- it’s easy enough to spot and your scores will be ignored. Please don’t reveal any of your scores until AFTER the track is eliminated Commentary is strongly encouraged and helps out my elimination posts though it isn’t obligatory.