Music Notes

George Michael's First Posthumous Single Is A Funky New Take On An Old 'Fantasy'

Nile Rodgers reworked the track at Michael's request.

It's been more than eight months since pop icon George Michael passed away last Christmas. Since then, we've seen tributes from fellow musicians and others who admired Michael for both his talent and his charity. Late-night host James Corden even shared Michael's hilarious appearance in the very first Carpool Karaoke.

This week, fans of the former Wham! member got a surprise with the announcement of his first posthumous single. The track, which premiered this morning on BBC Radio 2, isn't entirely new — it's a remake of an old B-side called "Fantasy." Michael's manager David Austin explained to host Chris Evans that the song was meant to be a single on his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice, but "got lost in the ether."

According to Rolling Stone, the song ended up being released as a B-side with "Freedom '90," later appearing on a deluxe edition of Faith in 2011. Last year, while working on a reissue of Listen Without Prejudice, Michael decided he wanted the track as a single, and asked Nile Rodgers to rework it.

"George phoned up Nile Rodgers, his good pal, in early 2016 because the two of them have always spoken the same musical language, and Nile has reworked the record," Austin said. Us Weekly reports that Michael never heard the completed single, which Rodgers said on Twitter he was "extremely emotional" about creating.

Rodgers' take on the song gives it a funkier edge, adding in his own guitar, as well as previously unreleased vocals. 

"One day you say you love me / The next you tell me you don't / One day you say you will / The next you tell me you won't," Michael sings on the track, later declaring, "If you ain't got time for me / I'll find another fantasy."

"A classic Rodgers choppy guitar line sits under a freshly minted pop-house rhythm, as Michael's voice is pleasantly — and quite radically — mangled, before segueing into the original's top line," The Guardian's Ben Beaumont-Thomas writes of the track, which he gave four out of five stars.

It may not be an entirely new song, but many fans of the late singer were nonetheless delighted to hear Rodgers' take on the track, with one Twitter user writing that she had tears in her eyes while listening. "So sad George can't be here with us celebrating this release," another wrote.

The singer's family also released a statement on his website explaining that Michael would have wanted them to "carry on" by sharing his music, adding, "We promise we will always try to honour him by staying true to his ambitions and his intentions."

George Michael's reissue of Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged was originally intended for a 2016 release, but was ultimately delayed, and will reportedly be available October 20 of this year.

Listen to the new release below, and then check out the original version:

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Cover image: Slavko Sereda / Shutterstock.com

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