Troubled late pop icon George Michael has made a return to Britain’s record charts following his death on Christmas Day at the age of 53, the Official Charts Company said on Friday.
Last Christmas, one of his best-selling singles from his time in the pop duo Wham!, has climbed to number seven in the charts — its first time in the top 10 sales since it was released 31 years ago.
The song has also become the second most streamed track of the week, with 3.6 million streams.
Michael’s greatest hits collection Ladies & Gentlemen has seen a stagging 5,625 per cent surge in combined sales and streams over the past week.
The album, which topped the charts for eight weeks when it was released in 1998, is now at number eight.
The Final, Michael’s last album with Wham!, came in at 40 followed by Twenty Five at 47, Faith at 62, Symphonica at 73 and Older at 84.
“The sudden and terribly sad death of George Michael has naturally prompted his fans to re-explore his rich catalogue again,” Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company, said in a statement.
“Quite appropriately, given the season, it is Last Christmas which makes the biggest impact,” he said.
Michael sold more than 100 million albums in a career spanning more than three decades but in recent years he became better known for a series of bizarre episodes, some of them linked to drug use.
His last album Symphonica came out in 2014 and topped the UK Albums Chart but his last album before that — Patience — was in 2004.