THIS is the news that George Michael fans have been waiting for years – a set of his unreleased songs will finally see the light of day.
The three tracks were found by the late megastar’s songwriting partner and best friend David Austin, who helped create a film about George’s life.
He said, “There are three or four records that have been completed. After Amy (Winehouse) passed away, they took all those demos out of the drawer and started getting people into them.
“We would never do that. George’s body of work is his total body of work. This is what we have to work with – and there are several tracks ready.
David performed at an exclusive screening of George Michael’s Uncut Freedom documentary, which the singer was working on shortly before he was found dead at home in Gering-on-Thames, Oxon, on Christmas Day 2016.
It promises to tell the singer’s life story in his own words for the first time, recounting his career as he has sold over 120 million records worldwide.
“I’m out of control”
Previously unknown songs will be featured in the film along with This Is How, which was released posthumously in 2019 and featured on the soundtrack to the romantic comedy Last Christmas.
David also hopes to release new material to celebrate his friend’s legacy, but vowed “never” to re-create George as a hologram stage show like Swedish superstars ABBA did.
He explained: “While George was with us, we thought about doing something at the Royal Albert Hall in connection with the release of Listen Without Prejudice.
“In the middle of Fast Love where it’s raining, we wanted to implement the idea of a hologram that would amaze people. I went to look at a bunch of them and they were crap. Very poor.
“Some people were ahead of the game, but it didn’t work out.” Freedom Uncut, which is two hours and 40 minutes long, chronicles George’s career since his appearance on Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 until the completion of his last album Patience in 2004.
“Some of George’s closest friends and admirers were called in to help make the film: Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Sir Elton John were interviewed about his life, as well as Liam Gallagher, Tracey Emin and James Corden.
The singer’s close friend Kate Moss pitches the film as his “final work” before Adele appears performing George’s Fast Love at the 2017 Grammys.
I had no doubt that I could achieve international solo success.
It closes with Coldplay’s Chris Martin covering A Different Corner. The film gives insight into George’s innermost feelings and reveals an intimate look at his life at home in his sprawling mansion in Highgate, North London. A recurring theme is his struggle to handle the spotlight after he went solo in the early eighties.
George says in the film: “I had no doubt that I could achieve international solo success. But the eighties gave rise to these huge celebrities who constantly battled on the charts. It was Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson and me. And I didn’t feel bright enough, bright enough to compete.”
As part of Wham, George’s fame skyrocketed after the release of his debut solo album Faith in 1987. He seemed to be flying high, but in reality he was paralyzed with anxiety due to his newfound status as an international music superstar. “Probably the most out of control thing I ever had was with Vera,” explains George.
“I really can’t explain how overwhelming this kind of hysteria can be if there’s only one person who can handle it. With Andrew, I could stay one foot in my old life, keep each other on the ground and take responsibility.
“When you can’t do it, it suddenly becomes scary. I don’t know many 24 year olds who, at least subconsciously, wouldn’t find it scary enough to kill themselves.
I was probably the most out of control during the Vera affair.
“Ten months of that was enough to push me over the edge. I was so alone. The only good part of my day was playing live. I started hiding when I got home. I did nothing but tried to restore real life. Music was my controlling lover.”
The stress got so bad that George decided not to promote Freedom! ’90 is the third single from his second album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Instead of appearing in the video, he hired supermodels Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz to sync the track.
In the clip, one of George’s iconic leather jackets is seen set on fire, which he says symbolizes a new chapter in his career. He explains: “I am aware of the need for a person, and I am not ready to give up my real person. I am a real homebody. I would rather walk the dog or be with friends.
“I feel like I don’t belong here being this professional selling my wares. I thought stepping back would save me from the failure of my career. Burning the jacket was something I said I really couldn’t handle it.”
George opened up his archives for the documentary, sharing endless footage of home footage including himself at home and on tour. The defining moment in George’s life was a meeting with his boyfriend, Brazilian fashion designer Anselmo Feleppa, in Rio de Janeiro, where he flew to play several live performances.
He talks about the moment his world came crashing down when Anselmo was told he had HIV. George recalls: “He had a test in Brazil.
“The darkest time of my life”
“I went home to my family for Christmas and sat down at the Christmas table, not knowing if my partner was terminally ill, which the people at the table were not aware of, and then not knowing if I was potentially terminally ill.
“That Christmas was probably the darkest and most frightening time of my life.”
George’s grief was deepened when, four years after Anselmo’s death in 1993, his beloved mother Leslie died of cancer. Speaking about his pain due to her diagnosis, George says: “I had about a six-month period where everything was fine. Then I found out that my mom had cancer.
“I was so spiritually depressed after my mother died.
“From the day I found out about my partner to the day I went on the mend with my mom, it was a constant fear of death or the fear of another bereavement. I have never felt such depression. I felt like an athlete who had a terrible injury in the middle of an incredibly successful career.
“I am much more aware of how inherent to my whole being is the ability to create music. Having lost it for three or four years of my life, music at the center of me, that was the darkest time.”
Beyond difficult periods, Freedom Uncut also celebrates George’s successes and innate sense of humor. His now-famous interview with Michael Parkinson in 1998, just months after he was arrested for a dacha in Los Angeles, is getting good reviews.
His scene with Ricky Gervais in his BBC Extras comedy in 2007, and Gavin and Stacey’s infamous sketch with James Corden for Comic Relief in 2011, will remind fans of just how funny George was by nature.
And his scene with Ricky Gervais in the BBC Extras comedy in 2007, along with the infamous Gavin and Stacey a sketch with James Corden for Comic Relief in 2011 will remind fans of how funny George was by nature.
He also reveals that he finally found peace while working on what would become his final studio album Patience in 2004. George later released Symphonica, a live album of new recordings ten years later, two years before his death. .
He was found dead by his then partner Fadi Fawaz. Later, the coroner recorded death from natural causes associated with heart and liver disease.
George says in the film, “In the last five or six years of my life, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m not like other people, and maybe that’s why I’m a star.
“Maybe this is the part that I could never accept. The moment I finished Patience, I remember driving home and listening to this album, I never knew it would be finished.
“And I remember thinking enough is enough. I finally thought that if I get hit by a bus tomorrow, I’ll be happy with the music I left in the world.”
GEORGE MICHAEL FREEDOM UNCUT will be shown in theaters around the world on Wednesday, June 22.
George Older’s third studio album will be re-released on vinyl later this year on Friday, July 8 as part of a box set that also includes an Upper vinyl, an essay telling stories related to the album and previously unseen photographs. Available for pre-order here.
The Day Liam Knocked
GEORGE strikes up an unlikely friendship with Liam Gallagher.
It started when he played at the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics with vocalist Oasis and Beady Eye.
But everything could end badly – after all, on the day they met, George had Liam’s brother Noel.
George’s buddy David said: “We did a show at the Olympics and came home and Liam was rockin’.
“There was a bit of a buzz because Noel was there and they didn’t see each other at all. George’s personal assistant Michelle said, “Liam is at the front door.” And George was like, “Damn it, let him in.”
“They got along like a house on fire. The bar at the end of the garden was very friendly.”