Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1

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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
Length 48:13
Label
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: 13 August 1990
  2. "Waiting for That Day"
    Released: 15 October 1990
  3. "Freedom! '90"
    Released: 30 October 1990
  4. "Heal the Pain"
    Released: 4 February 1991
  5. "Cowboys and Angels"
    Released: 18 March 1991

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 is the second solo studio album by the English singer George Michael, released on 3 September 1990.

The album was Michael's final album of all-new material on Columbia Records until 2004's Patience. Disappointing album sales in the US 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, 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 US Billboard 200 chart. The first single released from the album was "Praying for Time", which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single "Freedom '90" reached number 8 in the US, and in early spring 1991, "Waiting for That Day" peaked at number 27 in the US. "Mother's Pride" achieved top 40 success outside the US, but received considerable airplay in the States during the Gulf War, despite its not being released as a single.

Even though the album sold eight million copies worldwide,[2] it was viewed as a commercial disappointment in the US, with barely two million in sales, compared to the multi-platinum success of Faith (which had been certified 7× Platinum for seven 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 was slated to be reissued across a number of formats, including a 3CD+DVD super deluxe edition box set, in November 2016[3] but posponed until March 2017.[4]

Singles[edit]

The first single from the album, "Praying for Time", written by Michael, reached number one in the US 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 US. The second single (third in the United States), "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 (second in the United States), "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 US chart, 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 UK chart in February 1991 and peaked at number 31, but it did not chart in the US. 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.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[5]
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars[7]
Entertainment Weekly B−[8]
Los Angeles Times 3/5 stars[9]
Q 5/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[1]
The Village Voice C+[13]

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 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 UK 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.

Legacy[edit]

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[14]

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" (writers: Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright) 5:06
4. "Something to Save" 3:18
5. "Cowboys and Angels" 7:15
6. "Waiting for That Day" (writers: 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: 48:13

Personnel[edit]

  • George Michael – producer, drums, percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards, horn arrangements
  • Mixed and engineered by Chris Porter
  • Danny Cummings – drums, percussion
  • Ian Thomas – drums, percussion
  • Deon Estus – bass
  • Phil Palmer – guitar
  • Chris Cameron – keyboards, horn arrangements, string arrangements
  • Anthony Patler – keyboards
  • Andy Hamilton – saxophone
  • Pete Gleadall – MIDI sequencing and programming
  • Bradford Branson – inner photography

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[31] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[32] Gold 25,000*
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[33] Gold 100,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[34] 2× Platinum 200,000^
France (SNEP)[35] Platinum 448,600[36]*
Germany (BVMI)[37] Gold 250,000^
Japan (RIAJ)[38] Platinum 200,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[39] Platinum 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[40] Platinum 15,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[41] Platinum 100,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[42] Platinum 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] 4× Platinum 1,200,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^

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

See also[edit]

References[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… Georgemichael.com. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  4. ^ Some News From George Georgemichael.com. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  5. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 – George Michael". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  6. ^ Kot, Greg (6 September 1990). "3 To Watch Out For". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  7. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  8. ^ Sandow, Greg (14 September 1990). "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Willman, Chris (9 September 1990). "George Michael 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1' Columbia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "George Michael: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Q (49). October 1990. 
  11. ^ Hunter, James (4 October 1990). "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  13. ^ Christgau, Robert (4 December 1990). "Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. Retrieved 8 June 2011. 
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ a b c d e f g Peak positions. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  16. ^ Top Albums/CDs – Volume 52, No. 25, 3 November 1990. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  17. ^ Les "Charts Runs" de chaque Album Classé Archived 28 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  18. ^ Longplay-Chartverfolgung. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  19. ^ Hungarian Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  20. ^ George Michael albums sales ranking. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  21. ^ Spanish Albums Chart. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  22. ^ Top 75 Releases. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  23. ^ Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 – George Michael. Retrieved 4 May 2011.
  24. ^ Australian (ARIA Chart) singles peaks:
  25. ^ Peak positions for singles in Canada:
  26. ^ Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. "French Singles Chart" (in French). Les Charts. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  27. ^ Irish Recorded Music Association. "Irish Singles Chart (searchable database)". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  28. ^ Peak positions for singles in the Dutch Top 40:
  29. ^ The Official Charts Company. "UK Singles Chart". Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  30. ^ a b c Billboard magazine. "Billboard charts". All Music. Retrieved 21 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2016 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  32. ^ "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
  33. ^ "Brazilian album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. 
  34. ^ "Canadian album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1". Music Canada. 
  35. ^ "French album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  36. ^ "Les Albums les plus Vendus de la Décennie" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2015. 
  37. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (George Michael; 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  38. ^ "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
  39. ^ "Dutch album certifications – George Michael – Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. 
  40. ^ "NZ Top 40 Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. Archived from the original on 1 March 2016. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  41. ^ "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"
  42. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (George Michael; 'Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  43. ^ "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
  44. ^ "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
UK number one album
15 September 1990 – 21 September 1990
Succeeded by
In Concert by The Three Tenors