A new documentary and a re-released album from George Michael...
Channel 4 has commissioned the documentary, Freedom: George Michael (w/t), an amazing and engaging film directed by BAFTA nominee Phillip Smith, which covers an eventful five year period in George Michael's life. This period saw a complete change where he was able to grow as an artist and finally take full control of his personal life as well as his career. It also follows the gripping story of the making of George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 and the infamous battle with his record company which followed ending up in the high court where George challenges the standard recording contract.
The film is narrated by George himself, giving viewers his own personal account of this dramatic period in his life, revealing how the boy from north London became one of the most influential recording artists of all time and helped to re-write the rules of the music industry and celebrity.
It will also include the original five supermodels from film director David Fincher's Freedom! '90 video, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista who will be coming together for the first time to talk about the experience and celebrate the iconic music video. Other contributors include world famous artists such as Stevie Wonder whose They Won't Go When I Go was Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1's only cover; Elton John who describes the album as George's "masterpiece"; Liam Gallagher who says George has "Lennon in him"; Mary J Blige who reminds us that George "broke all the rules for everybody"; Tony Bennett, Mark Ronson, Tracey Emin, Jean Paul Gaultier,Ricky Gervais, French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt and James Corden. There are contributions from some of the record company executives who were so uncomfortable facing one of their major artists in court and from the case lawyers.
Sony Music will be also re-releasing a 25th anniversary edition of George's Michael's iconic album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1. This was George's second solo album but the first where he has said he felt fully in control artistically, as it was arranged, produced and almost completely written by George himself, eloquently confirming him as a pioneering, agenda-setting artist. The staggering success of George's first solo album Faith resulted in him becoming one of the few artists who could shift millions of albums worldwide. This, of course, was a dream scenario for the label but George had different plans. Unable and unwilling to be a 24-hour pop star, constantly in the media spotlight, George felt he needed to follow his artistic instincts regarding how his work should be presented.
He decided he would not appear on Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1's album cover or be available to physically promote the album beyond select interviews, but instead gave the label the David Fincher-directed Freedom! '90, which featured those five of the most recognisable beauties on the planet, lip-syncing in place of George. This resulted in a difference in opinion between George and the label over how the album was promoted which contributed to his decision to embark on the traumatic court case with Sony. This left him blocked creatively for almost two years, during which time he made a conscious decision to channel all his energy into challenging the standard recording contract and fighting a corner for all artists. George lost the case but gained the personal and artistic freedom he craved.
A multi-platinum-selling worldwide chart-topper which reached Number 1 in the UK (where it outsold Faith and went 4X platinum), Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 was the sound of a precedent-setting, boundary-pushing global superstar going his own way.
Twenty-six years on, George and Sony are long reconciled. Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. remains a remarkable, timeless work, from the beautifully judged protest songs Praying For Time and Mother's Pride, to the intimate Cowboys & Angels, via the autobiographical Freedom! '90. This was music George Michael felt truly committed to.
A remastered version of George's stunning 1996 MTV Unplugged performance will also be available as an album for the very first time as part of the Deluxe box set and 2CD Edition. The concert took place at the Three Mills Island Studios in East London on Friday 11 October, 1996 and featured George playing ten of his finest songs from the Wham!, Faith, Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 (Freedom '90) and Older eras in an intimate setting. Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1 will also be reissued on vinyl and digital.
1. Praying for Time
2. Freedom! '90
3. They Won't Go When I Go
4. Something to Save
5. Cowboys and Angels
6. Waiting for That Day - George Michael / The Rolling Stones
7. Mothers Pride
8. Heal the Pain
9. Soul Free
10. Waiting (Reprise)
1. Freedom! '90
2. Fastlove - George Michael / Patrice Rushen
3. I Can't Make You Love Me
4. Father Figure
5. You Have Been Loved
6. Everything She Wants
7. The Strangest Thing
9. Star People
10. Praying for Time
Image & info - Legacy Recording/Amazon