Monday, July 4, 2011

The #37 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era: "Faith" by George Michael

George Michael placed Listen Without Prejudice back at #50.  Now, Michael gets a second album in the Top 100*

Faith was #1 for 12 weeks, and also spent 12 weeks at #2 and another five at #3.  The album took over from the "Dirty Dancing" Soundtrack on January 16, 1988, gave way to Tiffany for two weeks, then regained #1 again.    It held on to #1 for five weeks before being overtaken again, this time by "Dirty Dancing", which would certainly be in the Top 100 Albums* if it were not a soundtrack by different artists.  "Dirty Dancing" was then #1 for nine more weeks.  You would think we'd seen the last of Faith at the top, right?  Incredibly, it once again returned to #1 for the third time on May 14.  Now in its 26th week, it remained there for six more weeks.  The album spent 51 weeks in the Top 10 and 87 on the chart.  So far, the album has sold over 11 million copies and has a good but not outstanding Track Record* of 8.6.  The album also reached #1 in Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K.

Faith sold a million copies in the first week of its release.  The album was one of the first and is still one of a handful of albums to contain six top-five songs.  "Faith", "Father Figure" "One More Try" and "Monkey" all made it to #1 and "I Want Your Sex" and  "Kissing a Fool" were the other Top 10's.  At the end of the year, Michael had both the #1 single and the #1 album of the year in "Father Figure" and the Faith album.  No one had achieved that feat since Simon & Garfunkel did it in 1970 with Bridge Over Troubled Water.  

Michael won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards, he was named Favorite Rock Male Artist, Favorite Soul Male Artist and won for Favorite Soul album for Faith at the American Music Awards, the title track "Faith" won International Hit of the Year at the Ivor Novello Awards and the "Father Figure" video won for Best Direction at the MTV Video Music Awards.

(All songs by George Michael unless otherwise noted.)

Side one
1.  "Faith" --3:16
2.  "Father Figure" --5:36
3.  "I Want Your Sex" (Parts I & II) --9:17
4.  "One More Try" --5:50

Side two
5.  "Hard Day" --4:48
6.  "Hand To Mouth" --4:36
7.  Look At Your Hands" (George Michael & David Austin) --4:37
8.  "Monkey" --5:06
9.  "Kissing a Fool" --4:35

Michael played keyboards, bass and drums on the album and was a virtual one-man band, playing every instrument on "I Want Your Sex" and "Hard Day".  He did get help on the album from Robert Ahwai, J.J. Belle, Hugh Burns and Roddy Matthews on guitar, Chris Cameron on piano, cathedral organ, keyboards and backing vocals, Betsy Cook and Danny Schogger on keyboards, Deon Estus on bass, Ian Thomas on drums and Andy Duncan on percussion.  Steve Sidwell, Jamie Talbot, Rick Taylor, Paul Spong, Mark Chandler, Steve Waterman and Malcom Griffiths played horns on the album and Shirley Lewis helped out with backing vocals.

Most of the album was recorded at P.U.K. Studios in Denmark and Sarm West Studios in London in 1986 and 1987.  Faith was arranged and produced by Michael; Chris Porter was the engineer.  It was released October 30, 1987 on Columbia Records.

Faith from George Michael takes spot #37.

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