Year Released: 1987

Notable Songs: “I Want Your Sex”, “Faith”, “Hard Day”, “Father Figure”, “One More Try”, “Monkey”, “Kissing a Fool”

Album MVP: “One More Try”

Why I Loved It: During the mid-to-late George Michael was straight fire. With a black leather jacket, an earring and the memorable beard Michael stylistically became a heartthrob to all genders. Musically moving on from Wham, Michael’s “Faith” was a more grown-up and intimate style with a perfect blend of soul, pop and plenty of funk influence. I loved this album, pretty much from the opening notes, literally when an organ you’d hear at Sunday mass is playing Wham, a pseudo homage followed by burial to Michael leaving the cheezy-pop behind. There’s so many great songs on this album and my personal favorite is “One More Try”, which is in fact deeply personal. I can go on for the tracks on this album for days but here’s the bottom line: Michael showed genius here finding pop tunes that beautifully combined different styles but still saying within the boundaries of pop.  Best of all, Michael did so without estranging a sizeable following he created up earlier while with Wham.  This is a quintessential 80’s pop album.

Commercial Success:  To keep it short and sweet, you won’t find many more successful debut solo albums than George Michael’s “Faith.”  The album hit number-one on the Billboard Top 200 on May 14, 1988 and spent six consecutive weeks at the top before Van Halen’s OU812 finally knocked it off.  Michael’s album went on to become Billboard’s number-one album of 1988 and also 43rd in 1989.  Its chart domination came on the strength of a ridiculous six top five singles and also having Michael becoming the first white male singer ever to reach No. 1 on the Billboard R&B album chart. Via Wiki (and confirmed elsewhere) I learned that “Faith” (the single) was 1988’s number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100, which along with Wham (Michael’s group previous to going solo) finishing ’85 number-one with “Careless Whisper” to have Michael finish with two year-end Billboard Hot 100 singles since the Beatles. “Father Figure” was Michael’s second number-one hit on the album and followed by a third with “One More Try.” “Monkey” would become his fourth..  Four number-ones—seriously.   “I Want Your Sex” peaked at number-two on the Billboard Hot 100. And “Kissing a Fool” only could reach as high as five.  It’s no wonder Michael went on to win the 1989 Grammy for Album of the Year.  To date “Faith” is part of an exclusive 20 million worldwide record sales club.

Fun Facts: From regarding Michael’s hit single “Faith” and it’s monster success: “If you grew up in the ’80s with MTV, you probably have the image of George Michael playing the guitar in this video somewhere in your memory bank. Michael, however, doesn’t know how to play guitar and was completely faking it – something very obvious to any guitar player. Why did he do it? “Americans, if you stick a guitar on, you’ve got a bigger penis, simple as that,” he said. Limp Bizkit covered this on their first album in 1997, and for a while it was their best-known song. On their album, the song is Track 9. After it ends, a “special track” called “Stereotype Me” is heard; this special track can’t be heard if you were to hit play on track 10, the only way to hear it is to wait until the end of track 9. Limp Bizkit continued to use these special kind of tracks more on their later CDs. This was one of the first digital recordings, which allowed Michael to put the song together piece by piece. His vocal was done line-by-line, and sometimes word-by-word, as he would write lyrics at the microphone and record them on the spot. It was a very tedious process, with Michael scrutinizing every syllable, but the end result was a very polished track with the emotional feel he was looking for.”


 100.  Van Halen – OU812 

99. Stevie Wonder – In Squared Circle

98. Taylor Dayne – Can’t Fight Fate

97. Kool & The Gang – Emergency 

96. Stevie B – In My Eyes 

95. Keith Sweat – Make It Last Forever 

94. Michael Bolton – Soul Provider 

93. Go Go’s – Beauty & The Beast 

92. LL Cool J – Bigger And Deffer (Bad) 

91. Twisted Sister – Stay Hungry 

90. Def Leppard – Hysteria

89. New Edition – Heartbreak

88. Don Henley – Building A Perfect Beast

87. Beverly Hills Cop – Movie Soundtrack

86. Culture Club – Kissing To Be Clever 

85. Rolling Stones – Tattoo You

84. Asia – Asia 

83. Tiffany – Tiffany 

82. Lionel Richie – Dancing on the Ceiling

81. Barbara Streisand – Guilty 

80. Phil Collins – …But Seriously 

79. Air Supply – The One That You Love

78. J. Geils Band – Freeze Frame

77. Duran Duran – Rio 

76. Billy Ocean – Suddenly 

75. Run DMC – Raising Hell

74. Pat Benatar – Crimes of Passion

73. John Cougar – American Fool

72. Huey Lewis and The News – Picture This

71. Top Gun – Movie Soundtrack

70. Steve Winwood – Back In The High Life

69. Air Supply – Lost In Love

68. LL Cool J – Radio

67. Journey – Frontiers 

66. Styxx – Paradise Theater

65. Madonna – Like A Prayer

64. Eric B & Rakim – Paid In Full 

63. Tears for Fears – Songs From The Big Chair

62. Tina Turner – Private Dancer 

61. Steve Nicks – Bella Donna

60. U2 – The Joshua Tree

59. Bon Jovi – New Jersey 

58. Huey Lewis and the News – Fore!

57. Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation 1814

56. Prince – 1999

55. ZZ Top – Eliminator 

54. Survivor – Vital Signs

53. New Edition – New Edition 

52. Dirty Dancing – Movie Soundtrack

51. Foreigner – 4

50. Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back

49. Lionel Richie – Lionel Richie 

48. Men at Work – Business As Usual

47. Run DMC – Run DMC

46. Richard Marx – Richard Marx

45. Paula Abdul – Forever Your Girl 

44. Rocky IV – Movie Soundtrack 

43. Tom Petty – Full Moon River 

42. Whitney Houston – Whitney 

41, REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity 

40. Christopher Cross – Christopher Cross

39. Culture Club – Colour By Numbers 

38. Chicago – Chicago 17

37. Bryan Adams – Reckless

36. Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

35. Heart – Heart 

34. Def Leppard – Pyromania 

33. Toto -Toto IV

32. The Police – Ghost In the Machine 

31. Madonna – Madonna

30. New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough

29. Hall and Oates – H20

28. Don Henley – The End Of The Innocence

27. The Police – Synchronicity 

26. Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

25. Beastie Boys – Licensed To Ill

24. Hall & Oates – Private Eyes

23. Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer

22. Madonna – Like A Virgin

21. Debbie Gibson – Out Of The Blue

20. Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel 

19. Journey – Escape 

18. Billy Joel – An Innocent Man 

17. Van Halen – 1984

16. Janet Jackson – Control 

15. Madonna – True Blue 

14. Cyndi Lauper – She’s So Unusual