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George Michael - Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael

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When George Michael was riding high on the charts, only a handful of critics acknowledged that he was a brilliant mainstream pop singer/songwriter who, at his best, rivaled his idol Elton John in crafting state-of-the-art pop songs and productions. For nearly a full decade, he was a superstar in his native U.K. and the U.S., and even when Older failed to win an American audience, he retained his stranglehold on the British and European charts. As a solo male hitmaker, virtually nobody could touch him between 1984 and 1994, and even when his grasp began to slip, he still made compelling music. All of this is proven by his first hits compilation, Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael. Spanning two discs, 28 songs, and two distinctive halves -- one "For the Heart" (ballads), one "For the Feet" (dance tunes) -- the collection is a monster, as impressive for its size as it is for its achievements. To some casual listeners, the sheer scope of the collection may seem overwhelming, since it doesn't just have the hits, but also rarities, compilation tracks, lesser-known singles, and duets. Of course, that's precisely what makes it worthwhile for anyone who owns all the albums. (They'll also be interested that many of the mixes sound slightly different -- as if the masters were run through the antiquated "Q Sound" process that marred Madonna's similar Immaculate Collection.) And some skeptics may be swayed after listening to the individual discs, which are surprisingly consistent works that reveal forgotten gems, and thereby the true depth of his talent. It is true that listening to both discs in a row is a little exhausting, but there's little question that Ladies & Gentlemen comes close to being definitive. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Disc 1:
1) Jesus to a Child - George Michael
2) Father Figure - George Michael
3) Careless Whisper - George Michael
4) Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John / George Michael
5) You Have Been Loved - George Michael
6) Kissing a Fool - George Michael
7) I Can't Make You Love Me - George Michael
8) Heal the Pain - George Michael
9) A Moment With You - George Michael
10) Desafinado - Astrud Gilberto / George Michael
11) Cowboys and Angels - George Michael
12) Praying for Time - George Michael
13) One More Try - George Michael
14) A Different Corner - George Michael

Disc 2:
1) Outside - George Michael
2) Fastlove - George Michael
3) Too Funky - George Michael
4) Freedom 90 - George Michael
5) Star People '97 - George Michael
6) Killer/Papa Was a Rollin' Stone - George Michael
7) I Want Your Sex, Pt. 2 - George Michael
8) Monkey - George Michael
9) Spinning the Wheel - George Michael
10) Waiting for That Day - George Michael
11) I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) - Aretha Franklin / George Michael
12) Hard Day - George Michael
13) Faith - George Michael
14) Somebody to Love - George Michael / Queen

Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael
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Ladies & Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael | George Michael