George Michael’s untimely passing is making a musical impact like the many stars that has died before him.
According to Billboard, the music icon’s illustrious catalog is experiencing a tremendous sales surge in both albums and digital songs. In the week ending Dec. 29, sales of Michael’s music — including with his former duo, Wham! — increased 2,678 percent (to 477,000 albums and songs, rounded to the nearest thousand) as compared to the previous week (17,000). Of the 477,000 total, album sales equaled 48,000 (up from just 1,000 the week previous), while song sales totaled 429,000 (an increase from 16,000 a week earlier).
The huge sales jumps also helped three of Michael’s solo albums and Wham!’s 1984 breakthrough set, Make It Big, return to the Billboard 200 chart.
Michael’s 2008 greatest hits album, Twenty Five, re-enters the list at No. 12 with 39,000 equivalent album units — a new high for the album, surpassing its initial No. 28 debut and peak. His debut solo album, 1987’s ‘Faith,’ jumps back onto the tally at No. 18 with 33,000 units, and his 1998 greatest hits compilation, Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael, bounces to No. 84 (11,000 units; up 3,291 percent, with 7,000 sold; up 5,257 percent).
Wham! sees its Make It Big studio effort return at No. 168 (7,000 units; up 713 percent, with 5,000 sold; up 2,208 percent). It’s the first time the former No. 1 album has been on the tally since 1986.
“Careless Whisper,” one Michael and Wham!’s best-selling song, ended the week with 53,000 downloads sold (up 3,423 percent).
As previously reported, the late George Michael, who was found dead on Dec. 25 (Christmas Day) at his home in Goring in Oxfordshire, England. He reportedly died of heart failure while “in bed, lying peacefully.”
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