As George celebrates his first chart-topping album in almost a decade, we count down the biggest selling digital downloads of a solo career that goes back 30 years!
On looking at last week’s Official Albums Chart race, you could be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally been transported back in time. Could the pop legends George Michael and Kylie Minogue really be battling it out for Number 1 album? Or were we flicking through a 1988 copy of the dear departed Smash Hits? Well, no, your eyes were bang up to date and it was a victory for George – he claimed his seventh solo Number 1 album with Symphonica.
Symphonica is also the former Wham! singer’s first full-length album in nearly ten years, and there have been some pretty big changes to the way we live or lives since Patience perched atop the Official Albums Chart in 2004. For a start, we’ve all gone digital! Facebook and YouTube launched in the UK in 2005, with Twitter taking its first chirp a year later.
Digital downloads were included in the Official Singles Chart for the first time in 2005, and since then we’ve seen countless old favourites back in the charts – this week saw Human League’s 1981 Number 1 Don’t You Want Me back in the UK-wide Top 40 and at Number 1 in the Official Scottish Singles Chart.
Looking at Symphonica’s first-week sales, it seems plenty of George Michael fans still like having that CD in their hands – three quarters of the copies of Symphonica bought that week were in physical format. But when it comes to George’s downloads, which tracks have shifted the most? Have the early classics still got the staying power, or are George’s newer tracks getting all the attention?
It’s only right that George’s very first solo Number 1 should get top billing on his list of most downloaded tracks. Those guilty feet may not have rhythm, but they sure know how to shift a few copies – Careless Whisper is George’s biggest selling download, with over 100,000 digital sales. Not bad for a song that was released 30 years ago!
Although George was still part of dynamic duo Wham! with pal Andrew Ridgeley when Careless Whisper topped the Official Singles Chart, it was credited as a solo release for George. Being a more serious ballad, it didn’t quite fit in with Wham!’s fun fun fun music ethic and habit of sticking shuttlecocks down their shorts (they really did this), so it was George’s first foray into solo stardom. If you include physical sales, Careless Whisper has sold over 1.4 million copies in the UK, one of two million sellers for George – the other is Wham!’s festive classic Last Christmas.
Coming up just behind is Faith, the title track from George’s first solo album. In its iconic video, George did a spot of boogying with his favourite guitar and leather jacket, taking the song to Number 2 in autumn 1987.
In bronze position is George’s fourth Number 1 of his solo career, Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, featuring rock legend and the original singer of the song, Elton John. The guys performed the track together at Live Aid in 1985 and enjoyed it so much they got together again to sing it at one of George’s concerts in Chicago in 1991, with all proceeds going to charity.
It was the second time George had teamed up with a megastar to collaborate on a chart-topper (old Wham! colleague Andrew Ridgeley aside, of course). In 1987, George scored a Number 1 with legendary Aretha Franklin on I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), which spent two weeks at the top. It comes in sixth on George’s countdown of most downloaded tracks.
Coming in fourth on George’s download top sellers is I Can’t Make You Love Me, first released as a double-A side with 1997 single Older. The track, a cover originally released by American singer Bonnie Raitt in 1991, has found new fans thanks to being a staple of TV talent show auditionees and finalists. Many American Idol contestants have crooned the weepy ballad, and in the UK Stacey Solomon sang it during her time on The X Factor in 2009.
Four tracks from the 21st century make the Top 20, including 2012’s White Light (12), 2004’s Amazing (8) and George’s duet with former Sugababe Mutya Buena This Is Not Real Love (16).
Check out the full Top 20 rundown of George’s Official Best Selling Downloads:
|TRACK||YEAR FIRST CHARTED|
|3||DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME (FT ELTON JOHN)||1991|
|4||I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME||1997|
|5||A DIFFERENT CORNER||1986|
|6||I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME) (WITH ARETHA FRANKLIN)||1987|
|9||DECEMBER SONG (I DREAMED OF CHRISTMAS)||2009|
|10||AS (WITH MARY J BLIGE)||1999|
|14||FLAWLESS (GO TO THE CITY)||2004|
|16||THIS IS NOT REAL LOVE (WITH MUTYA BUENA)||2006|
|17||PRAYING FOR TIME||1990|
|18||JESUS TO A CHILD||1996|
|19||ONE MORE TRY||1988|
|20||COWBOYS AND ANGELS||1991|
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