Faith (George Michael album)

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Faith
Studio album by George Michael
Released 30 October 1987
Recorded 1986–1987
Genre Pop, pop rock, blue-eyed soul, adult contemporary
Length 58:04 (CD version)
49:37 (LP version)
Label Columbia, Epic
Producer George Michael
George Michael chronology
Faith
(1987)
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
(1990)
Singles from Faith
  1. "I Want Your Sex"
    Released: 1 June 1987
  2. "Faith"
    Released: 12 October 1987
  3. "Father Figure"
    Released: 2 January 1988
  4. "One More Try"
    Released: 11 April 1988
  5. "Monkey"
    Released: 3 July 1988
  6. "Kissing a Fool"
    Released: 21 November 1988

George's liner notes in the booklet:

"These songs are the result of the last two years of my life. Family and friends, whose loyalty and time are more important to me than ever before.

Love as always, George"

Faith is the first solo album by British singer-songwriter George Michael, released in October 1987 via Columbia Records/Epic Records. The album has won several awards including the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1989. To date, the album has sold over 25 million copies worldwide,[1] and received diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Faith spawned six top five singles that substantially helped it dominate the chart of 1988. In 2003, the album was ranked number 480 on Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In 2012, the album ranked at #472 on an updated list by the magazine. The album was also notable for entering the R&B albums chart at number one making it the first album by a Caucasian artist to hit the top spot on that chart, mainly due to the R&B/funk-leaning singles that were released from the album, most notably, "One More Try", "I Want Your Sex" and "Father Figure".

Background[edit]

By 1986, George Michael had spent five years as lead singer of the popular duo Wham! and had grown tired of accusations that the group, which featured best friend Andrew Ridgeley, was nothing more than a teenybopper group despite the serious subject matter that was included on albums such as Fantastic and Make It Big. After the success of Make It Big and its subsequent follow-up, Music from the Edge of Heaven, Michael had grown weary of continuing the group and expressed the desire to split up the group to Ridgeley. A decision was made that the group would split following the end of a tenure at Wembley Stadium for what was titled Wham: The Final. Following the split, Michael began to work on songs that eventually would make his first solo project, which would be titled Faith.

Throughout the promotion of Music from the Edge of Heaven, Michael had recorded songs without Ridgeley. One song, in particular, "A Different Corner", was released as a George Michael solo track rather than with Wham!, as had a previous single, "Careless Whisper", which was Michael's first solo single (it was billed as Wham! featuring George Michael in America), in 1984. Following the group's split, Michael performed "A Different Corner" on his own. Michael also worked as a collaborator on other musicians' projects, including Elton John, singing background for Elton's 1985 hit, "Nikita". While recording his first solo album, Michael was asked by producer Narada Michael Walden to contribute duet vocals for Aretha Franklin's single, "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me". The song was released as a single on Franklin's Aretha, and entered number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1987 giving Michael confidence that he could have a career of his own without Wham!.

Recording[edit]

Michael spent the most part of 1987 writing and recording the songs for the Faith album. In addition to playing a large number of instruments on the album, he wrote and produced every track on the recording except for one, "Look at Your Hands", which he co-wrote with David Austin. Using the then-revolutionary Synclavier 9600 Tapeless Studio, Faith was Michael's first digital recording. A contemporary pop-R&B album, Faith showcases the vocals of Michael in a new-style mode. It features songs littered with introspective lyrics, generating controversies about Michael's personal relationships at that time. Most of the material was recorded at Puk Recording Studios in Denmark and Sarm West Studios in London.

Some of the material was more graphic than Michael's previous efforts with Wham! Such a song was "I Want Your Sex", which had three parts, the first part was titled "Rhythm 1: Lust", which was the version that would eventually be released as a single and featured electro funk influences, the second part was titled "Rhythm 2: Brass in Love", which mixed a more instrumentally-based funk live instrumentation with a smoother R&B arrangement during the verses. A third part, which was edited to be the final song on the album, was titled "Rhythm 3: A Last Request", with lyrics of Michael and his date and Michael drunkenly trying to convince his suitor to his bed. This mix featured a jazz-influenced, quiet-storm R&B sound. The title track began with an organic coda that was actually the music to Wham!'s "Freedom", played as if in a cathedral. Afterwards, the song featured a rockabilly sound similar to Bo Diddley while Michael added his own style with his vocals. "Father Figure" originally was a dance-styled production until Michael removed the snare drums from it and kept it that way because he loved what he heard, making the song a mid-tempo R&B ballad. "One More Try" was a soul song in tradition to the songs of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder with lyrics of a man who pushes his lover away out of fear of repeating past relationships, only to accept the invitation in the end.

"Hard Day", much like the first two-halves of "I Want Your Sex" was inspired by funk, mainly from Prince, in "I Want Your Sex" and in "Hard Day", Michael even applied a vocal emulator where his vocals were sped up much like Prince's records at the time. The social commentary song "Hand to Mouth" had a slight pop and folk approach while a similar social commentary song, "Look at Your Hands", co-written by Michael and David Austin, produced a pop song with rock elements with the piano and saxophone. "Monkey" returns to the funk influences of some of the other songs. A remix of the song by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis brings a New Jack Swing approach from the original. "Kissing a Fool" is a jazz-influenced ballad with its lyrics solemnly describing a breakup.

