George Michael’s Careless Whisper retains top spot in poll of favourite songs

George Michael’s hit song Careless Whisper has come top of a radio poll for the nation’s favourite song for a sixth year in a row.

The track – written by the late singer and his pop partner Andrew Ridgeley for their Wham! album Make It Big – was voted top of Smooth Radio’s All Time Top 500, an annual list of the UK’s best-loved songs.

On YouTube the song, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, has more than one billion views.

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Wham’s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley (PA)

George Michael Entertainment said: “We are delighted that Smooth Radio listeners and George’s loyal fans have, once again, for the sixth consecutive year, voted for George Michael’s Careless Whisper as their number one song in Smooth’s All Time Top 500 for 2024.

“In this year, the 40th anniversary of its release, this is an incredible achievement, as Careless Whisper has now topped Smooth’s chart for a total of seven years.

“We know that George would be proud and truly grateful, just as we are, for the continued support of Smooth Radio, its listeners and his loyal fans around the world. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Michael, who died aged 53 on Christmas Day in 2016, came out on top in the radio station’s 2023 favourite artist poll and in December that year Wham!’s track Last Christmas soared to the number one position and achieved a straight month at the top.

Whitney Houston, who died in 2012 aged 48, was named the Global radio station’s most popular female artist with 12 songs in the countdown including I Will Always Love You at number 10.

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Whitney Houston was named the most popular female artist in the station’s poll (Ian West/PA)

Abba was named the most popular group, 50 years after their performance of Waterloo won them the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974.

Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, Agentha Faltskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad have 13 entries in the top 500, including Dancing Queen, which is placed at number nine, and The Winner Takes It All at number 32.

The “Queen of Rock and Roll”, Tina Turner, who died in May 2023 aged 83, has five songs in the poll with The Best jumping 30 places to sit at number 27.

Irish singer Sinead O’Connor died last year at the age of 56 and her song, Nothing Compares 2 U, has become one of the chart’s highest climbers, moving 87 places to number 12.

Smooth presenter Angie Greaves, who announced the number one on air, said: “Smooth’s All Time Top 500 gives us a great insight into the nation’s favourite songs and artists, and is a fantastic way to celebrate the best music, which Smooth plays.

“It’s wonderful that the public has chosen to honour two music legends of our time – Tina Turner and Sinead O’Connor – and the iconic songs they brought us.

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Sinead O’Connor died in July 2023 aged 56 (Yui Mok/PA)

“Forty years on from the release of Careless Whisper, the song remains as popular as ever, as does the music of George Michael.

“And 50 years since the world was introduced to Abba, our love for their songs is undiminished.

“It is testament to the enduring power of music from the world’s best artists that these songs continue to resonate so deeply with us.”

Across the May bank holiday weekend, the station’s annual countdown of the UK’s top 500 favourite songs were played on air, with the number one announced just before 7pm on Monday.