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Faith by George Michael (Columbia, 1987)

Faith was George Michael’s first solo album after disbanding Wham! (Michael had grown weary of Wham’s perceived image and wanted to be taken more seriously.) Faith won the 1989 Grammy Award for Album of the Year and the five singles off the album dominated the music charts in 1988. Faith was the first album by a Caucasian artists to hit number one of the R&B album chart. Worldwide, Faith has sold over 25 million copies and has been certified Diamond status.

Right from the beginning, the subject matter of the album and the music videos for the singles left little doubt that Michael had left Wham’s bubblegum image in his wake. Michael was very concerned about having a career in music beyond Wham! and this album left no doubt that he could. Faith was a top ten album in 12 countries — the only country it didn’t hit the top five in was Japan (#16) — and went to number one in Canada, Spain, the UK, the U.S. and on the Dutch chart. In addition to the U.S., Faith reached Diamond status in Canada.

The lead single I Want Your Sex reached Platinum certification in the U.S. and gold status in Canada and the Netherlands. I Want Your Sex went to number one on the Dutch and Irish charts; #2 in Austria, Canada, Italy, New Zealand and the U.S. In fact, I Want Your Sex peaked in the Top 5 in 12 countries (the only two it peaked outside of the top five were Sweden #8 and France #11). The original video for the single was too controversial, so Michael was forced to release a censored version and even that one pushed the boundaries.

The follow up single Faith was the best selling single of 1988 in the U.S. The single reached Gold status in Canada, the U.S. and the Netherlands. It reached number one on four charts — the Canadian, Dutch, Italian and American; worldwide was top five in twelve countries. There were only three countries where it didn’t reach the Top five — Sweden #9, France #22 and Japan #86.

The third single Father Figure is one of Michaels’ most frequently played song on UK radio. Father Figure only reached the top spot in the U.S., but hit the Top 10 in seven countries. Of the 13 countries it charted in, they were all Top 40 finishes — the lowest being in France at #37.

The fourth single One More Try reached Gold status in the U.S. and Silver status in France. (One More Try was Michaels’ only Top 5 hit off the Faith album in France; it peaked at #5.) One More Try hit the top spot in Canada, Ireland and the U.S. (his seventh number one hit and third consecutive number one single in the U.S.) Again, of the twelve charts it hit, only two were outside of the Top 10 — #19 in Austria and #22 in Germany.

The fifth single Monkey became Michael’s first number one dance hit and continued his string of Hot 100 number one hits. Monkey also hit the top spot in Canada.

The final single Kissing a Fool ended his string of number ones, but managed to peak at #5 on the Hot 100, but hit number one on the Adult Contemporary chart.