George Michael's family have reportedly blocked plans for a tribute concert in the late singer's memory.
British television presenter Esther Rantzen, 77, had first broached the idea of a concert shortly after George's death in December, 2016. Esther had hoped the event, which she envisaged being held at London's Royal Albert Hall, would raise money for her charity Childline - of which George was an active supporter during his life.
However, as she attended the Pride of Britain Awards in the capital on Monday (30Oct17), Esther told the Daily Mirror that George's relatives had halted plans for the event.
"There will no longer be a tribute concert because his family said no," she said. "It was a real shame as I'd have loved to celebrate his music and give the fans a chance to say goodbye – and it would have been to benefit his favorite charity, too."
But she added: "Once the family say no there's nothing we can do.'
It had been touch and go as to whether the family would approve of the concert, with reports in April suggesting they were unsure whether to authorize the event or not. All was apparently resting on a meeting between Esther and the family, with a source telling the Mirror: "The most important thing about organizing this is that the family approve of everything.
"At the moment there is a big possibility it won't happen because the family aren't on board. The meeting will either make or break plans."
George was a big supporter of Childline, which Esther founded in 1986, during his career, and even donated £2 million ($2.6 million) in royalties from his 1996 hit Jesus To A Child to the organization.
A previously unheard George Michael track is to receive its first play, eight months after the singer's death.
The track, to be aired on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday morning, is thought to be a remix of previously-released track Fantasy from the 1987 album Faith.
Producer Nile Rodgers, who had been working with Michael shortly before he died, said he hopes the song will make fans proud.
It will premiere on The Chris Evans Breakfast Show at 8.10am, Radio 2 said.
The late star's publicist confirmed the news, saying Sony Music was "proudly" presenting the new single.
News of the single came as his sisters Melanie and Yioda posted an update on his official website, saying they will carry on his musical legacy "exactly as Yog would have wanted".
Musician and producer Nile Rodgers has been tweeting about the possible release of the track for the last few weeks.
He said it had been a "long heartfelt, tear-filled journey", adding: "I hope we'll make the fans proud of the amount of love we put into it."
Rodgers tweeted shortly after the news about the track broke on Wednesday afternoon.
Michael, who rose to fame in band Wham!, died aged 53 from heart disease and a build-up of fat in his liver.
His body was found by his partner, hairdresser Fadi Fawaz, at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Christmas Day.
During his career, Michael enjoyed seven number ones on the UK singles charts, including Careless Whisper, A Different Corner, Jesus To a Child and Fast Love.
He had 23 top 10 hits, including Faith, Father Figure, Outside and You Have Been Loved.
George Michael‘s second solo album, 1990’s Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1, will be reissued across a number of formats in November, including a 3CD+DVD super deluxe edition box set.
The super deluxe will comprise the original album remastered, a CD of the audio of George’s 1996 MTV Unplugged performance (remastered), a bonus disc of B-sides, mixes and rarities and a DVD of UK TV’s Southbank Show special from 1990.
This set comes with a 36 page book featuring liner notes, photos and memorabilia from George’s personal archive. Best of all this super deluxe is really well priced at only £34 in the UK at the time of writing. Less than HALF the price of The Human League set, which is the same 3CD+DVD format!!
A two-CD edition includes the Unplugged performance, but omits the bonus disc of mixes/rarities (and the DVD of course). This ’25th anniversary’ (it’s actually been 26 years) is also being released on vinyl, too.
All formats are out on 11 November 2016.
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
9. Star People
10. Praying for Time
CD3: B-Sides And Mixes (super deluxe only)
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
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 (super deluxe only)
1. The South Bank Show 1990
2. Freedom! ’90
3. Praying for Time
4. Freedom! ’90
NEWS / George Michael’s manager, Michael Lippman, has confirmed that an “anniversary album” – expected to be a deluxe edition of the 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1 – is on the schedules for an autumn release.
Speaking to Billboard.com in reference to the forthcoming film Keanu, which not only features four of George’s songs, but also some has references to the superstar singer-songwriter woven into the plot-line, Lippman couldn’t contain his excitement: “A golden opportunity dropped in our laps. We were trying to find as much exposure as possible,” he told Billboard, adding “We’ve had an unprecedented 13 synchs this year leading into the anniversary album. It’s just getting started.” [‘synch’ is where music is used in visual media such as film, television shows, advertisements, etc].
Sony issued a Freedom! ’90 picture disc for Black Friday/RSD last year and George himself was fairly active in tweeting about #listen25, so an anniversary edition of his Faith follow-up always looked likely, but this is the first time it’s been mentioned publicly by someone in the know.
The Keanu film was released on Friday in the USA and features the songs Father Figure, One More Try, Faith and Freedom! ’90. It was directed by Peter Atencio and written by Jordan Peele, Alex Rubens. The reissue of Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1 is expected in September.