George Michael influenced an entire generation of singers, many of whom went on to cover his music. AXS has compiled a short list of the best George Michael covers by a wide variety of artists, all of whom brought their own touch to the singer's classic hits. Give them a listen by clicking the links below, and learn more about George Michael by visiting his artist page at AXS.
"Freedom" was one of George Michael's biggest songs, and Robbie Williams made it even bigger when he covered it. No stranger to larger than life pop songs himself, Williams put every ounce of his energy into his version of "Freedom." He made it into a completely show-stopping number, just as upbeat as the original and then some.
Music fans probably never put George Michael and Seether in the same sentence. The rockers went way out of their comfort zone when they covered "Careless Whisper," which is one of Michael's most vulnerable songs. Yet they somehow preserved the tenderness in it, while injecting a fair amount of bite that would make any hard rock fan happy.
As the title indicates, this was one of Michael's more provocative songs. Chris Mann brought his own natural charisma to his cover version, which made it better. Mann has just as much charm as Michael ever did, but he's also got a refined approach to every song that added a gentlemanly touch, too. He also delivered a knockout vocal performance.
While on their co-headlining tour, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw covered "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)," which was Michael's duet with the late, legendary Aretha Franklin. What made the original work was how much Michael and Franklin put into it; though they came from different genres, they were clearly enjoying working together. That was also clear in Hill and McGraw's cover, as the real-life couple's enthusiasm came through in their duet.
"Father Figure" is not an easy song to cover but Rob Thomas pulled it off. He put his own style into the song, keeping its classic pop-rock sound while making it feel as if it was fresh and new. Thomas's voice was an excellent fit for the song to begin with, so he made it sound effortless, too. It was one of those cases where the song played to the strengths of the artist covering it.
Javier Colon is an underrated vocalist no matter what song you're talking about; he has a pristine voice and a beautiful approach to everything he touches. But when he covered "One More Try," he struck a proverbial nerve. Colon's voice matched perfectly with the pleading and the hope that Michael was trying to convey in the song. It was so good, it was heartbreaking - but only in the best way.
Sam Smith's cover of "Father Figure" would have made George Michael proud. Smith clearly dug down deep to pour everything he could into the song, and came up with something that didn't just cover it but elevated it. Smith is somewhat reminiscent of Michael, in their soulful performances and their vocal ability, and so this cover felt less like a cover and more like a natural extension of him. Watch it by playing the video above, and see if you think it's the best George Michael cover.
For more on George Michael, visit his artist page at AXS.