George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1

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George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
George Michael-Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1 (album cover).jpg
Studio album by George Michael
Released 3 September 1990
Recorded December 1988 – July 1990
Genre
  • Pop
  • R&B
  • rock
Length 48:13
Label Columbia
Producer George Michael
George Michael chronology
Faith
(1987)
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
(1990)
Five Live
(1993)
 
Alternative cover (not for sale)
 
Listen Without Prejudice / MTV Unplugged (2017)
Listen Without Prejudice / MTV Unplugged (2017)
 
 
Singles from Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
  1. "Praying for Time"
    Released: 13 August 1990
  2. "Waiting for That Day"
    Released: 15 October 1990
  3. "Freedom! '90"
    Released: 30 October 1990
  4. "Heal the Pain"
    Released: 4 February 1991
  5. "Cowboys and Angels"
    Released: 18 March 1991
 

 

 

  "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" is the second solo studio album by the English singer George Michael, released on 3 September 1990.

The album was Michael's final album of all-new material on Columbia Records until 2004's "Patience". Disappointing album sales in the US led to Michael's legal battles against Sony music, in which he accused the corporation of not fully supporting him as an artist.

 

History and project

After the massive success of Michael's 1987 "Faith" album, the expectations for his follow-up album were also high. In September 1990, "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1" was released, receiving mixed-to-positive reviews (with the more dance-oriented Vol. 2 ostensibly scheduled to follow in June 1991). The album was a stark departure from the previous LP, with largely acoustic instrumentation and a sombre intensity in many of the lyrics and melodies.

George Michael wanted to be taken more seriously as a songwriter, which resulted in a more thoughtful, often moody recording. The album peaked at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart. The first single released from the album was "Praying for Time", which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single "Freedom '90" reached number 8 in the US, and in early spring 1991, "Waiting for That Day" peaked at number 27 in the US. "Mother's Pride" achieved top 40 success outside the US, but received considerable airplay in the States during the Gulf war, despite its not being released as a single.

Even though the album sold eight million copies worldwide, it was viewed as a commercial disappointment in the US, with barely two million in sales, compared to the multi-platinum success of "Faith" (which had been certified 7× Platinum for seven million sales the year before).

The album is largely devoted to ballads and folk-styled rock songs, although there are a few dance tracks like "Freedom" and "Soul Free". There was also a remix of "Freedom" that incorporated elements of Soul II Soul's "Back to Life", which was released as a twelve-inch single and received a good deal of club play. Like "Faith", each track was produced and arranged by Michael himself.

Michael refused to appear in many of the singles' videos for this album. Accordingly, the video for "Praying for Time" consists of the lyrics projected onto a dark background, while the video for "Freedom" featured several supermodels lip-syncing its lyrics. Directed by David Fincher, who directed Madonna's "Vogue" video, it featured the destruction by fire and explosion of several icons from Michael's recent "Faith" period.

The follow-up album "Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 2" was scrapped for reasons known only to Michael and his record company. Three of the tracks intended for that album appear on the AIDS benefit album "Red Hot + Dance", while a fourth ("Crazyman Dance") turned up on the B-side of that album's first single, "Too Funky".

The album was slated to be reissued across a number of formats, including a 3CD+DVD super deluxe edition box set, in November 2016 but had been postponed indefinitely. It was finally reissued on 20 October 2017 and reached number one in the UK Albums Chart again, 27 years after the album first topped the chart.

 

Singles

The first single from the album, "Praying for Time", written by Michael, reached number one in the US Billboard charts and the top ten in the UK in the summer of 1990. It remained in the Billboard top 40 for ten weeks, and was the last number one solo single from Michael in the US. The second single (third in the United States), "Waiting for That Day", was released a month after the album's release. Owing to a borrowed lyric from The Rolling Stones' hit "You Can't Always Get What You Want", co-writer credits were given to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It reached the top 40 in the British and American charts. The single's B-side, "Mother's Pride" was an American airplay success when it peaked at number 46 on airplay-only chart in March 1991.

The third album single (second in the United States), "Freedom! '90", written by Michael, became one of Michael's signature songs. "Freedom! '90" was directed by David Fincher, and featured supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, and Cindy Crawford lip syncing. It was a great success in the US chart, reaching the top ten and selling more than 500,000 copies, while earning a gold certification from the RIAA. It was the last song from the album to reach the charts in the United States. However, it was less popular in Michael's homeland when it reached the top 40 in 1991.

