George Michael song gets first airplay eight months after the star died
A new George Michael single – which the star asked Nile Rodgers to work on before he died – has received its first airplay.
The track is a reworking, by Rodgers, of Fantasy, which Michael previously released as a B side.
The producer and musician worked on the single after being called up by Michael in early 2016.
Ex-Wham! singer Michael died, at the age of 53, on Christmas Day later that year.
Before airing the track on BBC Radio 2, Chris Evans read out a statement from Michael’s manager.
He said: “Fantasy was originally meant to be on Listen Without Prejudice and was intended to be one of the singles from the album, but somehow it got lost in the ether, in what was going on at the time.
“Though George did then release it later as a B side in 1990.
“However years later, just last year, when looking for a lead single for the reissue of George’s Listen Without Prejudice/MTV Unplugged album and to accompany the new film Freedom that George had just finished working on before Christmas, Fantasy was George’s first and obvious choice.”
He added: “George phoned up Nile Rodgers, his good pal, in early 2016, because the two of them have always spoken the same musical language as long as they’ve known each other. And Nile reworked the record and that’s what you’re about to hear now.”
Rodgers said he had mixed feelings about the record’s release.
“No one’s heart was dragged through emotional ambiguity more than mine. Tears, uncertainty, happiness and love”, he wrote.
When a follower asked: “Fantasy is not new music?”, he replied: “I hope my version is: #fingerscrossed”.
His comment came after Michael’s sisters Melanie and Yioda wrote on the official Michael website that their “aim is to carry on, as we know Yog would have wanted, to share and enjoy his precious legacy and to continue to bring you joy – through his extraordinarily beautiful music”.
They said: “We promise we will always try to honour him by staying true to his ambitions and his intentions.”
Michael’s body was found by his former partner, hairdresser Fadi Fawaz, at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.
He died from heart disease and a build-up of fat in his liver, which can be linked to drug and alcohol abuse.