Faith World Tour[edit]

Main article: Faith World Tour

George Michael embarked on a world tour to promote the album in February 1988, opening at Tokyo's Budokan Stadium, before going on to dates in Australia, Europe and North America. In Los Angeles, Michael was joined on stage by Aretha Franklin for a duet on "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)". While on tour, new singles from the album continued to be released. In June, George interrupted the tour to sing three songs at Wembley Stadium's Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute.

Reaction and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau B+[3]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[4]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[5]
Stylus (favorable)[6]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[7]
Yahoo! Music (favorable)[8]

The album peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, becoming Michael's first number-one solo album. Its early, and successive, success on the chart was said to be partly sustained—with help from plenty of press appearances and promotions—by its strong single releases. With "I Want Your Sex" propelling the album's debut atop the chart, "Faith", the second single off the album facilitated the album's continuing dominance as well. "Faith" was 1988's best-selling single in the United States; with "Careless Whisper" being the best-selling single in 1985, it honoured George Michael for being the first act to achieve two U.S. year-end No.1 singles since 1968, when The Beatles had "Hey Jude" top the year-end singles chart after "I Want to Hold Your Hand" in 1964. Michael also surpassed many music artists and critics by having both the year's No.1 album and the No.1 single. That hadn't happened since 1970, when Simon & Garfunkel grabbed both positions with the Bridge over Troubled Water album and Single.

Between 1987 and 1988, Faith produced an amazing string of hit singles, including six Top 5 Billboard Hot 100 hits, four of which ("Faith", "Father Figure", "One More Try", and "Monkey") reached #1, making him the only British male singer to have four No.1 singles from one LP on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also had impressive staying power, with 51 non-consecutive weeks inside the Billboard 200 Top 10, including 12 weeks at #1. It was also the first album by a white solo artist to hit No.1 on the US R&B charts. It also reached No.1 in the United Kingdom, where it stayed at the top spot for only one week. In all, it was the best-selling album of 1988 in the United States, and eventually reached Diamond certification by the RIAA. According to Nielsen/SoundScan, current sales stand at 11 million copies, making it the 52nd best-selling album in the United States. Overseas, the album has sold around 25 million copies worldwide.

George Michael made an interview with Rolling Stone magazine saying :I was much happier with Faith being No.1 black album than I was when it became No.1 pop album.[9]

The album earned George Michael numerous accolades. At the 31st Grammy Awards, he was nominated for the Album of the Year and won. George Michael racked up three wins at the 1989 American Music Awards: Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist and Favorite Soul/R&B Album for Faith. The 2011 re-release of the album received universal acclaim from music critics according to Metacritic.[10]

Legacy[edit]

In 1989, Faith was ranked No.84 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s and No.57 on their list of 100 greatest albums of the year.[11] In 2003, the album was ranked number 480 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Faith was ranked 79th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at No.24 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[12] Reviewing the reissue of the album in Metro in 2011, Arwa Haider claimed: "Faith still bursts with self-belief, designer vanity, classic songs and imagery, right from the opening title track which begins with a funereal church organ rendition of Wham!'s hit, Freedom, before clicking into jaunty rock 'n' roll. It's easy to hear why Faith achieved multi-million status, although the masterful ballads (Father Figure, One More Try) have stood the test of time better than Michael's funk-pop."[13] Slant Magazine listed the album at #62 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s"[14]

With sales of more than seven million in 1988, Faith was named in the United States as the most shipped album of the year. Along with the success of the American singer Michael Jackson's album Bad, as well as breakthrough albums by many new and old artists, it was seen as a sign that US record sales were slowly recovering. By the end of 1988, the industry had sold millions of albums, an increase of approximately one percent, as recorded by Nielsen SoundScan. Compared with record sales in 1987, this showed a two percent increase.

2011 remastered release[edit]

A remastered edition of Faith was released on 31 January 2011 in UK and on 1 February 2011 in the US. It is available in several formats: Limited Edition Collectors Box Set:, Two-CD/DVD Special Edition, Two-CD Edition and iTunes LP.

The release features: the remastered album, an additional CD of remastered 12" versions/B-sides; a DVD featuring a TV special from 1987, a hard-bound book that includes an exclusive interview with George Michael, sleeve notes, rare photos & memorabilia; a vinyl album replica of the original LP – and a memorabilia envelope that includes five art prints, reproduction poster, tickets & tour pass from the Faith tour sourced from George Michael's personal archive. All housed in a 12x12 numbered, black and gold-foiled slipcase with original artwork overlay.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by George Michael, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Faith" – 3:16
  2. "Father Figure" – 5:36
  3. "I Want Your Sex (Parts I & II)" – 9:17
  4. "One More Try" – 5:50
Side two
  1. "Hard Day" – 4:48
  2. "Hand to Mouth" – 4:36
  3. "Look at Your Hands" (Michael, David Austin) – 4:37
  4. "Monkey" – 5:06
  5. "Kissing a Fool" – 4:35
CD/cassette bonus tracks
  1. "Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Remix) – 6:29
  2. "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part III)" – 3:48
  • In the liner notes, "I Want Your Sex" is listed as "I Want Your Sex (Monogamy Mix)", with the parts titled "Rhythm 1 Lust", and "Rhythm 2 Brass In Love", respectively.

