I’ve seen a lot of artists and bands live but far fewer more than once in concert. On Musical Monday I’m currently featuring those artists I’ve seen most often live in concert.
This week’s tracks are from the late, great George Michael who’s already featured in my musical posts. I’ve seen him a number of times in concert, starting when he was with Wham. However, I much preferred his solo works, such as Careless Whisper (1984), his first solo track, which reached number one in over 20 countries, including the UK and US. It was written by George and his Wham bandmate Andrew Ridgeley, features a prominent saxophone riff, has been covered by a number of artists and reached number one in nearly 25 countries, selling about 6 million copies worldwide.
In contrast, the other evening I was listening to Symphonica which was George’s only live album released during his lifetime, in March 2014. It represented his first album of new recordings since Patience (2004). Vocals were recorded at the Royal Albert Hall – one I’d loved to have seen – during his Symphonica Tour (2011–12), while the string arrangements were recorded in a studio.
The album includes six of his own compositions (the rest being covers), none of which were new. The album was the final work by both American producer Phil Ramone, who died in March 2013, and by George, who sadly passed away on Christmas Day 2016. I particularly like the first track Through which was written by George and appeared on his fifth studio album Patience (2004).
George announced Patience would be his last album on sale to the public as a physical release, advising that the music he put out in the future would be available for download with fans encouraged to make a donation to charity. He said:
I’ve been very well remunerated for my talents over the years so I really don’t need the public’s money. I’d like to have something on the Internet which is a charitable download site where anyone can download my music for free. I’ll have my favourite charities up there and people will hopefully donate to that.
He stated that the decision would put less pressure to produce a new album every so often and allow him to have more of a private life.
Patience was Michael’s final studio album of original material before his demise.