George Michael’s Unreleased ‘Trojan Souls’: Watch A Documentary On The Elusive Album
George Michael’s early 1990s, post-Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 court battle with his then-label Sony is well-documented, but perhaps less known is the late singer’s never-released project Trojan Souls. Michael had begun work on Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2, but that also got scrapped, with only single “Too Funky” and two other planned tracks for the album (“Do You Really Want To Know” and “Happy”) surfacing on 1992 compilation Red Hot + Dance. A fourth track, “Crazyman Dance,” was tacked onto “Too Funky” as a b-side.
Michael next set about recording demos some time in 1992 and/or early 1993 for Trojan Souls, which was reportedly aimed at being an album featuring other artists singing and playing over his own compositions. Those who were apparently invited to contribute to the LP include Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Sade, Seal, Anita Baker and Wendy Melvoin (of Prince’s band, The Revolution).
Cut to last week, just a short time after Michael’s surprising death at age 53, when someone quietly leaked a rather fascinating 81-minute documentary about the making of Trojan Souls onto YouTube. The earliest bit in the video shows Michael and his partner at the time, Anselmo Feleppa, pulling up to a Los Angeles recording studio in a Mercedes convertible. The singer addresses the cameraman as “Andros” — presumably Michael’s lifelong friend Andros Georgious, father of Vanderpump Rules star James Kennedy, who, as a godson of George Michael’s, could stand to inherit some of the pop star’s fortune.
The documentary is a stunning glimpse into Michael’s in-studio process. He’s seen here laying down keyboard chords, working out guitar rhythms, producing vocal arrangements with a team of professional back-up singers and — a real highlight — jamming with Melvoin, who turns out some very Prince-like riffs over the final 13 minutes or so. Also featured is Michael’s longtime bassist Deon Estus.
Songs intended for Trojan Souls include “One Day I’ll Know” and “This Kind Of Love,” the latter of which Elton John recorded rough vocals for at one point.
Interestingly, Elton would go on to release a somewhat similar collaborative project, his Duets album, in late 1993, which included his hit 1991 duet rendition of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” with Michael.