Faith (George Michael album)
|Studio album by George Michael|
|Released||30 October 1987|
|George Michael chronology|
|Singles from Faith|
Faith is the debut solo studio album by the English singer George Michael, released on 30 October 1987 by Columbia Records and 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, and received a diamond certification by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
Faith spawned six top five singles that substantially helped it dominate the charts in 1987 and 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 number 472 on an updated list by the magazine. The album was also notable for reaching number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, making it the first album by a Caucasian artist to hit the top spot on that chart, mainly due to the R&B and funk-leaning singles that were released from the album, most notably "One More Try", "I Want Your Sex", and "Father Figure".
- 1 Background
- 2 Recording
- 3 Faith World Tour
- 4 Critical reception
- 5 Legacy
- 6 2011 remastered release
- 7 Track listing
- 8 Personnel
- 9 Accolades
- 10 Charts
- 11 Sales and certifications
- 12 See also
- 13 References
- 14 External links
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By 1986, George Michael had spent five years as the lead singer of the popular duo Wham! and had grown tired of accusations that the group, which featured his 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 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 album, which would be titled Faith.
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Michael spent the greater 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. 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; the third part, which was edited to be the final song on the album, was titled "Rhythm 3: A Last Request," featuring a jazz-influenced R&B sound with lyrics of Michael drunkenly trying to bring his lover to his bed.
The title track began with an organ fanfare 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 the tradition of songs by 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. 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 featuring a 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 lyrics solemnly describing a breakup.
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.
|The Boston Phoenix|||
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
|The Village Voice||B+|
The album peaked at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200. 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 number one 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 number one album and the number one 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 for Michael, including six top 5 Billboard Hot 100 hits, four of which ("Faith", "Father Figure", "One More Try", and "Monkey") reached number one, making him the only British male solo artist to have four number one 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 number one. It was also the first album by a white solo artist to hit number one on the US R&B charts. It also reached number one 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.
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.
In 1989, Faith was ranked at number 84 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s and at number 57 on their list of 100 greatest albums of the year. In 2003, the album was ranked at 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 number 24 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s". 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 funeral 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." Slant Magazine listed the album at number 62 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".
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. Compared with record sales in 1987, this showed a two percent increase.
2011 remastered release
A remastered edition of Faith was released on 31 January 2011 in the UK and on 1 February 2011 in the US. It is available in several formats: Limited Edition Collectors Box Set:, Two-CD and DVD Special Edition, Two-CD Edition and iTunes LP.
The release features: the remastered album, an additional CD of remastered 12" versions and 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 and memorabilia; a vinyl album replica of the original LP – and a memorabilia envelope that includes five art prints, reproduction poster, tickets and tour pass from the Faith tour sourced from George Michael's personal archive. All housed in a 12 x 12 numbered, black and gold-foiled slipcase with original artwork overlay.
First 2,000 copies were also provided with a hand-numbered lithograph attached (taped) outside the box set.
All lyrics written by George Michael except where noted; all music composed by George Michael.
|3.||"I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2)"||9:17|
|4.||"One More Try"||5:50|
|6.||"Hand to Mouth"||4:36|
|7.||"Look at Your Hands" (writers: Michael, David Austin)||4:37|
|9.||"Kissing a Fool"||4:35|
|CD and cassette bonus tracks|
|10.||"Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Remix)||6:29|
|11.||"A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)"||3:48|
- In the liner notes, "I Want Your Sex" is listed as "I Want Your Sex (Monogamy Mix)", with the parts titled "Rhythm One: Lust", and "Rhythm Two: Brass in Love", respectively.
Track 1–9 of the first disc features the remastered version of the original album.
- "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)" – 3:48
- "Faith" (Instrumental) – 3:16
- "Fantasy" – 5:02
- "Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Mix) – 9:04
- "I Believe When I Fall in Love" (Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright) – 7:03
- "Kissing a Fool" (Instrumental) – 4:35
- "Love's in Need of Love Today" (Live) (Wonder) – 4:43
- "Monkey" (7" Edit Version) – 4:48
- "Monkey" (A Capella & Beats) – 7:27
- "Monkey" (Jam & Lewis Remix) – 8:10
- "I Believe When I Fall in Love" is a live track although it's not mentioned anywhere on the CD.
2011 remaster DVD
- George Michael and Jonathan Ross Have Words (1987)
- Music Money Love Faith (February 1988)
- "I Want Your Sex" – promo video (re-synched with re-mastered audio)
- "I Want Your Sex" (Uncensored) – promo video
- "Faith" – promo video
- "Father Figure" – promo video
- "One More Try" – promo video
- "Monkey" – promo video
- "Kissing a Fool" – promo video
- George Michael – vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums, all instruments on "I Want Your Sex Pt 1" and "Hard Day", most instruments on "Monkey", arranger, producer
- 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
- Chris Porter – engineer
- Paul Gomersall – assistant engineer
- Paul Wright – assistant engineer
- Shep Pettibone – remix, additional production
- Steve Peck – remix engineer
(performed and produced by George Michael)
|Album of the Year||Won|
(performed by George Michael)
|Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male||Nominated|
American Music Awards
|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
(Directors: Andy Morahan and George Michael)
|Best Direction in a Video||Won|
(Director of Photography: Peter Mackay)
|Best Cinematography in a Video||Nominated|
(Art Director: Bryan Jones)
|Best Art Direction in a Video||Nominated|
|George Michael||Video Vanguard Award||Won|
|Faith||Best British Album||Nominated|
|George Michael||Best British Male Artist||Won|
|1989||Faith||International Hit of the Year||Won|
Japan Gold Disc Awards
|1988||Faith||The Best International Pop Solo Album of the Year||Won|
Sales and certifications
|Australia (ARIA)||5× Platinum||350,000^|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Diamond||1,000,000^|
|France (SNEP)||2× Platinum||459,300|
|Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)||Gold||10,000*|
|Japan (Oricon Charts)||204,000|
|New Zealand (RMNZ)||Platinum||15,000^|
|Spain (PROMUSICAE)||2× Platinum||200,000^|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||2× Platinum||100,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||4× Platinum||1,300,000|
|United States (RIAA)||Diamond||10,000,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
- List of best-selling albums
- List of best-selling albums in the United States
- Hot 100 number-one hits of 1988 (United States)
- List of number-one R&B albums of 1988 (U.S.)
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