Though the latter half of his career has been maligned by that unfortunate incident in a bathroom a few years back, George Michael was once a pretty big deal. One of the biggest, actually, as his eight chart-topping singles in the 1980s is a record he shares with the legendary Michael Jackson (though George had three of those singles as half of Wham!). Following his split from Andrew Ridgeley, Michael scored massive hits with songs like "Faith," "Father Figure" and "One More Try."
Though he opened the 1990s with the multi-platinum Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, Michael has yet to be able to top the overwhelming ubiquity of his solo debut Faith. Legal battles with his label and huge gaps between albums allowed him to slip off the radar for a while, and both of his comeback albums (1996's Older and 2004's Patience) were received tepidly in the U.S. (though he remained a superstar in his native U.K.). But last year he toured North America for the first time in 17 years and was well-received by both fans and critics. The tour (and the greatest-hits album that accompanied it) helped to remind the world just how many hit songs Michael has had in his career. One of those tunes was "Monkey," the final single from Faith and also Michael's last chart-topper of the '80s. It ascended to the top position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart 21 years ago today on August 27, 1988. It replaced Steve Winwood's "Roll With It" at the top of the heap. It stayed there for two weeks before being pushed out by Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine."
And don't forget that George Michael may finally get the VMA respect he deserves, as his clip for "Freedom" is nominated for Best Video (That Should Have Won A Moonman) at this year's Video Music Awards, which air live on Sunday, September 13.