2011 remaster release[edit]

Disc one
Track 1–9 of the first disc features the remastered version of the original album.[15]
  1. "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part III)" – 3:48
Disc two
  1. "Faith" (Instrumental) – 3:16
  2. "Fantasy" – 5:02
  3. "Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Mix) – 9:04
  4. "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (Live) (Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright) – 7:03
  5. "Kissing a Fool" (Instrumental) – 4:35
  6. "Love's in Need of Love Today" (Live) (Wonder) – 4:43
  7. "Monkey" (7" Edit) – 4:48
  8. "Monkey" (A Capella & Beats) – 7:27
  9. "Monkey" (Jam & Lewis Remix) – 8:10
2011 Remaster DVD
  1. George Michael & Jonathan Ross Have Words (1987)
  2. Music Money Love Faith (February 1988)
  3. "I Want Your Sex" – promo video (re-synched with re-mastered audio)
  4. "I Want Your Sex" (Uncensored) – promo video
  5. "Faith" – promo video
  6. "Father Figure" – promo video
  7. "One More Try" – promo video
  8. "Monkey" – promo video
  9. "Kissing a Fool" – promo video

Personnel[edit]

  • George Michael – vocals, keyboards, bass, drums, all instruments on "I Want Your Sex Pt 1" & "Hard Day", most instruments on "Monkey"
  • Robert Ahwai – guitars
  • J.J. Belle – guitars
  • Hugh Burns – guitars
  • Roddy Matthews – guitar on "Monkey"
  • Chris Cameron – piano, cathedral organ, keyboards, backing vocals
  • Betsy Cook – keyboards
  • Danny Schogger – keyboards
  • Deon Estus – bass
  • Ian Thomas – drums
  • Andy Duncan – percussion
  • Steve Sidwell – horns
  • Jamie Talbot – horns
  • Rick Taylor – horns
  • Paul Spong – horns
  • Malcolm Griffiths – horns
  • Mark Chandler – horns
  • Steve Waterman – horns
  • Shirley Lewis – backing vocals
Production
  • Arranged and produced by George Michael
  • Engineered by Chris Porter; assisted by Paul Gomersall & Paul Wright
  • Re-mix and additional production By Shep Pettibone
  • Re-mix engineer: Steve Peck

Accolades[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1989 Faith
(performed and produced by George Michael)
Album of the Year[16] Won
"Father Figure"
(performed by George Michael)
Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[17] Nominated

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1989
[18]
Faith Favorite Soul/R&B Album Won
Favorite Pop/Rock Album Nominated
George Michael Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist Won
Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist Won

MTV Video Music Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1988
[19]
"Father Figure"
(Directors: Andy Morahan and George Michael)
Best Direction in a Video Won
"Father Figure"
(Director of Photography: Peter Mackay)
Best Cinematography in a Video Nominated
"Faith"
(Art Director: Bryan Jones)
Best Art Direction in a Video Nominated
1989
[20]
George Michael Video Vanguard Award Won

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1988
[21]
Faith Best British Album Nominated
George Michael Best British Male Artist Won

Ivor Novello Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1989 Faith International Hit of the Year Won

Japan Gold Disc Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1988 Faith The Best International Pop Solo Album of the Year[22] Won

Charts[edit]

Peak positions[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "George Michael: A colourful life". BBC News. 14 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Robert Christgau review
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ Sputnikmusic review
  6. ^ Stylus review
  7. ^ Virgin Encyclopedia review
  8. ^ Yahoo! Music review[dead link]
  9. ^ Jet - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1988-09-26. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  10. ^ "Critic Reviews for Faith:Special Edition". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of 1989" by Jancee Dunn, Rolling Stone Magazine, 14–28 December 1989, page 239
  12. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  13. ^ Arwa Haider Metro, 14 January 2011.
  14. ^ http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/feature/best-albums-of-the-1980s/308/page_4
  15. ^ "Faith – Remastered 2CD/DVD Special Edition [CD+DVD, Box Set]". amazon.com. Retrieved 28 November 2010. 
  16. ^ "GRAMMYs' Best Albums 1980–1989". grammy.org. 4 February 2008. 
  17. ^ Hunt, Dennis (13 January 1989). "Chapman, McFerrin Lead Grammy Race : Baker, Sting, Michael, Winwood Also Capture Mutliple Nominations". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  18. ^ Marlow, Shirley (31 January 1989). "Randy Travis and George Michael Score Triple Plays". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  19. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards: 1988 VMA Winners". Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  20. ^ "MTV Video Music Awards: 1989 VMA Winners". Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "The BRITs 1988". brits.co.uk. British Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  22. ^ "第2回日本ゴールドディスク大賞" [The 2nd Japan Gold Disc Awards]. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  23. ^ a b c Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
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  27. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Retrieved 2 May 2011. 
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External links[edit]