7 times George Michael blew us away with phenomenal cover songs
14 May 2021, 16:31
George Michael's top 7 cover performances, from 'Killer' by Seal to 'The Long and Winding Road' by the Beatles proves the star's vocal range was unparallelled.
George Michael was more than just a pop star – he was a vocal powerhouse.
The Grammy and Brit Award-winning artist sold over 100 million record sales and had ten albums reach the Billboard 200.
But amongst the platinum selling albums and worldwide arena tours something often gets forgotten: George Michael has a back catalogue of exceptional cover songs.
By the time the shy boy from East Finchley ventured out as a solo artist in 1986, it quickly became clear the young singer's voice was unparalleled. A star – and his exceptional singing voice – was born.
Just days after his death in 2016, The Independent wrote: "No one else could stand up anywhere, anytime, and sing anything – and sing it brilliantly and always in his inimitable style — in the way George Michael could.
Whether it was performing the Beatles iconic 'The Long and Winding Road', 'Killer' by Seal or Nina Simone's jazz classic 'Feeling Good', George Michael gave us some of the best cover versions of a generation and made them his own.
An emphatic Sam Smith put it best: “He was his own genre. If he sang it, it’s a George song.”
Here are 7 of George Michael's best ever cover performances:
'The Long and Winding Road' by the Beatles
The concert took place at the Royal Albert Hall on April 10, 1999 almost a year after Paul McCartney's wife had died of cancer.
'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face' by Roberta Flack
Written by Ewan MacColl, 'The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face' is arguably one of the most moving songs of the 20th century.
George Michael performed the song numerous times in his lifetime and this version at Earl's Court in 2008 blew everyone away.
See more: Moment George Michael first locks eyes with ‘future soulmate’ in audience while singing Careless Whisper
The concert was filmed for Live in London, the first DVD of George Michael's career, selling hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide and earning platinum status in the UK and Australia.
'Roxanne' by The Police
In 1999, George Michael released his album Songs from the Last Century, a collection of song covers that he particularly loved and gave 'Roxanne' a jazz makeover.
George later said Sting was one of the British songwriters he "respects the most" and he wanted to add a "jazzy" aspect to the famous track.
'Killer/Papa Was A Rolling Stone' - Adamski & Seal/The Undisputed Truth
In 1991 George Michael performed a blend of 'Killer' and 'Papa Was a Rollin' Stone' live at Wembley Arena.
The video shows a young George Michael at his very best: holding a crowd of thousands in the palm of his hand.
See more: When George Michael and Pavarotti sang a spine-tingling duet of 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me'
The stunning track was released on 1993 EP Five Live and stayed on the Billboard charts for 12 weeks, peaking at number five.
'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone
Nina Simone's song was written by British songwriters Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse and was released during the height of the civil rights movement in 1965.
'I Can't Make You Love Me' by Bonnie Rait
Even if it's a song you might not know by name, it's hard not to be affected by its moving lyrics and emotional delivery as soon as you hear it.
Mojo Magazine voted "I Can't Make You Love Me" the eighth best track on its The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time list announced in August 2020.
'Somebody To Love' by Queen
Taking to the stage at Wembley Stadium for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on April 20, 1992, George impressed the world with his powerful vocals and incredible range.
See more: Watch George Michael's last ever concert, where his final words were heartbreakingly poignant
The performance was so good that even David Bowie was impressed – now that's saying something.