Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael
Collection of 24 Music Videos Plus Bonus Material
DVD (Region 1 Edition Available in the U.S.)
Price Varies by Retailer
This review was revised and updated on March 14, 2017, and again on October 29, 2017.
On Christmas Day 2016, the world lost a musical genius and a subtle mind. George Michael was a genuine artist, even if the mainstream taste failed to recognize him as such. People knew they enjoyed his creative work, but did they give the lyrics careful thought or consider how the music was affecting them?
If you’re interested in pursuing Mr. Michael’s body of work more carefully than most of his fans, take a look at this excellent collection.
Most of the material consists of twenty-four music videos, recorded between 1984 and 1998. Many are available on YouTube, but not always in their entirety. One recording in particular, Father Figure, from the 1987 album Faith, has one crucial explanatory scene which is omitted from the authorized Vevo upload on YouTube. You can find that footage on this DVD.
There may be many restored scenes in this collection, but I’m aware of the material in Father Figure and Outside. If you have the same weakness for women’s legs I have, freeze the DVD image at 03:54 to see what you missed from Outside while watching YouTube. Just don’t look too closely at what’s going on in the scene, unless you want to know why Basic Cable and YouTube couldn’t handle it. Oh, heck. That’s a warning for the highly sensitive. If you think you’ll enjoy it, knock yourself out.
Fun Fact: I didn’t notice the controversial camera shot in the Outside leg scene until after writing this review, and the review has been updated accordingly. It was shown on the screen very quickly, and maybe it wasn’t my thing in the first place. There must be a reasonable explanation for missing something like that. Maybe the legs distracted me.
Another classic, Kissing a Fool, is not available as an online stream in the United States because of licensing restrictions. It’s in the compilation, though, and comes across as a comfortable jam session among friends.
Some of the images in George Michael’s videos are disturbing. The choreography in Spinning the Wheel includes a tragic reminder of something in African American history.
Avoid simplistic thinking when watching these images or listening to the lyrics. One song (I’ll let you figure out which one) is an exercise in empathy, not hypocrisy. Although Mr. Michael admitted having substance abuse issues, he was also capable of viewing the nightmare from the perspective of a life partner who watches a loved one being destroyed by drugs.
Ladies and Gentlemen: The Best of George Michael has bonus material which can be viewed on equipment that allows navigation. The interview on Michael Parkinson’s BBC show is excellent, and includes an unexpected interpretation of Outside.
More than two months after George Michael’s passing, it was announced that he had died of organ failure at age fifty-three. Leave it at that. We don’t need details.
Mr. Michael was not someone his fans knew intimately, regardless of how appreciative he was of his audience. He was human, and his personal circumstances are the concern of only a small number of people.
If you’re still curious about what was going on in George Michael’s life, try googling information about his favorite nonprofits. He was generous with charities in Europe and the United States, and I’m sure you can find one which will accept a donation in his memory.