Sunday, September 24, 2017

George Michael – Too Jazzy (Happy Mix)

Lost but not least! George Michael – Too Jazzy (Happy Mix) (Columbia)

‘Too Funky’ and subsequently ‘Too Jazzy’, which belonged to the same package, are pretty much illustrative of the chaotic relation George Michael and his label (Epic/Sony) managed to have.
This brings us back at a time – 1992 – when the singer was on his way to deliver the follow-up to his ‘Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1’ album. It never saw the light though due to Michael‘s lawsuit against the label. The singer complained that Sony had not completely supported the release of ‘Listen Without Prejudice vol. 1’. With this resulting in its poor performance in the US as compared to ‘Faith’. Meanwhile Sony responded that Michael‘s refusal to appear in promotional videos had contributed to the bad response.

Michael left aside the perspective of releasing the vol. 2 of ‘Listen Without Prejudice’. And from then, he took 3 songs which he donated to the AIDS benefit album ‘Red Hot + Dance’. Eventually doing the same as far as the royalties from ‘Too Funky’ were concerned.

‘Too Funky’, but even more ‘Too Jazzy’, are pretty much illustrative of Michael‘s constant will to control his career. But also of his immense creativity. A creativity he eventually expressed, not only as a songwriter/perfomer. But also behind the camera at times. Or behind the mixing consoles, the way he did when recording ‘Too Jazzy’…

The man had undeniable studio skills. And chances are great he might have become a brilliant remixer in other circumstances. What a clever work he managed to do on ‘Too Jazzy’. Even though he conceived it more as a mashup than a remix, blending altogether elements from ‘Too Funky’ and ‘Happy’.

“Would you like to seduce me? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”, asks Anne Bancroft in a sample taken from ‘The Graduate’. No doubt as to how Michael did it on ‘Too Jazzy’. Even though it got most likely overshadowed by ‘Too Funky’ at the time.

Missed it back then? No worries! ‘Sony-UK’ is to give it a new life as a part of the ‘Listen Without Prejudice /MTV Unplugged Deluxe Remastered’ album due for release on Mar. 03, 2017.

Overview
Any of us will most likely remember George Michael for countless and/or different reasons. As one of Pop duo Wham! by the first half of the 80’s. For his debut-single, ‘Careless Whisper’, back in 1984. If not for its brilliant unofficial remix by the likes of Abicah Soul (for the House fans of you). Not to mention ‘Too Funky’ or ‘Fastlove’ where he made a brilliant demonstration as to how he also had the groove in him.

How to ironically not think of his performance on the original Band Aid recording of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ some 32 years ago?!? But also to his countless collaborations with other big names. From Aretha Franklin, on the Narada Michael Walden produced ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ (1987). To Elton John, on ‘Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me’ (1991). Or Whitney Houston, on ‘If I Told You That’ which he co-produced with Rodney Jerkins.

George Michael, just like Michael Jackson, pretty much had a clear idea as to what he wanted to do. And therefore what had to be done to achieve his artistic goals. A strong temper, he sometimes had disagreements with the labels he’s been dealing with. He also exposed himself politically, fighting for different causes. But also went thru problems which have altered his career at times.

With thanks to his talents as a singer, songwriter and music producer, George has sold more than 100 million records worldwide in a career that spanned 4 decades.
He first got recognition with schoolfriend Andrew Ridgeley as Wham! But he most likely became famous in his own rights, starting with the release of ‘Careless Whisper’. He scored 7 number one singles in the UK and 8 number one hits Stateside.

On the health front, he had an alert in late 2011 when he nearly died from pneumonia. Doctors had performed a tracheotomy to keep his airways open in a Vienna hospital. After receiving treatment, he made a tearful appearance outside his London home. There he said it had been “touch and go” whether he lived.

In 2016, he announced a second documentary on his life entitled ‘Freedom’, set to be released in March 2017.

George Michael peacefully died at home on Dec. 25, 2016…

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