In , Michael finally released his third solo effort, Older, which followed in the more contemplative vein of Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. While the album went platinum in the United States, it was considered a commercial disappointment considering the success of Michael's previous work, though it fared better in Europe and the U. Michael sued Sony to end his contract, leading to a long and costly legal battle that ended in , with Michael signing to the newly launched DreamWorks Records label in the United States and Virgin in the rest of the world.
Michael sued Sony to end his contract, leading to a long and costly legal battle that ended in , with Michael signing to the newly launched DreamWorks Records label in the United States and Virgin in the rest of the world. It also included a new song, "Outside"; the song and its video were created in response to a widely publicized incident in which Michael was arrested by an undercover cop in Los Angeles for "performing a lewd act" in a public restroom. In , Michael finally released his third solo effort, Older, which followed in the more contemplative vein of Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. Featuring George Michael," setting the stage for him to strike out on his own. A second two-disc collection, Twenty-Five, was issued in , and arrived after Michael once again found himself the subject of some controversy. Both Michael and Ridgeley were interested in music, and in they formed a ska band called the Executive; the group didn't go far, but it gave them a taste for the spotlight, and they took what they learned and in formed a pop duo called Wham! During a television interview, Michael smoked what appeared to be a joint and spoke openly of his marijuana use, saying, "I'd say it's a great drug, but obviously it's not very healthy. But Michael displayed an ambition that went beyond Wham! The choice proved to be shrewd; Wham! Despite censorship and airplay issues, an edited version of the song's music video received ample airplay on North American music channels, fueling its popularity there. Michael wasted no time making his mark on his own, releasing his first solo album, Faith, in An orchestral pop show, it was captured on record by producer Phil Ramone, although Ramone died before the album could be released. Presumably to put the focus on his music rather than his image, Michael refused to appear in any music videos for the album and declined to tour in support; the album fared well commercially, but not as well as Faith, and Michael began expressing dissatisfaction with Sony, declaring his contract was financially inequitable and creatively stifling. His next project was a documentary, Freedom, plus the announcement that he was working on new recordings, but he died before anything was released, succumbing to heart failure on Christmas Day of However, the subsequent full-length release, Patience, didn't arrive until , and in a surprising move, it was issued not by Polydor, but the Sony-affiliated Epic label after Michael returned to the company he'd left nine years earlier. Michael also told journalists that he expected it to be his final commercially released album, adding he hoped to release future material online, with any proceeds going to charity. Over the next five years, Michael toured regularly, starting the Symphonica tour in In and , he had been arrested on drug-related offenses in the U. The Best of George Michael, a two-disc anthology that featured solo material as well as recordings with Wham! You can't afford to smoke it if you've got anything to do. Michael's family relocated to Bushey, Hertfordshire when he was in his early teens, and he struck up a friendship with one of his new schoolmates, Andrew Ridgeley. However, Michael and Ridgeley soon discovered how unfavorable their deal with Innervision was, and they opted out of their contract by forfeiting all future royalties on material from their first album, Fantastic, to sign with Sony worldwide. Music video[ edit ] The music video , directed by Andy Morahan ,  featured Michael's girlfriend Kathy Jeung to emphasize that he was in a monogamous relationship; at one point, he is shown using lipstick to write the words "explore" and "monogamy" on her back, which is photographed and retouched at the end of the video to reveal the phrase "explore monogamy". Michael completed the album and issued it under the title Symphonica in March ; it reached number one in the U. Michael promoted the album with a series of stylish, sexy music videos and a concert tour that found him playing shows over the space of 16 months. While the album went platinum in the United States, it was considered a commercial disappointment considering the success of Michael's previous work, though it fared better in Europe and the U. In , Michael released an album of covers, Songs from the Last Century, which was released worldwide by Virgin after Michael parted ways with DreamWorks.
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