George Michael perplexed by radio playlist policy for live tracks


George Michael has confirmed that Let Her Down Easy from his forthcoming Symphonica album was edited to remove the sounds of the audience to satisfy the demands of radio.

Writing on Twitter, the singer remarked “Out of interest, Let Her Down Easy is indeed a live vocal, but radio these days won’t play live or live-sounding tracks…. on their playlists anymore, so we had to go in and get rid of all audience sounds off the track.”

He pithily added “I know I don’t understand it either, all I can thank god for is that it’s a recent development, because I’d have lost on two number ones, with Elton and Queen!”

You can watch the video for Let Her Down Easy here.

Symphonica is released on 17 March 2014.

Deluxe Edition


Pure Audio Blu-ray Audio (no video)

Track listing

  1. Through
  2. My Baby Just Cares For Me
  3. A Different Corner
  4. Praying For Time
  5. Let Her Down Easy
  6. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
  7. Feeling Good
  8. John And Elvis Are Dead
  9. Roxanne*
  10. One More Try
  11. Going To A Town*
  12. Cowboys and Angels
  13. Idol
  14. Brother Can You Spare A Dime
  15. You Have Been Loved*
  16. Wild Is The Wind
  17. You’ve Changed

*bonus tracks on deluxe and blu-ray audio

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The new single is great and George’s voice sounds fantastic. I’m very excited for this album, but was hoping for at least one new George Michael original composition on it. I do really enjoy his covers, but I’m a die hard fan mainly because of his songwriting which he doesn’t seem to do much of anymore.


I am getting confused with this album. Is it a live album recorded on the tour a couple of years ago, or is it recorded ‘ live ‘ in the studio with added applause etc?


Exactly that was my stance: Why promote a live album with a single that sounds like a studio recording?

Warren Mason

I think the more apt examples here are the classics: Kiss – Alive (studio recording with audience applause added post production to fake a live atmosphere), Peter Frampton – Live (Live with very limited overdubs in appropriate places e.g. fixing rhythm guitar because an amp mic fell over during recording) and Cheap Trick – Budokan (I don’t know the post production story here). Of course most “live” albums are heavily overdubbed or done in controlled environments such as the studio or rehearsal space and are not really live per-se, especially these days. Another example are the live tracks on a Guns N Roses – Lies which was another studio job.

What I am saying is that hardly any albums marketed as live commercially really are. In this instance George Michael’s song is probably more marketable as a studio seeming track and broadcasting entities probably want to play it that way (if at all). My hunch is that his comments are designed to explain lack if broadcast interest and to create buzz via controversy. Many broadcasters air “live” songs in this market, so I certainly do not buy the assertion that there is a market shift away from the broadcast of tracks with “audience applause”.

Simon F

Don’t forget about the classic so-called Live And Dangerous by Thin Lizzy. Everything bar the drums and audience was re-recorded in the studio. Live, my arse.


Of course Bennie and the Jets is a fake. My point is that hearing clapping and cheering is not a musical listening experience, unless those sounds are creatively part of the song.


The only time clapping makes sense is when it’s part of the song itself, like in Bennie and the Jets. Short clips of clapping are OK in live albums, I guess, but who sits there listening to it beyond a second or 2 once the song is over? If I want to hear clapping and cheering I’ll go to a wrestling match.


But this is about atmosphere, and also about telling people that this is a live album that they’re going to buy! I noticed the same thing with “Dancing with the Moonlight” by The Scorpions from their MTV Unplugged album…

I really think this is ridiculous. In older days, they’d sell “live” albums that were studio recordings with added applause. Now they’re trying to market a live album by making the single sound like a studio recording!

Audience reactions are showing the listener if the audience enjoys the show. “Bennie and the Jets” is a fake, by the way. You don’t have to have a minute of clapping, but eliminating all live sounds is really senseless.