Mary J. Blige Track Pulled From George Michael Album, Michael Exposes A Sense of Humor

The U.S. version of George Michael's Greatest Hits album will be shy one new song, and the Michael camp is none too happy about it, according to his website.

The international version "Ladies and Gentlemen - The Best Of George Michael" will include a duet with Mary J. Blige on the Stevie Wonder-penned "As," but Blige's label, MCA/Universal, has declined permission for the track to be released in America.

"The decision to drop this track off the album is completely mindboggling as it's sure to be the biggest hit Mary J. Blige has ever had in Europe," reads a note on Michael's official website, Aegean.net, signed by Andreas Georgiou, Michael's cousin. The letter encourages fans to call the Los Angeles office for Universal Records to ask them why the track is being excluded.

The MCA switchboard operator reached in the early afternoon reported that calls had just started coming into the company that day and that he had already fielded "15 or 20."

A spokesperson for Universal/MCA

told MTV News that nobody had informed the label that the pair were doing the duet. The parties involved did not have the necessary permission prior to the song being recorded and slated for release. The spokesperson added that the company had their own plans for releasing Blige product in the States, most notably her nearly completed new studio album.p> Georgiou was not available for comment at press time. Michael's U.K. publicist declined to comment on the politics of the situation, and his American spokesperson was unaware of the problem.

Meanwhile, as details leak out regarding the release, it's becoming increasingly obvious that Michael certainly has a sense of humor about his arrest for lewd conduct earlier this year (see "George Michael Charged With Lewd Conduct").

Far from retreating from the presumably embarrassing, well-publicized incident when he was arrested for performing a sexual act in front of an undercover policeman,

he's having a field day with it, much to the delight of his fans. The greatest hits package had "Ladies and Gentlemen" added to the title reportedly as a bit of toilet humor, supposedly alluding to his favorite hang out.

The album's first single, a new song called "Outside," opens with a police siren and other like noises, plus the tune's lyrics also appear to address the incident.

Most recently, the "London Daily Mirror" reports that the video for the single contains a scene shot on Wednesday depicting a man being arrested outside a public outdoor washroom after chatting with an undercover officer. Michael has been barred from the public facilities that were the scene of his arrest, but the paper says he set up shop at a beach facility 15 miles away in Marina Del Rey.

U.K. publicist Connie Filippello acknowledged that the video was being shot in L.A. on the day in question, but said she has no detailed knowledge of its contents.

The track has already been leaked to

radio in England and is receiving extremely heavy airplay action. The official release date is October 20. The album, a double CD package, comes out November 10. Michael is now signed to Dreamworks, but the greatest hits release fulfills an obligation to his old label, Sony.

CD 1:

  • Jesus To A Child
  • Father Figure
  • Careless Whisper
  • Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (with Elton John)
  • You Have Been Loved
  • Kissing A Fool
  • I Can't Make You Love Me Heal The Pain
  • A Moment With You
  • Desafinado (with Astrid Gilberto)
  • Cowboys And Angels
  • Praying For Time
  • One More Try
  • A Different Corner
CD 2:

  • Outside
  • Too Funky
  • Freedom 90
  • Star People 97
  • Killer / Papa Was A Rolling Stone
  • I Want Your Sex (Pt. 2)
  • Monkey
  • Spinning The Wheel
  • Waiting For That Day
  • I Knew You Were Waiting
  • Hard Day
  • Faith
  • Somebody To Love