LONDON (Reuters) – A new track recorded by George Michael in his last studio sessions before his 2016 death was released on Wednesday, in which the late British pop idol sings about social ills.
George Michael appears in this handout picture in New York, U.S., 1996. Andrew Macpherson/Handout via REUTERS
“This Is How (We Want You To Get High)”, his first original material since 2012, will play at the end of upcoming festive film “Last Christmas”, itself inspired by Michael’s solo tunes and hits from his Wham! days.
One of the best-selling artists of all time, Michael, who rose to fame in the 1980s as part of duo Wham!, died at his home on Christmas Day 2016, aged 53. A coroner said he died of natural causes.
“The previously unreleased track, which was recorded during George’s final studio sessions, is his first original material to be shared for seven years,” a press release said.
“The lyrics, written exclusively by George, see the star addressing society’s ills with his trademark blend of self-deprecation and wry humor.”
Against a catchy melody, Michael’s distinctive vocals belt out lines like “Your daddy was a drinker”, “My daddy was a toker”, “I will always try to get my life together” and “This is how we want you to get by on your sorry lives”.
An accompanying lyric video features animation of Michael over the years.
The Grammy Award-winner, who had several drug-related run-ins with the law, began working on the song in 2012. It was finalised in the studio in 2015.
Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou to Greek Cypriot immigrant parents, Michael was known for Wham! and solo hits like “Last Christmas”, “Careless Whisper” and “Faith”.
The “Last Christmas” film, starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding about a woman working as an elf in a Christmas shop, takes its name from the 1986 Wham! festive tune.
The soundtrack for the romantic comedy, co-written by Oscar winner Emma Thompson, features 12 Michael solo songs and three Wham! tunes.
“Emma had a meeting with him and he was intrigued because … the intention was never to make his story, it was to make a story inspired by a song,” David Livingstone, a producer on the film, told Reuters, referring to a meeting Thompson had with Michael to discuss a screenplay.
Thompson heard the new tune and three other unreleased Michael songs last year when working on the soundtrack.
“It’s not like a song that’s been dug out of the vaults, that’s been sitting there unused because it wasn’t good enough. It was a song that he intended to do something with and this is its new home,” Livingstone said.
“(It) does feel like it’s tailor-made.”
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Additional reporting by Lisa Keddie; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne