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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George Michael

Listen Without Prejudice: 2CD deluxe


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George Michael

Listen Without Prejudice: remastered vinyl



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)

42 responses to Saturday Deluxe / 9 September 2017

  1. Auntie Sabrina says:

    BBC Radio 2 play it quit a lot. Maybe they should have waited a few weeks ’till the Freedom documentary is broadcast on Channel 4.

  2. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Fantasy is no 85 in the UK singles chart

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      A bit disappointing, when you consider the publicity it got. It’s probably not being played on the radio…

  3. Steve Lees says:

    I think this remix is killer, Nile Rodgers has made this a very contemporary sounding record, my teenage kids love it even and it has been on constant rotation since we bought it. If it is given air time it will be a hit, getting the air time may be the difficult part!

  4. Scott says:

    This isn’t the first time this has happened with a George Michael release. The US version of “Twenty Five” was released several months after the UK version and contained an new track (“Feeling Good”) that was unavailable anywhere else. As a completest, I ended up having to buy both. Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s not as bad as those artists whose new albums have a Best Buy exclusive, a Walmart exclusive, a Target exclusive and an Amazon exclusive, all with different bonus tracks. That is really taking advantage of fans!

    My bigger question is, what is it about “Fantasy” that George loved so much? I mean, it’s an okay song, but even for a b-side, it’s not one of his strongest. Yet, in addition to it being the b-side of “Freedom ’90,” it was also remixed for the b-side of “Outside” in 1998. He included it on the UK version of “Ladies and Gentlemen” and the deluxe editions of both “Twenty Five” and “Faith.” Now it’s being included in the “LWP” deluxe edition (which makes perfect sense) and being released as a single to promote this album. I just don’t get all the love for basically a throwaway track.

  5. Michel says:

    The Japanese edition will have a different bonus track, namely “Don’t let the sun go down on me” (track 11 on CD2), both on the SDE and on the standard edition. I don’t know if it will contain the “Fantasy” download as well. There’s no mention of it on CDJapan.

  6. Todd R. says:

    I’m so confused.

    You’re closer to this than I am – and I can only go on what I’ve “experienced” in the media for the launch of the SDE of LWP V.1 and then sadly Mr. M’s passing.

    In the wake of GM’s death – Nile Rodgers did say he’d just talked to GM shortly before his passing, specifically about working on something (not named).

    What Mr. Austin claims could still be true – the one part about the music “industry” is that musicians don’t need a six-month work-up period to work on a song. Thankfully, they can just get together (or even do it virtually online) when ever (and including “as soon as”) they want.
    (case in point – I was played U2 songs from the forthcoming album mixed by Edge THAT day that even the management present had’t heard yet.) The idea that the song is a download for the SDE is just a huge disappointment. You did have all this time to change out the one disc etc (assuming there is a werehouse somewhere of LWP boxes….) But only including it in the more-common (and let’s face it – more stocked in stores) 2-cd version will most likely boost sales.

    This just muds up the already messy history of “Fantasy” anyway. How does a b-side from “Freedom’90” show up on the FAITH SDE box anyhow? (Ok, maybe it was written in that time – but unknown till 4 years later….and to listeners ATTACHED to FREEDOM ’90..) That along with what was missing on the FAITH SDE and the live b-sides that weren’t released until they were a part of LWP V.1 singles and later stand-alone songs (a perfect entry and complement to GM’s COVER TO COVER tour efforts)…. it just screams uneven and thrown together. Heck the 25th anniv. of Faith was celebrated in it’s 26 year.

    Forgive my passion on this – I was very excited to see GM get back into the scene a bit, even if it was by looking back. A favorite writer of mine (all the way back to Wham!) his loss was as hard as all. I only hope that if they ever try to sure up the Wham! Catalog they pay more attention to the discography than what they’ve done so far with GM’s first two solo efforts.

    Of course – I’m picking up the LWP SDE asap., anyway .

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Here’s the thing… George Michael had a strong opinion when it came to his own stuff and what we perceive to be the vague ‘rules’ of reissues wasn’t something he was bothered about. With Faith, which I thought was a solid, but not outstanding, reissue, he missed out a few instrumentals, didn’t include ANY unreleased material and probably decided on a whim to include Fantasy – presumably because he liked it and he remembered recording it around the same time. With Listen Without Prejudice, he was consistent in not including any unreleased material and chose to include MTV Unplugged which is from an entirely different era. It is reasonably likely that Sony pointed this out to George and his management. If they did, then George obviously said he didn’t care. In short, with the artist influencing both reissues (Faith and LWP) you are not going to necessarily get either what is logical or what fans want. You are going to get what George wants to give you.

      • Todd R. says:

        Hi Paul,
        And for that reason alone, I’ll end up purchasing LWP SDE anyway.

        My dream set would have corrected those problems we both stated, but include
        COVER TO COVER performances (fantastic!) [no Wham pun intended] and save the UNPLUGGED for a cd/dvd set of it’s own – or with OLDER (that alone w/UPPER etc it’s own deluxe effort).

        {Dear Andrew – I know you’re happy out of the spotlight, but any chance you want to oversee the WHAM! reissues? please?”}

  7. James Giraffe says:

    Just a thought. People often moan when a newly done remix is included in a box set reissue. This time people are complaining that a newly done remix isn’t included.

    As someone always comments on here with reissues, you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

  8. DAF says:

    Do we know if a soundtrack for the documentary has been planned? If so, will the new version of Fantasy be on it?

  9. MusicFan says:

    I am of the understanding this new version was meant for the film and not the re-issue.

    Ultimately I don’t see the problem. If you want the 2 CD version then buy it. If you want the deluxe then buy it.

