Saturday, November 7, 2020

"Faith" by George Michael

#1 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Song#:  3311
Date:  10/24/1987
Debut:  54
Peak:  1 (4 weeks)
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  The summer of '87 saw the release of George Michael's first solo single "I Want Your Sex." In addition to being part of the Beverly Hills Cop II soundtrack, the song was also used to introduce Michael's upcoming debut solo album Faith. The single would be a big platinum hit reaching #2 at Pop. Next up for release was this title-track song. It debuted on the Pop chart just a week before the album hit stores. It would be another winner for Michael hitting #1 Pop and going gold. It would also get to #5 AC and #17 Dance. The tune's four weeks at #1 combined with its 20 weeks on the chart helped to make it the #1 charting single for 1988. The album would follow suit spending 12 non-consecutive weeks at #1 and becoming the top charting album for 1988. It would also go on to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. The song and the album firmly established Michael as a superstar.

ReduxReview:  With its retro Bo Diddley beat, this track stood apart from Michael's previous efforts. After the somewhat salacious "I Want Your Sex," the song was a refreshing blast of rock 'n' roll that appealed to a wide audience. The organ introduction was also unusual and was sort of a way to separate Michael from his teenybopper Wham! days (the organ actually incorporated a progression from the Wham! hit "Freedom"). The hit was inescapable back in the day and luckily I liked it. I skipped buying the single and went for the LP when it came out. Both are still excellent and fun to hear on occasion.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  The video for this song, directed by Andy Morahan, defined George Michael's image for the time period. It showcased him as a macho rock musician performing in front of a jukebox with a guitar. Clad in Levi jeans, Ray Bans and a leather jacket, Michael sported scruffy short beard and wavy hair, both of which became trends of the day. The camera would focus on certain parts of Michael, but what got the most attention was a close up of his butt. That portion would get parodied on SNL. Once the hits and fame set in, Michael looked back and didn't necessarily like the image that he (via his record company) came up with and wanted to break away from it. For his next LP, 1990's Listen Without Prejudice, Vol 1, Michael wrote the song "Freedom! '90," which talked about his rise to fame, his naïveté as a young artist, and his need to escape what he had become. The song even references his famous butt shaking scene in the "Faith" video, "when you shake your ass, they notice fast and some mistakes were build to last." To further erase that image, the video for "Freedom! '90" didn't featured Michael. Directed by David Fincher, the video had supermodels lip syncing the song. Then iconic things from the "Faith" video including the jukebox and guitar were blown up. Released as the album's second single, it would reach #8 on the Pop chart and go gold.


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