Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1

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For the Regine Velasquez album, see Listen Without Prejudice (Regine Velasquez album).
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
Studio album by George Michael
Released 3 September 1990
Recorded December 1988 – July 1990
Genre Pop, rock, R&B[1]
Length 48:13
Label Columbia, Epic
Producer George Michael
George Michael chronology
Faith
(1987)
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
(1990)
Older
(1996)
Singles from Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
  1. "Praying for Time"
    Released: August 13, 1990
  2. "Waiting for That Day"
    Released: October 15, 1990
  3. "Freedom! '90"
    Released: October 30, 1990
  4. "Heal the Pain"
    Released: February 4, 1991
  5. "Cowboys and Angels"
    Released: March 18, 1991

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 is the second solo album from British pop star George Michael (on this album, it is spelled as George Michæl), released in September 1990.

The album was Michael's final album of all-new material on Columbia Records until 2004's Patience. It was the album's disappointing sales in the U.S. that led to Michael's legal battles against Sony Music, in which he accused the corporation of not fully supporting him as an artist.

History and project[edit]

After the massive success of Michael's 1987 Faith album, the expectations for his follow-up album were also high. In September 1990, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was released to mixed reviews (with the more dance-oriented Vol. 2 ostensibly scheduled to follow in June 1991). The album was a stark departure from the previous LP, with largely acoustic instrumentation and a sombre intensity in many of the lyrics and melodies.

George Michael wanted to be taken more seriously as a songwriter,[citation needed] which resulted in a more thoughtful, often moody recording. The album peaked at number two on the U.S. Billboard Top 200 albums chart. The first single released from the album was "Praying for Time", which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single "Freedom '90" reached No. 8 in the U.S., and in early Spring 1991, "Waiting for That Day" peaked at No. 27 in the U.S. "Mother's Pride" achieved Top 40 success outside the U.S., but received considerable airplay in the States during the Gulf War, despite its not being released as a single.

Even though the album sold 8 million copies worldwide,[2] it was viewed as a commercial disappointment in the U.S., with barely 2 million in sales, compared to the multi-platinum success of Faith (which had been certified 7× Platinum for 7 million sales the year before).

The album is largely devoted to ballads and folk-styled rock songs, although there are a few dance tracks like "Freedom" and "Soul Free". There was also a remix of "Freedom" that incorporated elements of Soul II Soul's "Back to Life", which was released as a twelve-inch single and received a good deal of club play. Like Faith, each track was produced and arranged by Michael himself.

Michael refused to appear in many of the singles' videos for this album. Accordingly, the video for "Praying for Time" consists of the lyrics projected onto a dark background, while the video for "Freedom" featured several supermodels lip-syncing its lyrics. Directed by David Fincher, who directed Madonna's "Vogue" video, it featured the destruction by fire and explosion of several icons from Michael's recent Faith period.

The follow-up album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2 was scrapped for reasons known only to Michael and his record company. Three of the tracks intended for that album appear on the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Dance, while a fourth ("Crazyman Dance") turned up on the B-side of that album's first single, "Too Funky".

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
Robert Christgau C+[4]
Entertainment Weekly B−[5]
Los Angeles Times 3/5 stars[6]
Q 5/5 stars[7]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[8]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[1]
Spin favorable[9]
Time mixed[10]
Virgin Encyclopedia 4/5 stars[11]

The album sold approximately eight million copies,[2] a disappointing number compared to the 25 million copies of Faith. Sales were particularly poor in the United States, where Faith had been the best-selling album of 1988. At two million copies sold, Listen Without Prejudice was a commercial disappointment for such a successful artist. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number 22 and finally reached number two, blocked from the top by MC Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em. The album spent the rest of 1990 in the top ten, with a total of 42 weeks in the entire chart—fewer than half the 87 weeks spent by Faith.

In the UK, the album was a huge success, eclipsing sales of Faith. Listen Without Prejudice debuted there at number one, where it remained for a week. It stayed at number two for the following two weeks. It spent 34 consecutive weeks in the Top 20, and jumped from number 13 to number three in its 24th week. It spent a total of 88 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, and was certified platinum four times by the BPI on 2 January 1992.

The album produced five U.K. hit singles, all of which were released in quick succession, within an eight-month period. These were "Praying for Time" (which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart—his final number one hit as a solo artist), "Waiting for That Day", "Cowboys and Angels", "Freedom", and "Heal the Pain".

The album won the Best British Album award at the 1991 BRIT Awards.

Singles[edit]

The first single from the album, "Praying for Time", written by Michael, reached number one in the U.S. Billboard charts and the top ten in the UK in the summer of 1990. It remained in the Billboard Top 40 for ten weeks, and was the last number one solo single from Michael in the U.S. charts. The second single, Waiting for That Day, was released a month after the album's release. Owing to a borrowed lyric from the Rolling Stones' hit "You Can't Always Get What You Want", co-writer credits were given to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It reached the top 40 in the British and American charts. The single's B-side, "Mother's Pride" was an American airplay success when it peaked at number 46 on airplay-only chart in March 1991.

The third album single, "Freedom! '90", written by Michael, became one of Michael's signature songs. "Freedom! '90" was directed by David Fincher, and featured supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, and Cindy Crawford lip syncing. It was a great success in the U.S. charts, reaching the top ten and selling more than 500,000 copies, while earning a gold certification from the RIAA. It was the last song from the album to reach the charts in the United States. However, it was less popular in Michael's homeland when it reached the top 40 in 1991.

