The son of a Greek Cypriot restaurateur, George Michael emerged from teen idol status with Andrew Ridgeley in the massive successful Wham! to become an even more popular and respected solo act. Always the driving creative force in Wham!, his developing maturity was obvious with the release of his first two solo singles Careless Whisper and A Different Corner, even before Wham! split in 1986. His heavyweight reputation was confirmed by a duet with the queen of soul Aretha Franklin on I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) - a Number 1 in the UK and US - and, full of great dance tracks, debut solo album Faith established him as an international superstar. He continued to create hits almost at will with Freedom '90, Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (with Elton John), Fastlove and Heal The Pain among the most memorable. A bitter dispute with his label Sony caused a career hiatus and he was arrested on drug and sex offences, but he remains a much-loved and influential artist.