'George was enthusiastic about it': George Michael's lawyer on the Last Christmas movie

'George was enthusiastic about it': George Michael's lawyer on the Last Christmas movie

It’s a big day for George Michael fans.

A previously unreleased song, This Is How (We Want You To Get High), is released today (November 6) and was due to air on Zoe Ball’s BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show this morning. The track was co-written and co-produced by Michael and collaborator James Jackman. It was recorded during his final studio sessions and is the first original material to be shared for seven years.

As revealed in the latest issue of Music Week, the song is released by Virgin EMI as part of the soundtrack campaign for festive rom-com Last Christmas. The film, which stars Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding and co-writer Emma Thompson, is inspired by the music of George Michael and Wham!

The soundtrack is released by Sony Music on Friday (November 8) ahead of the film the following week. One of the key people involved in the project is Chris Organ. A partner at Russells and Michael’s lawyer since 1982, he continues to represent the singer’s estate. Michael died suddenly on December 25, 2016, though he had already approved the concept of Last Christmas.

“George had been involved in it during his lifetime and was enthusiastic about it,” Organ told Music Week. “So it was easier to get behind it, and everybody was enthusiastic about it anyway. I've been around a long time, so I can have a view of these things. You just try, wherever possible, to greenlight things which are consistent with the quality of the work that has been done up to date, and which as far as it's possible to see, you think George himself would have approved off. And having a number of people who have been around a long time makes that job a little easier.”

He was very keen on Christmas, it was a big time of year for him

Chris Organ

Organ said the soundtrack builds on the No.1 success of the Listen Without Prejudice – Vol 1 reissue by Sony two years ago. The campaign won the Catalogue Marketing title at the Music Week Awards last year.

“Everybody was very pleased with the Listen Without Prejudice reissue that came out,” he said. “It was a lovely campaign and it was very well put together, we work very well with Sony. George, when he passed away, had a deal with Universal and they too have been very supportive and cooperative, as there's a previously unreleased song on the album.”

Organ also discussed the approach to managing the late singer’s legacy.

“When someone passes unexpectedly, that [legacy management] is something that has to evolve over time,” he told Music Week. “It’s very much a work in progress that has been evolving over the last two and a half years to come up with the structure, a blueprint and a plan going forward. But underlying it all, I think, is that philosophy of, Is it Something that George would have liked and approved of? And hopefully we're going to get it right.”

Organ said it would be a “nice tribute” if Last Christmas finally made No.1 in the singles chart. It spent five weeks at No.2 in 1985 and returned to its peak last year. He noted that the singer’s tragic early death at Christmas has an “added poignancy” for the campaign.

“With Last Christmas being one of the quintessential Christmas pop songs of its time, everybody’s feeling very positive,” he said. “Christmas was an important time of year for [Michael]. He was very keen on Christmas, it was a big time of year for him.”

To read the full story on Last Christmas pick up the latest issue – or subscribers can click here.

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