Faith (George Michael album)

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Faith
GeorgeMichaelFaithAlbumcover.jpg
Studio album by George Michael
Released 30 October 1987 (1987-10-30) February 1, 2011 (2011-02-01) (Double Disc reissue)
Recorded 1986–87
Genre
Length
  • 58:04 (CD version)
  • 49:37 (LP version)
Label
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. "Hard Day"
    Released: 30 October 1987
  4. "Father Figure"
    Released: 2 January 1988
  5. "One More Try"
    Released: 11 April 1988
  6. "Monkey"
    Released: 3 July 1988
  7. "Kissing a Fool"
    Released: 21 November 1988

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,[1] 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. 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".

In 2003, the album was ranked number 480 on Rolling Stone Magazine's "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".

Background[edit]

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[2] 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.

George's liner notes in the booklet:

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

Love as always, George"[3]

Recording[edit]

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[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.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 5/5 stars[4]
The Boston Phoenix 4/4 stars[5]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[6]
Entertainment Weekly A[7]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[8]
Q 4/5 stars[9]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[10]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[11]
Uncut 4/5 stars[12]
The Village Voice B+[13]

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 album 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.

In an 1988 interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, Michael was quoted as saying, "I was much happier with Faith being number one black album than I was when it became number one pop album."[14]

The album earned Michael numerous accolades. At the 31st Grammy Awards, he was nominated for the Album of the Year and won. 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.[15]

Legacy[edit]

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.[16] In 2003, the album was ranked at number 480 on Rolling Stone Magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time while in 2012, the album ranked at number 472 on an updated list by the magazine. 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".[17] 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."[18] Slant Magazine listed the album at number 62 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[19]

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[edit]

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.

The first 2,000 copies were also provided with a hand-numbered lithograph attached (taped) outside the box set.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by George Michael except where noted; all music composed by George Michael.

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Faith" 3:16
2. "Father Figure" 5:36
3. "I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 & 2)" 9:17
4. "One More Try" 5:50
Side two
No. Title Length
5. "Hard Day" 4:48
6. "Hand to Mouth" 4:36
7. "Look at Your Hands" (writers: Michael, David Austin) 4:37
8. "Monkey" 5:06
9. "Kissing a Fool" 4:35
CD and cassette bonus tracks
No. Title Length
10. "Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Remix) 6:29
11. "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)" 3:48

Note

  • 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.

2011 remaster[edit]

Disc one

Track 1–9 of the first disc features the remastered version of the original album.[20]

  1. "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part 3)" – 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" (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 Version) – 4:48
  8. "Monkey" (A Capella & Beats) – 7:27
  9. "Monkey" (Jam & Lewis Remix) – 8:10

Note

  • "I Believe When I Fall in Love" is a live track although it's not mentioned anywhere on the CD.

2011 remaster DVD

  1. George Michael and 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, 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

Accolades[edit]

Grammy Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1989 Faith
(performed and produced by George Michael)
Album of the Year[21] Won
"Father Figure"
(performed by George Michael)
Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male[22] Nominated

American Music Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1989
[23]
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 Nominee/work Award Result
1988
[24]
"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
[25]
George Michael Video Vanguard Award Won

Brit Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1988
[26]
Faith Best British Album Nominated
George Michael Best British Male Artist Won

Ivor Novello Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1989 Faith International Hit of the Year Won

Japan Gold Disc Awards[edit]

Year Nominee/work Award Result
1988 Faith The Best International Pop Solo Album of the Year[27] Won

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Argentina (CAPIF)[57] Platinum 60,000*
Australia (ARIA)[58] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[59] Diamond 1,000,000^
France (SNEP)[60] 2× Platinum 459,300[61]
Germany (BVMI)[62] Gold 250,000^
Hong Kong (IFPI Hong Kong)[63] Gold 10,000*
Japan (Oricon Charts) 204,000[34]
Netherlands (NVPI)[64] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[65] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[66] 2× Platinum 200,000^
Sweden (GLF)[67] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[68] 2× Platinum 100,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[69] 4× Platinum 1,300,000[70]
United States (RIAA)[71] Diamond 10,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ GREIN, PAUL (14 January 1988). "George Michael's Got 'Faith' and Lots More". Los Angeles Times. 
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  5. ^ Christopher, Michael (27 January 2011). "Review: George Michael | Faith: Remastered". The Boston Phoenix. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  7. ^ Wood, Mikael (26 January 2011). "Faith: Special Edition". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  8. ^ Johnson, Connie (1 November 1987). "Wham! Man Makes His Big Move". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "George Michael: Faith". Q (295): 126. February 2011. 
  10. ^ Coleman, Mark (14 January 1988). "Faith: George Michael". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  11. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  12. ^ "George Michael: Faith". Uncut (165): 93. February 2011. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (29 December 1987). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2016. 
  14. ^ Jet – Google Books. Books.google.com. 1988-09-26. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  15. ^ "Critic Reviews for Faith:Special Edition". Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "The Top 100 Albums of 1989" by Jancee Dunn, Rolling Stone Magazine, 14–28 December 1989, page 239
  17. ^ Q August 2006, Issue 241
  18. ^ Arwa Haider Metro, 14 January 2011.
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  21. ^ "GRAMMYs' Best Albums 1980–1989". grammy.org. 4 February 2008. 
  22. ^ Hunt, Dennis (13 January 1989). "Chapman, McFerrin Lead Grammy Race : Baker, Sting, Michael, Winwood Also Capture Multiple Nominations". articles.latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
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External links[edit]