Yesterday, numerous media outlets such as ABC News, BBC, CNN & Entertainment Weekly reported the death of pop star George Michael.
Jake’s Take salutes George Michael by remembering some of his greatest collaborations.
“Careless Whisper” with Smokey Robinson (1985)
31 years ago, George Michael performed at the iconic Apollo Theatre with the King of Motown: Smokey Robinson. The Wham! Singer and the “Tears of a Clown” singer-songwriter delivered a fabulous performance that first showcased that George would be the best collaborator that an R&B/Soul singer would ever have.
“I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” with Aretha Franklin (1987)
If any artist wants to perform with the Queen of Soul, they better bring their A-game. Mr. Michael and Ms. Franklin delivered a fiery techno pop duet for the latter’s 1987 Aretha album. This duet charted straight to the top on five international music charts and became Ms. Franklin’s biggest hit on Adult Contemporary radio as it peaked at number two.
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with Sir Elton John (1991)
George Michael gave his audience a performance to remember during the last leg of his Cover to Cover Tour when Michael’s friend, Sir Elton John, joined him to cover his 1974 classic. I still get goosebumps every time that I hear this fantastic pairing.
“Somebody to Love” with Queen (1992)
Way before Adam Lambert and Jordan Smith conquered Reality TV with their renditions; George Michael provided the road map to how to successfully cover this Queen classic. Michael’s performance at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness perfectly paid homage to the rock star that helped change the face of British rock and roll.
“As” with Mary J. Blige (1999)
During 1999, George Michael teamed up for a cover of Stevie Wonder’s iconic song: “As” for their respective studio albums. Their voices complemented each other very well, and the track peaked in the Top 20 on four international music charts.
“Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” with Luciano Pavarotti (2000)
Nine years later, George Michael revisited the song and used it to bridge a musical gap with opera’s greatest tenor: the late Luciano Pavarotti. While Michael sang the song in English, Pavarotti beautifully translated the Bernie Taupin-Elton John tune in Italian. Backed by a children’s choir, this duo delivered one of the best Pavarotti & Friends performances of all-time.
“If I Told You That” with Whitney Houston (2000)
When the King of Pop could not record a duet version of Ms. Houston’s “If I Told You That,” the pop diva asked George Michael to step in as they tackled the Darkchild club hit. While the song did not have the same energy from his previous duets with Aretha and Mary, there was a fire between the two vocalists that makes this unearthed gem a must for any music lover’s libraries.
“Blame It on the Sun” with Ray Charles (2005)
George Michael had the honor of being one of Ray Charles’ last duet partners before the “Georgia on My Mind” singer’s passing in 2004. The two tackled Stevie Wonder’s “Blame It on the Sun.” Their cover breathed new life into the 1972 soul standard, and it was one of the highlights on Mr. Charles’ first posthumous studio album.
“If I Were a Boy” with Beyoncé (2009)
London concert goers were shocked when George Michael joined Beyoncé on the 02 stage of her 2009 show. Michael and Beyoncé traded lyrics and delivered one of the best moments in pop music history as they went note-for-note and gave a knockout performance that everyone in attendance on their feet.
I do not own any of the clips that are featured in this article. They belong to the artists and their record labels.