RELEASE
November 10, 1998
LABEL
Sony Music Distribution

Album Review

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, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Jesus to a Child
  2. Father Figure
  3. Careless Whisper
  4. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  5. You Have Been Loved
  6. Kissing a Fool
  7. I Can't Make You Love Me
  8. Heal the Pain
  9. A Moment with You
  10. Desafinado
  11. Cowboys and Angels
  12. Praying for Time
  13. One More Try
  14. A Different Corner
  15. Outside
  16. Fastlove
  17. Too Funky
  18. Freedom 90
  19. Star People '97
  20. Killer/Papa Was a Rollin' Stone
  21. I Want Your Sex, Pt. 2
  22. Monkey
  23. Spinning the Wheel
  24. Waiting for That Day
  25. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
  26. Hard Day
  27. Faith
  28. Somebody to Love