BBC Radio 2 listeners crown Careless Whisper their favourite George Michael song
Careless Whisper was announced by Scott Mills as the culmination of Your Ultimate George Michael Song, a three-hour special which counted down the Top 40 songs written by George Michael, as voted for by Radio 2 listeners (1pm-4pm, New Year’s Day)
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The vote, which took place in December as part of Radio 2 Celebrates Songwriting season, was launched to mark an incredible 40 years of George as one of the world’s best loved singer songwriters. Listen back to the show on BBC Sounds.
Careless Whisper was written by George and his fellow bandmate Andrew Ridgeley. The idea for the song came to George when he was just 17 years old, while riding the number 32 bus home as a teenager. It was George's first solo record. The song was released in July 1984 and reached Number One in the UK charts. The song also topped the charts in America, Australia, Canada, France, Holland, Italy, Ireland, South Africa and Switzerland. It won the Ivor Novello award for being the Most Performed Work in 1984.
The George Michael Estate says: "George would be delighted, just as we are, that Radio 2 listeners have voted Careless Whisper as their favourite George Michael song. George had a longstanding and treasured relationship with his audience and we are all moved to see that the bond is as strong as ever. We would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts and wish you all a happy New Year for 2022."
Andrew Ridgeley says: “I am delighted that Radio 2 listeners have voted Careless Whisper paramount of a stellar constellation of songwriting gems. It is testament to the timeless and fundamental essence of the song the teenage George and I considered the jewel in our very slender songwriting repertoire, that its youthful, but beautifully expressed lament of lost love endures to touch the hearts of listeners still.”
Jeff Smith, Head of Music, Radio 2, says: “Careless Whisper is a modern classic which is as emotive today as it was when it was released in 1984. It’s the ultimate heartbreak ballad which perfectly encapsulates the feeling of love lost.”
Here are the results of the vote in (* Please note, the artist is George Michael except where mentioned in brackets):
Wham! had their first UK Singles Chart hit in 1982 with Young Guns (Go For It), written by George, which reached number three in the UK. The artist - born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou - formed Wham! with his friend Andrew Ridgeley in 1981. They had five UK Number One singles and ten Top 10s, with their singles spending a combined total of 203 weeks in the Top 75. George launched his solo career with Careless Whisper and enjoyed seven UK number one singles and 23 UK Top 10s, with his songs spending 309 weeks in the Top 75.
Listeners can hear more programming celebrating the music of George Michael as Radio 2 broadcasts George Michael - Older at 25 and George Michael at the BBC, both of which will be available on BBC Sounds from Saturday 1 January. And all the programmes are available on BBC Sounds live and for 30 days after broadcast.
George Michael - Older At 25 is a two-part documentary narrated by Melanie C (9pm-10pm, Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 January 2022). In May 1996, following years of highly publicised court battles, George finally released Older, his first album in six years. It would become his biggest-selling studio set of all time in the UK, leading to six Top Three singles accompanied by some of the most iconic videos of all time.
George was back on top, pushing his artistry to the highest level and winning a new generation of fans. Whilst both the creation and success of previous albums Faith and Listen Without Prejudice: Vol.1 have been heavily documented, Older has yet to be fully re-examined and appreciated as an incredible body of work, of not just one of the UK's greatest singers, but of one of the world’s all-time musical greats.
Melanie C is a lifelong fan of George’s and her own career with Spice Girls launched in the same year Older was released, catapulting her to worldwide fame. Melanie will look at what happened in that six-year gap, and how the album’s release and success unfolded. The programmes will include plays of all six singles from the album - Jesus To A Child, Fastlove, Older, Spinning The Wheel, Star People and You Have Been Loved, plus other bonus tracks released around the album such as Desafinado, remixes and live tracks from his legendary Unplugged set.
Setting the scene of 1996 will be the album’s Fastlove producer, Jon Douglas, Shirlie Kemp, video director Vaughan Arnell, Bananarama, Rufus Wainwright, Russell T. Davies, Matt Lucas, Shaznay Lewis, Mutya Buena (with who he duetted with for the song This Is Not Real Love), Holly Johnson, Michelle Visage, Jack Savoretti, James Blunt, Chris Martin, Roman Kemp (George’s godson), Ed Sheeran, Beverley Knight, Jamie Cullum, Stevie Wonder, Keren Woodward and Sara Dallin of Bananarama, Shazney Lewis and more.
Melanie C says: “George’s songwriting skills were second to none, as we can hear when we listen to Older, an incredible body of work. I was lucky enough to meet George a number of times and I’m thrilled to be able to tell the story of Older through the eyes of his fellow musicians, as well as friends.”
George Michael At The BBC on Radio 2 (7pm-9pm, Sunday 2 January, 2022) celebrates the life and career of George Michael through his performances and interviews on the BBC, from his first Wham! Appearance on Saturday Superstore in 1982 and throughout his entire career.
Also featured are George’s conversations from throughout his career, with Michael Parkinson, Paul Gambaccini, Vicki Wickham and Steve Wright. In the second hour, for the first time since its original broadcast in December 1996, listeners will hear the exclusive An Audience With George Michael concert which took place at the BBC’s Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House, London. Listeners will be able to hear tracks including Father Figure, You Have Been Loved and Freedom.
The George Michael Countdown is produced by Mark Simpson for BBC Audio.
George Michael - Older At 25 is produced by Ste Softly for Mostest Productions.
George Michael at the BBC is produced by Bob McDowell for BBC Audio.
Source BBC Radio 2
January 1, 2022 12:00pm ET by BBC Radio 2