    Personally I’ve pre-ordered the standard, deluxe and vinyl editions.

  10. HS says:

    I had already ordered LWP on all formats when it was first announced, so I am thrilled with the new remix being included on the 2CD version. I was worried at first it would be a download only so this works out fine for me.

  11. Angie says:

    I feel blessed we can still get his music. Enjoy what he has left us and thank his family for still sharing it with us.

  12. Peter says:

    The ‘new’ artwork for the 2cd set could be a slipcase

    • Eric says:

      That’s true, @Peter. I’d like to hope so. I’ll hold out till it’s in the shops before deciding which edition to go for, though I’m leaning towards the SDE.

  13. elliott buckingham says:

    i wish the sde version was the same packaging as the faith sde with vinyl book ect

  14. Kauwgompie says:

    I hate that stupid download. Im going to buy the SDE AND the 2cd version. I will throw the 2cd out except disc 2 and put that in the SDE. Problem solved, utterly preposterous I have to do that but that’s what I will do once the pice for the 2cd has come down significantly.

    • SimonP says:

      I once bought a Stereo MCs CD (in Essex) and only discovered when I got home (in Bucks) that I’d purchased an empty CD case. Some time later I found the same CD in a bargain bin of CDs that had no cases and remembered that I had never thrown out that original CD-less one. It then turned out that there were two versions of that album, one with 12 tracks, one with 13 tracks and my disc and case didn’t match.

      That’s what you’ll have…

  15. Fady says:

    I honestly cannot get my head around the next negative comments over the fact that the remix of Fantasy is only available on the double CD and not the SDE. George Michael passed away not so long ago, and all the critics can write about is this minor flaw? Many of you sound like a five year child who got dozens of presents on Christmas but isn’t happy because they didn’t get the one gift not on their wish list. Seriously, have a good hard look at yourself and appreciate what we have instead of what we don’t. Cheers.

    • Martin Kilroy says:

      Because it feels like robbery to have to buy the 3 cd and 2 cd to get all the songs which I’m sure Sony view as “marketing”

  16. Eric says:

    Hang on, so they’ve changed the artwork for the 2CD reissue of LP to that much-later image of George with the big sunglasses? Ugh. This project is a mess. Whatever the merits or reasoning behind the Fantasy remix, surely the original sleeve concept of LWP was hugely significant to George? Nothing makes sense.

  17. alan hansen says:

    although i’m still irked about the whole SDE of this not containing the bonus track (and ‘no,’ the download digital inclusion doesn’t count), i’ll begrudgingly smile and walk away if this new smart remix/re-recording is released as a cd-single.

  18. Alan says:

    “We could see George Michael riding high in the singles charts soon” – good luck with that one! Can’t see this doing that well, it’s not even a new song. Did he have much singles chart action immediately after his death?

    • Daran says:

      In US Careless Whisper re-entered at #33 on Billboard chart, two others placed in 40-100, and in UK Last Christmas went in at #7 and two others placed in 40-100. So that would be a yes then Alan…..

  19. -SG- says:

    This is flogging a dead horse. Honestly, GM has a whole album of material from this era unreleased, yet all we can get is this? And still sticking to the unplugged performance instead of cover2cover. This is ovbiously targeted to completists only, who will inevitably buy both formats. Sad.

  20. Urs says:

    In the first paragraph, I think the last word should be “reissue” instead of “single.

  21. Kiki says:

    To me that story’s a complete nonsense …

    Why putting the remix on the 2CD edition and not the 3 Cd edition ?
    If the story appeared to be true, then Sony must have had to repress the CD2 of the 2CD set… then why don’t do it for the box set ?
    Can you imagine that if you pay the price for the box set, you ‘ll miss one track and only have a f*** ing download ???

    I was excited at first to know about this new version of Fantasy, but i’m really disappointed to see that if I want a complete box set of that period, I’ll have to do it on my own and not a Sony made…

  22. graham says:

    echoes of tony visconti’s lodger remix gstatement

  23. Jan says:

    It would be a nice gesture if Sony produced a one track CD single and slipped it in to the 4 disc box. A little like what they did with the Sly Stone Amazon exclusive a couple of years back.

  24. Shane says:

    I don’t think this new remix adds anything to the original, I don’t think I’ll be playing it if I only buy the deluxe box, which won’t be purchased through amazon otherwise it will arrive with all spines busted and looking like someone used it as a step at the powerfit course.

  25. Daran says:

    I still think not including the new documentary in the SDE is a mistake, never mind the new single.

  26. Auntie Sabrina says:

    The design of the 2CD cover release no longer seems to tie in with the original/SDE but what’s done is done. The Freedom documentary is coming out too then which is good news.

    Thanks for the feedback…

  27. Auntie Sabrina says:

    Sony had manufactured the 4 disc SDEs so couldn’t repress the disc 2, the 2CD version was at the time exactly the same, but the ‘new’ song was added. It just doesn’t ring true and they ought to have just released Fantasy separately to tie in with the Freedom documentary…

  28. T says:

    As the other commenter said, Nile was working with George just days before his death, this idea did not come about posthumously. From his tweets, they were going to put an album together, and I would guess, if Nile hasn’t actually said it directly himself, that is what the idea for this was intended for originally. I think it is brilliant that they included it on the LWP re-release and I consider it a great gift to fans.

  29. Frédérique says:

    Remember when Dj Naughtyboy said George did ask à few djs to remix one song … sure Nile Rodgers was among them and it was in 2016

  30. Russ says:

    Nile has previously spoken about how he was in touch with George just days before his death re a project and was due to call him on Christmas day. So there was definitely something going on between them.

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