The album George Michael called his "greatest moment" will get the deluxe treatment this summer: his third album, 1996's Older.
Though the record came off a six-year gap between albums, the late British pop star was hardly idle. In the years since 1990's Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, he'd embarked on a tour comprised of mostly cover songs and had a few major critical and commercial hits with some, too; chiefly, the chart-topping "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (a duet with its originator, Elton John) and an acclaimed performance of "Somebody to Love" at Queen's tribute concert to late frontman Freddie Mercury. He also anchored the charity compilation Red Hot + Dance in 1992, donating three songs to the project including the Top 10 hit "Too Funky." Primarily, though, the period was characterized by his chief offstage endeavor: an ultimately unsuccessful British lawsuit to extricate himself from his ongoing contract with Sony Music. (Michael damned the agreement as "professional slavery," decrying Sony's lack of proper promotion of Listen Without Prejudice and the lengthy copyright terms they'd hold over his work.)
At the same time, Michael would enter one of his most profound relationships. Having met designer Anselmo Feleppa during his trip to Brazil to perform at Rock in Rio in 1991, they'd begin dating a year later. Though Michael would not come out as gay until a 1998 arrest for public lewdness forced his hand, his brief but passionate relationship with Feleppa (which ended a year later when he died of an AIDS-related brain hemorrhage) unlocked a new side of his emotions. Michael wrote Older's opening ballad "Jesus to a Child" about Anselmo, and dedicated the album to him.
Elsewhere, Older - eventually released when Sony sold Michael's contract to Virgin/DreamWorks - balanced a new and evolving sonic landscape (including jazz, bossa nova and modern dance influences) with the feelings of disillusionment and loneliness he felt after the lawsuit and the loss of Anselmo. Whether or not audiences fully picked up on the nuances of his new sounds, the record was still a resounding success: all six of the album's singles - chart-toppers "Jesus to a Child" and "Fastlove," "Spinning the Wheel," "Older," a re-recording of "Star People" and "You Have Been Loved" - hit No. 3 or higher in his native England over two years. ("Jesus" and "Fastlove" reached the Top 10 in America - his last solo appearances on the Hot 100.)
After pandemic and supply-chain delays forced Michael's estate to skip a proper 25th anniversary celebration last year, Older comes back bigger with a heavy-duty box set due July 8. The package will feature both the remastered album and the EP Upper (included with reissues of the album in 1997) on 180-gram vinyl and CD, along with an additional three CDs featuring 27 B-sides, live tracks, edits and remixes. (A handful were only released as promo issues, while album producer Jon Douglas' remix of "Spinning the Wheel" makes its debut in any format here.) The set is rounded out by a 48-page book, The Story of Older, featuring rare photos and reminiscences from the album's contributors, plus a set of art prints. (Altogether, this box resembles the deluxe edition of solo debut Faith more than the smaller, CD-only box set of Listen Without Prejudice.)
The full track list is below, as is Amazon listings for the box set and a standalone vinyl issue of the original album.
