November 10 1984, US Billboard Hot 100. David Bowie hit Blue Jean was living his last week inside the Top 10 at #8, it remains the very last time the British singer visited the top tier as a solo act. Higher on charts at #3, Prince anthem song Purple Rain help strong while the album of the same name was on its 15th – out of 24 – week at #1. Still within’ that Hot 100 Top 10, George Michael teen group Wham! was featuring at #4 with Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go soon-to-be #1 smash while the album Make It Big debuted on the album front. Year 2016 has really been a brutal end of an era for an entire generation.
An entire generation indeed as it wasn’t only about 1984. From 1977 to 1989, only 4 solo artists managed to get an album 10+ weeks at #1 in the US – Michael Jackson with Thriller, Whitney Houston with both Whitney Houston and Whitney, Prince with Purple Rain and George Michael with Faith. Within’ a few years, all of them passed away with none coming even close to turn 60. While fans inevitably moan the death of George Michael on December 25 – talk about a twisted fate for the singer of Last Christmas – we will make him a tribute as well by going through his classic catalog.
Releasing his first single at 19 only as part of the duet Wham! along with his friend Andrew Ridgeley, the Greek descendant George Michael rise to fame was absolutely unstoppable. A mere five years after his first record he had dropped hits as cult as Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Careless Whisper, Last Christmas and Faith. Let’s remember not only those songs but the full catalog of the artist. To better understand his impact we will be applying our classic CSPC template to his discography.
As a reminder for users who are not yet familiar with the CSPC idea you do not need to worry, it is quite simple as it only consists in merging every format sales an artist has been getting and attributing them to respective studio albums. We will start by focusing on raw data, setting how much each Wham! and George Michael album sold. Then, we will check sales of each track from those albums on each format – physical, digital and streaming – and weight them to value those figures on a par with album sales. To complete the study, we will study sales of the all compilations, live albums and music videos they dropped. Once all the raw data is set, we will only need to apply appropriate weighting to get the overall picture of the pop icon career results.