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
George Michael-Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (album cover).jpg
Studio album by George Michael
Released 3 September 1990
Recorded December 1988 – July 1990
Genre Pop, R&B, rock[1]
Length 48:13
Label Columbia, Epic
Producer George Michael
George Michael chronology
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
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 studio album by the British pop star George Michael (from this album on, stylised as George Michæl), released on 3 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. The album will be reissued across a number of formats in November, celebrating the 25th anniversary.

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, receiving mixed-to-positive 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".

The album will be reissued across a number of formats in November, including a 3CD+DVD super deluxe edition box set.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly B−[6]
Los Angeles Times 3/5 stars[7]
Q 5/5 stars[8]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[9]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[1]
The Village Voice C+[10]

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.


The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[11]


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
Hot 100
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" 164 36 15 15 45
"Soul Free" 95

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" 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 final line comes 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]

All tracks written 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" (George Michael, Mick Jagger, 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:

25th anniversary edition[edit]

Disc two
No. Title Length
1. "Freedom! '90" (MTV Unplugged version)  
2. "Fastlove" (MTV Unplugged version)  
3. "I Can't Make You Love Me" (MTV Unplugged version)  
4. "Father Figure" (MTV Unplugged version)  
5. "You Have Been Loved" (MTV Unplugged version)  
6. "Everything She Wants" (MTV Unplugged version)  
7. "The Strangest Thing" (MTV Unplugged version)  
8. "Older" (MTV Unplugged version)  
9. "Star People" (MTV Unplugged version)  
10. "Praying For Time" (MTV Unplugged version[19])  
Disc three (deluxe edition)
No. Title Length
1. "Soul Free" (Special Radio Edit)  
2. "Freedom! '90" (Back to Reality Mix)  
3. "Freedom! '90" (Back to Reality Mix Edit)  
4. "Fantasy"    
5. "Freedom! '90" (Radio Edit)  
6. "Cowboys and Angels" (Edit)  
7. "If You Were My Woman"    
8. "Too Funky"    
9. "Crazyman Dance"    
10. "Do You Really Want to Know"    
11. "Happy"    
12. "Too Funky" (Extended)  
13. "Too Jazzy" (Happy Mix)  
14. "Fantasy '98"    
15. "Heal the Pain" (with Paul McCartney)  
16. "Desafinado" (with Astrud Gilberto)  
Disc four (DVD)
No. Title Length
1. "The Southbank Show 1990"    
2. "Freedom! '90" (video promo)  
3. "Praying For Time" (video promo)  
4. "Freedom 90 MTV 10th Anniversary"    


  • 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: Chris Cameron and George Michael
  • String arrangements: Chris Cameron
  • MIDI sequencing and programming: Pete Gleadall
  • Inner Photography: Bradford Branson

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ a b Cinquemani, Sal (20 September 2003). "George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "George Michael: A colourful life". BBC News UK. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 2013-02-03. 
  3. ^ Listen Without Prejudice 25 – Coming soon… Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 – George Michael". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Acclaimed Music – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved on 8 June 2011.
  6. ^ Sandow, Greg (14 September 1990). "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Willman, Chris (9 September 1990). "George Michael 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1' Columbia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Q (49). October 1990. 
  9. ^ Hunter, James (4 October 1990). "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (4 December 1990). "Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  11. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  12. ^ Australian (ARIA Chart) singles peaks:
  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. ^ Listen Without Prejudice 25 – (Remastered) [2CD] Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Peak positions. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  21. ^ Top Albums/CDs – Volume 52, No. 25, 3 November 1990. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  22. ^ Les "Charts Runs" de chaque Album Classé. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  23. ^ Longplay-Chartverfolgung. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  24. ^ Hungarian Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  25. ^ George Michael albums sales ranking. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  26. ^ Spanish Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  27. ^ Top 75 Releases. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  28. ^ Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 – George Michael. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  29. ^ "Austrian album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter George Michael in the field Interpret. Enter Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  30. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  31. ^ "Canadian album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Music Canada. 
  32. ^ "French album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  33. ^ "Les Albums les plus Vendus de la Décennie" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved August 8, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (George Michael; 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  35. ^ "Japanese album certifications – ジョージ・マイケル – LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE VOL.1" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.  Select 1990年10月 on the drop-down menu
  36. ^ "Dutch album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  37. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  38. ^ "Spanish album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España.  Select the "Chart", enter ' in the field "Year". Select ' in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts"
  39. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (George Michael; 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  40. ^ "British album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  41. ^ "American album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

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