Sony Music has announced a 25th anniversary reissue of George Michael’s Listen Without Prejudice for November 11th. Listen Without Prejudice 25 will be available on 2 CD, LP and Deluxe Limited Edition 3 CD/DVD box set.
A remastered version of Michael’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 2 CD edition. The concert took place at the Three Mills Island Studios in East London on Friday October 11, 1996 and featured Michael playing ten of his finest songs from the Wham!, “Faith,” “Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1” (Freedom ’90) and Older eras in an intimate setting.
The Deluxe Edition includes a third CD of mixes and B-sides and a DVD featuring the Listen Without Prejudice Southbank Show special, Freedom! 90 MTV 10th Anniversary performance and promos.
Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1. was Michael’s second solo album. Arranged, produced and almost completely written by Michael himself, it eloquently confirmed him as a pioneering, agenda-setting artist.
The staggering success of Michael’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 Michael had different plans.
Unable and unwilling to be a 24-hour pop star, constantly in the media spotlight, Michael 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 five of the most recognizable beauties on the planet, lip-syncing in place of Michael. This resulted in a difference in opinion between Michael and the label over how the album was promoted.
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.
Shortly after the album’s release, Michael met his great love Anselmo Feleppo. His anger at Anselmo’s tragic early death, together with his frustration over how the US label had marketed his album 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. Michael lost the case but gained the personal and artistic freedom he craved.
Twenty-six years on, Michael 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.
Freedom: George Michael (working title) is a stunning new film, narrated by Michael, that features an array of pop stars and the Freedom 90 supermodels. The film will be distributed by BBC Worldwide in partnership with Channel 4 and Sony Music. A United States premiere date has yet to be determined.
Directed by BAFTA nominee Phillip Smith, Freedom: George Michael (w/t), tells the gripping, dramatic story of the making of Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, the court case which followed and Michael’s personal struggle and pain as he loses Anselmo. Many have tried and failed, but Michael succeeded in reuniting the Freedom! ’90 video’s five supermodels.
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 Michael’s “masterpiece”; Liam Gallagher who says Michael has “Lennon in him”; Mary J Blige who reminds us that Michael “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.
1. Praying For Time (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
2. Freedom! ’90 (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
3. They Won’t Go When I Go (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
4. Something To Save (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
5. Cowboys And Angels (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
6. Waiting For That Day (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
7. Mother’s Pride (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
8. Heal The Pain (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
9. Soul Free (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
10. Waiting (Reprise) (Listen Without Prejudice Remastered)
1. Freedom! ’90 (MTV Unplugged album)
2. Fastlove (MTV Unplugged album)
3. I Can’t Make You Love Me (MTV Unplugged album)
4. Father Figure (MTV Unplugged album)
5. You Have Been Loved (MTV Unplugged album)
6. Everything She Wants (MTV Unplugged album)
7. Strangest Thing (MTV Unplugged album)
8. Older (MTV Unplugged album)
9. Star People (MTV Unplugged album)
10. Praying For Time (MTV Unplugged album)
1. If You Were My Woman (Mixes and B sides)
2. Fantasy (Mixes and B sides)
3. Freedom (Edit) (Mixes and B sides)
4. Cowboys And Angels (Edit) (Mixes and B sides)
5. Soul Free (Special Radio Edit) (Mixes and B sides)
6. Freedom (Back To Reality Mix Edit) (Mixes and B sides)
7. Too Funky (single edit) (Mixes and B sides)
8. Crazyman Dance (Mixes and B sides)
9. Do You Really Want To Know (Mixes and B sides)
10. Happy (Mixes and B sides)
11. Freedom! (Back To Reality Mix) (Mixes and B sides)
12. Too Funky (Extended) (Mixes and B sides)
13. Too Jazzy (Happy Mix) (Mixes and B sides)
14. Calling You (Cover To Cover Live Wembley Arena) (Mixes and B sides)
15. Fantasy 98 (Mixes and B sides)
16. Heal The Pain (with Paul McCartney) (Mixes and B sides)
17. Desafinado (with Astrid Gilberto)
1. Listen Without Prejudice Southbank Show special (DVD)
2. Freedom! 90 MTV 10th Anniversary performance (DVD)
3. Freedom! 90 promo (DVD)
4. Praying For Time promo (DVD)
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.