Older (Deluxe Edition) (Legacy, 2022)
5CD/3LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
2LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada
CD 1/LP 1-2: Original album (released as Aegean/Virgin V 2802 (U.K.)/Aegean/DreamWorks DRMD-50000 (U.S.), 1996)
- Jesus to a Child
- Fastlove, Pt. 1
- Spinning the Wheel
- It Doesn't Really Matter
- The Strangest Thing
- To Be Forgiven
- Move On
- Star People
- You Have Been Loved
CD/LP 3: Upper (released as Aegean/Virgin CDVX 2802 (U.K.), 1997)
- Fastlove, Pt. 2
- Spinning the Wheel (Forthright Edit)
- Star People 97
- The Strangest Thing 97
- You Know That I Want To
CD 3: Mixes One
- Fastlove (A/C Summer Mix)
- Star People 97 (Radio Edit)
- Freedom 94 (Live @ The MTV Europe Music Awards, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany - 11/24/1994)
- One More Try (Live Gospel Version @ The Concert of Hope, Wembley Arena, London, England - 12/1/1993)
- Star People (Unplugged)
- Spinning the Wheel (Radio Edit)
- Fastlove (Promo Edit)
- Jesus to a Child (Special Radio Edit)
- Spinning the Wheel (Forthright Dub Mix)
- Star People (Forthright Club Mix)
CD 4: Mixes Two
- Fastlove (Forthright Extended 12" Mix)
- Star People (Forthright Dub Mix)
- I'm Your Man (The Jon Douglas Mix)
- Fastlove, Pt. 2 (Fully Extended Club Mix)
- Spinning the Wheel (Forthright Extended 12" Club Mix)
- Star People (Galaxy Dub Mix)
- Fastlove (Forthright Remix 7" Version)
- I Can't Make You Love Me
CD 5: Mixes Three
- Desafinado (with Astrud Gilberto)
- The Strangest Thing (Live)
- Star People (Forthright Radio Edit)
- The Strangest Thing 97 (Loop Ratz Mix)
- Fastlove (Forthright Dub Mix)
- Jesus to a Child (Radio Edit)
- Spinning the Wheel (The Jon Douglas Remix)
- Star People (Galaxy Mix)
- Older (Instrumental)
Disc 2, Track 1 is a unique edit/mix to this disc
Disc 2, Tracks 2 and 5-6 and Disc 3, Track 6 from "Spinning the Wheel" U.K. CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDG 1595, 1996
Disc 2, Track 3 and Disc 3, Track 5 from "Star People 97" U.K. CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDG 1641, 1997
Disc 2, Track 4 and Disc 5, Track 4 from "You Have Been Loved" U.K. maxi CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDX 1663, 1997
Disc 3, Track 1 from "Fastlove" U.S. CD single - Aegean/DreamWorks DRMDS-59001, 1996
Disc 3, Track 2 from "Star People 97" U.K. promo CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDPJ 1641, 1997
Disc 3, Tracks 3-4 and Disc 5, Track 9 from "Jesus to a Child" U.K. CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDX 1571, 1996
Disc 3, Track 7 from "Fastlove" U.S. promo CD single - Aegean/DreamWorks PRO-CD-4874, 1996
Disc 3, Track 8 from "Jesus to a Child" U.S. promo CD single - Aegean/DreamWorks PRO-CD-4818, 1996
Disc 3, Track 9; Disc 4, Tracks 1 and 5; and Disc 5, Track 5 from Aegean U.K. 12" single 12AE002, 1996
Disc 3, Track 10; Disc 4, Track 6; Disc 5, Tracks 3 and 8 from "Star People 97" U.K. maxi CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDX 1641, 1997
Disc 4, Track 2 from "Star People" U.K. 12" promo - Aegean 12AE004, 1997
Disc 4, Tracks 3-4 from "Fastlove" U.K. CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDT 1579, 1996
Disc 4, Track 7 from "Spinning the Wheel" U.K. maxi CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDX 1595, 1996
Disc 4, Track 8 and Disc 5, Tracks 1-2 from "Older" U.K. CD single - Aegean/Virgin VSCDG 1626, 1997
Disc 5, Track 6 from "Jesus to a Child" U.S. promo CD single #2 - Aegean/DreamWorks PRO-CD-4786, 1996
Disc 5, Track 7 previously unreleased
Todd R. says
Sorry to see this SDE -only treatment of this album. I love vinyl and would love to purchase this set, but the combined-only mentality makes it financially out of reach.
All the hype put behind this announcement, and yet, only one "claimed" unreleased track (it did in fact appear commercially, albeit in a non-so obvious way...) All the unplugged versions of songs from this set were already mined for LWP's box years ago (?) In a perfect world, an unreleased COVER TO COVER performance would have shown more depth to that set, then this set could have been properly balanced with live material of it's own period.
I respect GM's privacy, and he had every right to insist on what does, and does not get released. The simple fact is that those of us who were die-hard fans back at this time, already collected all these tracks - and STILL HAVE THEM, and paying top-dollar just to have them(again, and now) in a box is a bit too much.