The next single, "Heal the Pain", also written by Michael, was a contemplative, acoustic guitar-based love song. It was the fourth of five singles from the album. It entered the UK chart in February 1991 and peaked at number 31, but it did not chart in the US. The fifth and last single from the album, "Cowboys and Angels", became the only single released by Michael in his career that did not reach the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart. It peaked at number 45. The song's low sales figures were not a surprise as it was the last single to be released from the album. Each single had finished lower than its predecessor and "Cowboys and Angels" continued the descent. In the US, a promo single was sent to radio in April 1991 for "Soul Free", called the Special Radio Edit. Despite some airplay, it also did not chart.

 

Reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars
Chicago Tribune 3.5/4 stars
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 5/5 stars
Entertainment Weekly B−
Los Angeles Times 3/5 stars
Pitchfork 8.8/10
Q 5/5 stars
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 2.5/5 stars
The Village Voice C+

The album sold approximately eight million copies, a disappointing number compared to the 20 million copies of "Faith". Sales were particularly poor in the United States, where "Faith" had been the best-selling album of 1988. At two million copies sold, "Listen Without Prejudice" was a commercial disappointment for a successful artist. The album entered the Billboard 200 at number 22 and finally reached number two, blocked from the top by MC Hammer's "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em". The album spent the rest of 1990 in the top ten, with a total of 42 weeks in the entire chart—fewer than half the 87 weeks spent by "Faith".

In the UK, the album was a huge success, eclipsing sales of "Faith". "Listen Without Prejudice" debuted there at number one, where it remained for a week. It stayed at number two for the following two weeks. It spent 34 consecutive weeks in the top 20, and jumped from number 13 to number three in its 24th week. It spent a total of 88 weeks in the UK Albums Chart, and was certified platinum four times by the BPI on 2 January 1992. The 2017 re-released edition peaked at #1 in the UK charts, and sold 56,088 copies in its first week there.

The album produced five UK hit singles, all of which were released in quick succession, within an eight-month period. These were "Praying for Time" (which reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart—his final US number one hit as a solo artist), "Waiting for That Day", "Cowboys and Angels", "Freedom", and "Heal the Pain".

The album won the Best British Album award at the 1991 BRIT awards.

 

Legacy

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die".

 

 

Track listing

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Praying for Time" George Michael Michael 4:41
2. "Freedom! '90" Michael Michael 6:30
3. "They Won't Go When I Go"
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Yvonne Wright
Michael 5:06
4. "Something to Save" Michael Michael 3:18
5. "Cowboys and Angels" Michael Michael 7:15
6. "Waiting for That Day"
  • Michael
  • Mick Jagger
  • Keith Richards
Michael 4:49
7. "Mother's Pride" Michael Michael 3:59
8. "Heal the Pain" Michael Michael 4:41
9. "Soul Free" Michael Michael 5:29
10. "Waiting" (Reprise) Michael Michael 2:25
Total length: 48:13

 

Notes

  • The track "Waiting for That Day" includes a sample of James Brown's "Funky Drummer" drum break, which was also used in "Freedom! '90". Heretofore regarded as a hip-hop technique, this was deemed unorthodox for a pop song. The song's final line comes from The Rolling Stones' classic "You Can't Always get What You Want".
  • The album cover image is a cropped section of the 1940 photograph Crowd at Coney Island by Weegee.

 

Personnel

  • George Michael – vocals, keyboards, bass, guitars, drums, percussion, horn arrangements, production
  • Chris Porter – mix engineer
  • Danny Cummings – drums, percussion
  • Ian Thomas – drums, percussion
  • Deon Estus – bass
  • Phil Palmer – guitars
  • Chris Cameron – keyboards, horn arrangements, string arrangements
  • Anthony Patler – keyboards
  • Andy Hamilton – saxophone
  • Pete Gleadall – MIDI sequencing and programming
  • Bradford Branson – inner photography

 

 

 

George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1

UK Epic 88875145271 stereo (2017).

This record for sale is the 2017 re-mastered re-issue of the album first released in 1990.

Album produced by George Michael.

the vinyl record attains a Mint- grading, suggesting very few plays.

Audio quality is very clear and strong throughout.

Both record centre labels are clean, unmarked, and free from tears, stains or stickers.

The album cover is in excellent condition, displaying only minimal signs of wear.

The album cover has a strong, undamaged spine, displaying very clear, printed script.

The original laminated inner sleeve is perfectly presented.

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