There is no doubt that George Michael was a pop phenomenon – selling more than 100m records in a career spanning over 30 years – first, as one half of Wham! alongside Andrew Ridgeley, before continuing onto significant solo success.

Here, IBTimes UK takes a look back at six of his best tracks.

Careless Whisper (1984)

Instantly listenable due to its unforgettable saxophone intro, this pained love song was penned by Michael aged just 17.

Although officially released by Wham! this marked Michael's first breakaway single, exploring the guilt felt after cheating on a partner. The chorus' refrain, "I'm never gonna dance again, guilty feet have got no rhythm," struck a chord with audiences worldwide.

Fans have long speculated as to the context of the lyrics, fuelled by a rumour spread at the time of the track's release that it is was autobiographical, but Michael subsequently revealed that he had no personal connection.

In his 1991 memoir, Bare, Michael expressed regret that the lyric "was not an integral part of my emotional development... It disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly—and not a particularly good lyric—and it can mean so much to so many people. That's disillusioning for a writer."

The young star rejected the original version of the track produced by Jerry Wexler and took control himself, ensuring its funky, flowing feel was maintained throughout.

Last Christmas (1984)

The Wham! Christmas Juggernaught, written by Michael, is simply an unstoppable festive force.

As of June 2016 it had sold 1.8m copies and is the biggest selling single in UK chart history not to reach number one. The track lost out to the Bob Geldof helmed Do They Know It's Christmas in 1984 (to which Wham still had input), and the duo subsequently donated all the proceeds from Last Christmas to the famine in Ethiopia.

The song also found success throughout the world, reaching number 12 in Japan and cracking the top 10 in the US and throughout Europe. It is particularly popular in Germany, where it remained in the charts for 119 weeks, peaking at number 4.

Last Christmas continues to re-enter the charts on an annual basis and was announced as the most streamed Spotify single in the UK on Christmas Day 2013.

Club Tropicana (1983)

A fun summer anthem and due to its playfulness, appears to take a swipe at 18-30 holidays. The video for this Wham! hit features Michael and Ridgeley as pilots enjoying an exotic, hedonistic summer break.

It's a place "where the drinks are free" and "there's fun for everyone," but it is later revealed the two women the pair lust after are cabin crew members.

Still, whatever the message contained in the video, the track itself is a great party anthem, and for teenage girls at the time, the video offered lots of topless Michael and Ridgeley in questionable speedos.

The song took on new meaning after Michael came out as gay in 1998, and is now an anthem for the LGBTQ community.

Faith (1987)

Featuring hip wiggles that could rival Elvis, 1987's Faith is gospel-like with its acoustic guitar-driven harmonies and handclaps.

Despite eulogising about resisting temptation, the video sees Michael in peak pin-up mode, dressed in leather and sporting aviators – embracing his sex symbol status.

Fastlove (1996)

Michael battled the Britpop era not with the camp masculinity of Jarvis Cocker but a cocksure sense of self-assurance, as the g-funk ridden Fastlove demonstrates.

Taken from the album Older (another sign of confident maturity), the track nevertheless makes clear Michael is in no rush, aged 34, to settle down just yet. The backing vocal "gotta get up to get down" leaving little to the imagination.

This is certainly the track where Michael leaves behind the 80s jeans and heads to the club on his own terms. "My friends got their ladies, they're all having babies / I just want to have some fun," he sings. A plan, certainly – if one that temporarily backfired in spectacular fashion in a restroom with a plainclothes police officer two years later.

Amazing (2004)

A gem within Patience, the 2004 album that proved the peak of late-era Michael success – Amazing pays homage to the restorative powers of love, as an openly gay Michael puts the unnecessary controversy caused by his sexuality behind him.

Breezy, free-spirited, catchy and yet classy all at the same time, it is the track that perhaps sums George Michael up best.