The next single, "Heal the Pain", also written by Michael, was a contemplative, acoustic guitar-based love song. It was the fourth of five singles from the album. It entered the U.K. chart in February 1991 and peaked at number 31, but it did not chart in the U.S. The fifth and last single from the album, "Cowboys and Angels", became the only single released by Michael in his career that did not reach the Top 40 of the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at number 45. The song's low sales figures were not a surprise as it was the last single to be released from the album. Each single had finished lower than its predecessor and Cowboys and Angels continued the descent.

Year Title Chart positions
AU
[12]
CA
[13]
FR
[14]
IE
[15]
NL
[16]
UK
[17]
US
Hot 100
[18]
AC
[18]
Dance
[18]
1990 "Praying for Time" 16 1 19 3 10 6 1 4
"Waiting for That Day" 50 9 11 23 27 22
"Freedom! '90" 18 1 23 17 8 28 8 27 16
1991 "Heal the Pain" 16 16 31
"Cowboys and Angels" 36 15 15 45

Album notes[edit]

  • The track "Mother's Pride" was played often on U.S. radio stations during the first months of the Gulf War in 1991. Programmers took telephone calls from soldiers' loved ones and mixed their greetings into the song as tributes, along with other patriotic sound bites.
  • The track "Waiting for That Day/You Can't Always Get What You Want" includes a sample of James Brown's "Funky Drummer" drum break, which was also used in "Freedom! '90". Heretofore regarded as a hip-hop technique, this was deemed unorthodox for a pop song. The song's reprise at the end of the album, "Waiting (Reprise)", also includes lyrics from The Rolling Stones' classic "You Can't Always Get What You Want".
  • The album cover image is a cropped section of the 1940 photograph Crowd at Coney Island by Weegee.

Track listing[edit]

CD[edit]

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

No. Title Length
1. "Praying for Time"   4:41
2. "Freedom! '90"   6:30
3. "They Won't Go When I Go" (Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright) 5:06
4. "Something to Save"   3:18
5. "Cowboys and Angels"   7:15
6. "Waiting for That Day" (Mick Jagger, George Michael, Keith Richards) 4:49
7. "Mother's Pride"   3:59
8. "Heal the Pain"   4:41
9. "Soul Free"   5:29
10. "Waiting (Reprise)"   2:25
Total length:
48:13

Cassette/LP[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Praying for Time"   4:41
2. "Freedom! '90"   6:29
3. "They Won't Go When I Go" (Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright) 5:06
4. "Something to Save"   3:18
5. "Cowboys and Angels"   7:15
Total length:
26:50
Side two
No. Title Length
1. "Waiting for That Day" (Mick Jagger, George Michael, Keith Richards) 4:49
2. "Mother's Pride"   3:59
3. "Heal the Pain"   4:41
4. "Soul Free"   5:29
5. "Waiting (Reprise)"   2:25
Total length:
21:23

Personnel[edit]

  • Produced by George Michael
  • Mixed and engineered by Chris Porter
  • Drums, percussion: George Michael, Danny Cummings, Ian Thomas
  • Bass: George Michael, Deon Estus
  • Guitars: George Michael, Phil Palmer
  • Keyboards: Chris Cameron, George Michael, Anthony Patler
  • Piano: Chris Cameron
  • Saxophone: Andy Hamilton
  • Horn arrangements by Chris Cameron and George Michael
  • String arrangements by Chris Cameron

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (20 September 2003). "George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1". Slant Magazine. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  2. ^ a b "George Michael: A colourful life". BBC News UK. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  3. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (1 November 2001). "Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 – George Michael | AllMusic". Allmusic. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (4 December 1990). "Robert Christgau: Consumer Guide 4 Dec. 1990: Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  5. ^ Sandow, Greg (14 September 1990). "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  6. ^ Willman, Chris (9 September 1990). "*** GEORGE MICHAEL "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" Columbia : A lbums are rated on a scale of one star (poor) to five (a classic). : – Los Angeles Times". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  7. ^ "George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 CD Album". Muze. CD Universe. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  8. ^ Hunter, James (4 October 1990). "George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  9. ^ Greer, Jim (December 1990). "HEAVY ROTATION Staff Selections – George Michael, Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (Columbia)". Spin (SPIN Media LLC) 6 (9): 20. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  10. ^ Staff (8 October 1990). "Critics' Voices: 8 Oct. 1990 – TIME". Time. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Acclaimed Music – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  12. ^ Australian Recording Industry Association. "Australian Singles Chart". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  13. ^ Peak positions for singles in Canada:
  14. ^ Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. "French Singles Chart" (in French). Les Charts. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  15. ^ Irish Recorded Music Association. "Irish Singles Chart (searchable database)". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  16. ^ Peak positions for singles in the Dutch Top 40:
  17. ^ The Official Charts Company. "UK Singles Chart". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c Billboard magazine. "Billboard charts". All Music. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g Peak positions. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  20. ^ Top Albums/CDs – Volume 52, No. 25, 3 November 1990. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  21. ^ Les "Charts Runs" de chaque Album Classé. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  22. ^ Longplay-Chartverfolgung. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  23. ^ Hungarian Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  24. ^ George Michael albums sales ranking. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  25. ^ Spanish Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  26. ^ Top 75 Releases. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  27. ^ Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 – George Michael. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  28. ^ Gold & Platin. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  29. ^ Certificados. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  30. ^ Canadian Certifications. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  31. ^ Les Certifications depuis 1973. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  32. ^ Gold-/Platin-Datenbank. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  33. ^ Goud/Platina Muziek. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  34. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  35. ^ Awards 1992. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  36. ^ Certified awards search. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  37. ^ Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database. Retrieved 3 May 2011.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
In Concert by The Three Tenors
U.K. number one album
15 September 1990 – 21 September 1990
Succeeded by
In Concert by The Three Tenors