Faith (George Michael album)
|Studio album by George Michael|
|Released||30 October 1987|
58:04 (CD version)|
49:37 (LP version)
|George Michael chronology|
|Singles from Faith|
Faith is the debut solo studio album by the British 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 diamond certification from the Recording Industry Association of America.
Faith spawned six top five singles that substantially helped it dominate the chart of 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 #472 on an updated list by the magazine. The album was also notable for entering the R&B albums chart at number one making it the first album by a Caucasian artist to hit the top spot on that chart, mainly due to the R&B/funk-leaning singles that were released from the album, most notably "One More Try", "I Want Your Sex", and "Father Figure".
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 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 and its subsequent follow-up, Music from the Edge of Heaven, 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 project, which would be titled Faith.
Throughout the promotion of Music from the Edge of Heaven, Michael had recorded songs without Ridgeley. One song, in particular, "A Different Corner", was released as a George Michael solo track rather than with Wham!, as had a previous single, "Careless Whisper", which was Michael's first solo single (it was billed as Wham! featuring George Michael in America), in 1984. Following the group's split, Michael performed "A Different Corner" on his own. Michael also worked as a collaborator on other musicians' projects, including Elton John, singing background for Elton's 1985 hit, "Nikita". While recording his first solo album, Michael was asked by producer Narada Michael Walden to contribute duet vocals for Aretha Franklin's single, "I Knew You Were Waiting for Me". The song was released as a single on Franklin's Aretha, and entered number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1987 giving Michael confidence that he could have a career of his own without Wham!.
Michael spent the most 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. Using the then-revolutionary Synclavier 9600 Tapeless Studio, Faith was Michael's first digital recording. 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 convince his suitor 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 No.1 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 No.1 album and the No.1 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 #1, making him the only British male solo artist to have four No.1 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 #1. It was also the first album by a white solo artist to hit No.1 on the US R&B charts. It also reached No.1 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 No.1 black album than I was when it became No.1 pop album."
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 No.84 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s and No.57 on their list of 100 greatest albums of the year. In 2003, the album was ranked 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 No.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 #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/DVD Special Edition, Two-CD Edition and iTunes LP.
The release features: the remastered album, an additional CD of remastered 12" versions/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 & memorabilia; a vinyl album replica of the original LP – and a memorabilia envelope that includes five art prints, reproduction poster, tickets & tour pass from the Faith tour sourced from George Michael's personal archive. All housed in a 12x12 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 boxset.
All songs written and composed by George Michael, except where noted.
- Side one
- Side two
- "Hard Day" – 4:48
- "Hand to Mouth" – 4:36
- "Look at Your Hands" (Michael, David Austin) – 4:37
- "Monkey" – 5:06
- "Kissing a Fool" – 4:35
- CD/cassette bonus tracks
- "Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Remix) – 6:29
- "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part III)" – 3:48
- In the liner notes, "I Want Your Sex" is listed as "I Want Your Sex (Monogamy Mix)", with the parts titled "Rhythm 1 Lust", and "Rhythm 2 Brass In Love", respectively.
2011 remaster release
- "A Last Request (I Want Your Sex Part III)" – 3:48
- Disc two
- "Faith" (Instrumental) – 3:16
- "Fantasy" – 5:02
- "Hard Day" (Shep Pettibone Mix) – 9:04
- "I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)" (Live) (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) – 4:48
- "Monkey" (A Capella & Beats) – 7:27
- "Monkey" (Jam & Lewis Remix) – 8:10
- 2011 Remaster DVD
- George Michael & 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" & "Hard Day", most instruments on "Monkey"
- 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
- Arranged and produced by George Michael
- Engineered by Chris Porter; assisted by Paul Gomersall & Paul Wright
- Re-mix and additional production By Shep Pettibone
- Re-mix engineer: Steve Peck
(performed and produced by George Michael)
|Album of the Year||Won|
| "Father Figure"|
(performed by George Michael)
|Best Pop Vocal Performance – Male||Nominated|
American Music Awards
|1989||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
|1988|| "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||George Michael||Video Vanguard Award||Won|
|1988||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
- 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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- Discography George Michael (www.georgemichaelsongs.co.uk)
- Faith (Adobe Flash) at Radio3Net (streamed copy where licensed)