This is the news that fans of George Michael have been waiting for years: a set of his unreleased songs will finally see the light of day.
All three tracks were discovered 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 recordings that are finished. After Amy (Winehouse) passed away, they pulled all those demos out of the drawer and started getting people involved.
“We would never do that. George’s work is his complete work. That’s what we have to work with – and there are a few leads that are finished.
David was speaking at an exclusive screening of the George Michael documentary Freedom Uncut, which the singer was working on shortly before he was found dead at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxon, on Christmas Day 2016.
It promises to tell the singer’s life story in his own words for the first time, spanning a career that has seen him sell more than 120 million records worldwide.
‘I was out of control’
The previously unreleased songs will feature in the film alongside This Is How, released posthumously in 2019 and featured on the soundtrack to the romantic comedy Last Christmas.
David also hopes to release the new material to celebrate his friend’s legacy – but has vowed to “never” recreate George as a hologram stage show like Swedish superstars ABBA have done.
He explained: “While George was with us, we were thinking of doing something at the Royal Albert Hall, around the release of Listen Without Prejudice.
“In the middle of Fast Love, the moment the rain is falling, we were looking to do a hologram idea that would wow people. I went to watch a bunch of them and they were crap. Really poor.
“Some people were ahead of the game but it didn’t work out.” Freedom Uncut, which is two hours and 40 minutes long, covers George’s career from his early days on Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley in 1981 until the completion of his final album Patience in 2004.
“Some of George’s closest friends and fans were called on to help make the film, with Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Sir Elton John all interviewed about his life, as well as Liam Gallagher, Tracey Emin and James Corden.
The singer’s close friend Kate Moss touts the film as her “final work” before Adele appears performing George’s track Fast Love at the Grammys in 2017.
I had no doubt that I could become an international solo success.
It ends 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 home life at his sprawling mansion in Highgate, north London. A recurring theme is his struggle to face the limelight after going solo in the early 80s.
George says in the film: “I had no doubt that I could become an international solo success. But the 80s spawned these massive celebrities who were constantly battling the charts. It was Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson and myself. And I didn’t feel bright enough, sharp enough to compete.
A household name as part of Wham, George’s fame skyrocketed after the release of his first solo album Faith in 1987. He seemed to be flying high but in reality he was paralyzed with anxiety over his newfound superstar status. international music. “I was probably the most out of control during the Faith thing,” George explains.
“I can’t really explain how overwhelming this type of hysteria can be if there’s only one person to absorb it. With Andrew, I could keep one foot in my old life, keep the feet on the ground and take the p*.
“When you can’t do that, all of a sudden it’s scary. I don’t know many 24-year-olds who wouldn’t at least subconsciously find it scary enough to self-destruct.
I was probably the most out of control during the Faith thing.
“Ten months of this was enough to push me to the brink. 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 try to restore a real life. Music was my dominant lover.
The stress got so bad that George chose not to promote Freedom! ’90 – the third single from his second album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. Instead of appearing in the video, he enlisted models Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Tatjana Patitz to sync the track.
One of George’s signature leather jackets is set on fire in the clip – which he says symbolizes a new chapter in his career. He explains: “I am aware of the need for a character, and I am not ready to give my real character. I am a real homebody. I would much rather walk my dog or be with friends.
“I feel like I don’t belong there, being that professional selling his wares. I thought taking a step back would save me from ruining my career. The jacket burn made me say I really couldn’t handle it.
George opened up his archive for the documentary, sharing endless reels of personal footage – including him at home and on tour. A defining moment in George’s life was meeting her boyfriend, Brazilian fashion designer Anselmo Feleppa in Rio De Janeiro, where he had flown off to play a handful of live shows.
He talks about when his world came crashing down when Anselmo learned he had HIV. George recalls: “He took the test in Brazil.
“The darkest period of my life”
“I came home for Christmas and sat at the Christmas table not knowing if my partner, who the people around the table knew nothing about, was terminally ill and not knowing if I was potentially terminally ill .
“That Christmas was probably the darkest and scariest time of my life.”
George’s grief was compounded when, four years after Anselmo’s death in 1993, his beloved mother Lesley died of cancer. Speaking of his pain because of his diagnosis, George says: “I had about a six month period where everything was fine. Then I found out my mom had cancer.
“I was so devastated spiritually after mom died.
“From the day I discovered my partner until the day I was recovering with my mother, it was the constant fear of death or the fear of the next loss. I had never felt this kind of depression I felt like a sportsman who had a terrible injury in the middle of an incredibly successful career.
“I’m so much more aware of how intrinsic it is to my whole being to be able to create music. To have lost it for three or four years of my life, the music at the center of me, it was the darkest period.
In addition to the tough times, Freedom Uncut also celebrates George’s successes and his innate sense of humor. His now famous interview with Michael Parkinson in 1998, just months after his arrest for a cabin in Los Angeles, cuts a good figure.
His scene with Ricky Gervais in his BBC comedy Extras in 2007, as well as an infamous sketch by Gavin & Stacey with James Corden for Comic Relief in 2011, will remind fans just how naturally funny George was.
And his scene with Ricky Gervais in his BBC comedy Extras in 2007, as well as an infamous sketch by Gavin & Stacey with James Corden for Comic Relief in 2011, will remind fans just how naturally funny George was.
He also reveals that he had finally found peace while working on what would become his last studio album, Patience, in 2004. George then released Symphonica, a live album of new recordings a decade later, two years before his death. .
He was found dead by his partner at the time, Fadi Fawaz. A coroner later recorded a death from natural causes linked to heart and liver disease.
George says in the film: “Over the last five or six years of my life, I’ve finally come to terms with the fact that I’m not like everyone else and maybe that’s why I’m a star.
“Maybe that’s the little that I could never accept. The moment I finished the track Patience, I remember coming home and listening to this album that I didn’t know not that it would be over.
“And I remember thinking, enough is enough. I finally thought that if a bus hit me tomorrow, I would be happy with the music I left in the world.
GEORGE MICHAEL FREEDOM UNCUT will be shown in cinemas worldwide on Wednesday, June 22.
George’s third studio album, Older, 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 behind the album, and never-before-seen photos. Available for pre-order here.
The day Liam came knocking
GEORGE struck up an unlikely friendship with Liam Gallagher.
It all started when he performed at the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony with the lead singer of Oasis and Beady Eye.
But it could have gone wrong – because on the day they met, Liam’s brother Noel was at George’s house.
George’s pal David revealed: ‘We played the show at the Olympics and went home and Liam just rocked.
“There was a bit of a hoo-haa because Noel was there and they hadn’t seen each other at all. George’s assistant, Michelle, was saying, ‘We have Liam at the front door. And George was like, ‘Holy shit, let him in.’
“They got along like a house on fire. It was very friendly at the end of the garden at the bar.