And that, it turns out, was a pretty good move all round. In fact, thanks to bouncy, catchy pop songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go,” Wham! became a chart-topping act on both sides of the Atlantic. But even this seemingly wasn’t enough for Michael. As a result, in 1984 he debuted his first solo single. Needless to say, “Careless Whisper” was a big hit.
It was around this time, moreover, that Michael showed an interest in charitable causes. For example, in reaction to Britain’s then hard-right Conservative government, Wham! played a benefit concert for striking coal miners in 1984. In addition, Michael contributed to Band Aid’s iconic charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” as well as the subsequent Live Aid concert.
Michael’s activism didn’t spawn a change of career, though: music remained very much his first love. And his popularity as a singer endured even after Wham!’s split. Indeed, the star’s stint as a solo artist saw success thanks to edgier hits like “Faith” and “I Want Your Sex.” Those tracks weren’t beloved by everyone, though. The latter’s controversial subject matter, for example, saw it banned from some U.S. radio stations.