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Saturday Deluxe / 9 September 2017

George Michael: SDE explores the timelines around the new Fantasy remix

After teasing fans for a while about how he was working on an apparently ‘new’ George Michael song, Nile Rodgers (and Sony) this week announced that a 2017 version of 1990 B-side Fantasy was being released as a single to promote George’s Listen Without Prejudice reissue.

Whatever you think of the finished Nile Rogers’ take on Fantasy, remixing a single to promote a reissue is a good idea. It creates interest, lots of publicity and the usual hyperbole and/or misinformation (see the Official Charts tweet about a “brand new” George Michael single). If you’re lucky you might even have a hit. However, this remix wasn’t mentioned at all when the reissue was announced on 14  September last year, with an 11 November 2016 release date. That was a promotional window of less than two months. As with the 2011 Faith reissue, George was going to do no interviews and no publicity for the re-release (I asked) and so if this single really was always the plan, then the remix should have – would have – been ready at that point with a ‘lyric’ video for YouTube for fans to share and instant availability on streaming services. It wasn’t.

A month later the reissue was rescheduled to March 2017, something put down to delays in the production of the Freedom documentary. Again, no mention of a remix or how George had asked Nile to do his thang on Fantasy.

Back to this week, and George’s friend David Austin (who co-wrote a few songs with George, including Faith’s Look at Your Hands and Older’s You Have Been Loved) said that “when looking for a lead single for the reissue” GM called Nile Rodgers to remix Fantasy. If this was the case, then it must have been a new idea that occurred to George between October and December of 2016. Because the reissue was now not coming out until March, he probably felt there was the time and opportunity to do it. The problem for Sony was that due to production lead times they had already manufactured the 3CD+DVD super deluxe edition. Since the package doesn’t include the still-in-production-at-the-time Freedom documentary, there was no reason for them to wait. Content had been signed off and remember, they had been working towards a November 2016 release date. All this meant that the new remix (which hadn’t been made at that point) wasn’t going to be able to be included physically in the super deluxe edition. George probably accepted the compromise of it being download only (either that, or the issue hadn’t been resolved or discussed before his death).

Of course, we all know what happened on Christmas Day last year and one would assume that close to nothing happened with the LWP reissue project until at least after George was buried at the end of March this year. That would have left four of five months to get the project back on track, get Nile into the studio to do his work on the remix and keep to the October 2017 release date.

Conspiracy theorists, might suggest that the remix idea came from someone other than George Michael, after his death. There isn’t any evidence to support that, although David Austin’s assertion that George called up Nile Rodgers in “early 2016” makes no sense. If that had happened, the Fantasy remix should have been completed in the first four or five months of that year and included in the physical super deluxe. There would also have been a big fanfare about it when the reissue was announced in September 2016. Maybe Austin is misremembering the timeline?

The upshot is we do have a new remix, which I quite like. It will only be available physically on the 2CD edition of Listen Without Prejudice, which is unfortunate but personally I can live with that. We could see George Michael riding high in the singles charts soon, which would be very nice and the Freedom documentary will be a poignant watch which it’s broadcast globally in October/November this year.

Listen Without Prejudice will be reissued on 20 October 2017.

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George Michael

Listen Without Prejudice: 3CD+DVD super deluxe

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Listen Without Prejudice: 2CD deluxe

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Listen Without Prejudice: remastered vinyl

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track_listing

George Michael / Listen Without Prejudice reissue - super deluxe box set

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1 – 2CD deluxe

CD 1 Listen Without Prejudice remastered
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)

CD 2 – MTV Unplugged
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
8. Older
9. Star People
10. Praying for Time
11. Fantasy (featuring Nile Rodgers)

George Michael / Listen Without Prejudice reissue - super deluxe box set

Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1 – 3CD+DVD super deluxe

CD 1 Listen Without Prejudice remastered
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)

CD 2 – MTV Unplugged
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
8. Older
9. Star People
10. Praying for Time
11. Fantasy (featuring Nile Rodgers) – DOWNLOAD ONLY

CD3: B-Sides And Mixes
1. Soul Free (Special Radio Edit)
2. Freedom! ’90 (Back To Reality Mix)
3. Freedom! ’90 (Back To Reality Mix Edit)
4. Fantasy ’90
5. Freedom! ’90 (Edit)
6. Cowboys and Angels (Edit)
7. If You Were My Woman
8. Too Funky (Edit)
9. Crazyman Dance
10. Do You Really Want to Know
11. Happy
12. Too Funky (Extended)
13. Too Jazzy (Happy Mix)
14. Fantasy ’98
15. Heal the Pain – George Michael with Paul McCartney
16. Desafinado – George Michael with Astrud Gilberto

Disc: 4 – DVD
1. The South Bank Show 1990
2. Freedom! ’90
3. Praying for Time
4. Freedom! ’90 (MTV 10th anniversary)

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.

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