Shawn C. says
There will also be multiple vinyl only releases, including standard black and limited edition colored vinyl.
A. Vogt says
There's lot of complaints about this over at the Superdeluxeedition website about the lack of a CD-only set, I mean people are up in arms about it! Combining formats in one box is dumb, no doubt about it.
Mike Duquette says
It is arguably my biggest pet peeve in reissues. If you're putting something rare on vinyl in the box? Mayyyyybe you can get away with it. (Still very sore over the live Blu-ray in Prince's Welcome 2 America, the sole audiovisual exclusive in a $100 set that otherwise just had the album in two formats.) Then there's the whole lack of uniformity among George's three solo album reissues, although that doesn't bother me as much.
Agree 1,000% percent with your points Mike. I held off on the Prince “Welcome 2 America” Deluxe Box until the price dropped. Was solely interested in the CD + concert Blu-ray and grabbed it shipped from Amazon for $34.00. As of this post, it’s available on Amazon for $33.26 (down from the original MSRP of $99.98) That’s a fine price for all the content and box presentation.
They are duplicating the pkaybook for the Faith box set, which was fantastic. One of my favorite albums of all time, so I wanted every last disc and remix. The vinyl pressing is great. With Older, I'm not as enthusiastic. I already have an original CD copy, so I'm opting for the vinyl only. I don't recall Listen Without Prejudice receiving the big box treatment (unless I just missed it). I would have been interested in that, but I have the reissue vinyl too. Anyway, my point is that these large sets will probably be the norm for Michael's reissues going forward. If they ever get around to Wham! box sets...count me in.
I also agree. The world may have gone back to vinyl again… but I haven’t. I’d be happy with just the CD… don’t even need the other extras.
And no… I didn’t collect them back in the day as the budget just didn’t allow for those things.
Michael Khalsa says
Well written article. I choose to get the box & the green vinyl. I am looking forward to it.
If anyone wants to format the music as they were originally released:
1. Jesus to a Child (Radio Edit)
2. Freedom '94 (Live Version)
3. One More Try (Live Gospel Version)
4. Older (Instrumental Version)
5. Jesus To A Child (Special Radio Edit)
6. Fastlove (Promo Edit)
7. I'm Your Man (The Jon Douglas Remix)
8. Fastlove Part II (Fully Extended Mix)
9. Fastlove (A/C Summer Mix)
10. Spinning The Wheel (Radio Edit)
11. You Know That I Want To
1. Spinning The Wheel (Forthright Edit)
2. Spinning The Wheel (Forthright Extended 12" Club Mix)
3. Fastlove (Forthright Remix 7 Version)
4. Spinning The Wheel (The Jon Douglas Remix)
5. Older (radio edit)*
6. I Can't Make You Love Me (Studio Version)
7. Desafinado - George Michael with Astrud Gilberto
8. The Strangest Thing (Live)
9. Star People 97 (Radio Edit)
10. Everything She Wants (Unplugged)*
11. Star People (Unplugged)
12. Star People (Galaxy Mix)
1. Star People (Forthright Club Mix)
2. Star People (Galaxy Dub Mix)
3. Star People (Forthright Radio Edit)
4. Star People (LP Edit)*
5. The Strangest Thing (Live)
6. Waltz Away Dreaming*
7. The Strangest Thing 97 (Radio Version)
8. Father Figure (Unplugged)*
9. Praying For Time (Unplugged)*
10. The Strangest Thing 97 (Loop Ratz Mix)
11. Fastlove, Pt. 2
12. Star People 97 (Radio Version)
*not included in the boxset.
I sincerely hope the estate does the Wham! albums next and includes Foreign Skies. And they need to sort out their shipping or use a different company. Thank you
Larry Davis says
Well I preordered this "Older" mixed media box...for now...if Sony decides to put out a CD/video set later on, I will switch my order...I'm not bothered by the lack of uniformity among boxsets in someone's reissue catalogue anymore...like the Manic Street Preachers & REM...if they all looked the same, it would be kinda boring, methinks...I do wonder what's next...Wham?? Or will Patience get done as well??