Revisiting George Michael’s “Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1”

Looking back at one of the 90’s finest albums

Revisiting George Michael’s “Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1”

The second George Michael’s solo album “Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1”, released on September 3rd 1990, didn’t achieved the same success as it’s predecessor “Faith” from 1987, however from a song composition point of view it’s more mature and crafted. It was intended to be the first of 2 albums, but the second volume end up never being released, the album didn’t meet the same commercial success of “Faith” in the U.S despite the good reception of it and producing hits such as “Praying For Time”, which reached number 1 on Hot 100 and “Freedom! 90”. Michael refused to appear in any of the promotional videos for the album, “Praying For Time” was a black screen with the lyrics projected and “Freedom! 90” featured several of the 90’s Top Models such as Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Linda Evangelista, charged with symbolism of his own career, such as when the famous leather jacket and jukebox from “Faith” are burned, it reflects his state of mind at the time: a separation from his 80’s persona, to be taken more serious as an artist and musician. These factors resulted in an overall darker and somber album aside of two Dance/Pop oriented tracks, “Freedom! 90” and “Soul Free”. The somber moody tracks of “Mother’s Pride” and Stevie Wonder’s cover “They Won’t Go When I Go” overall sums up the mood present all through the album. “Heal The Pain”, a Beatlesque song reminiscent of Lennon/McCartney compositions it’s one of the best tracks in the album and it was remade in a duet with Paul McCartney in 2008, “Cowboys And Angels” it’s a quality Jazz oriented cut, “Something To Save” and “Waiting For That Day” are sober Pop tracks, the later had co-author credits attributed to Keith Richards and Mick Jagger due to the partial use of the lyrics from The Rolling Stones “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. This album is not better or worst than “Faith”, it is simply different and more mature. The talent George Michael had to write good songs it’s present in this album, all except the Stevie Wonder cover, were written and composed by him. George also produced the album, and in almost a Beatles fashion played a large part of the instruments too.It’s maybe not the best commercial effort he ever made, the moody songs, the dark and black and white colors on the album on a cover that has no title (only a sticker identifying the album and a 1930’s black and white photo of a crowd), his refusal to appear in the promotional videos didn’t helped to the sales, but quality wise possibly some of the best music he did, which is what matters in the end, it’s not by chance that “Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1” it’s included in the book “1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die”

Side A
1 “Praying for Time”
2 “Freedom! ’90”
3 “They Won’t Go When I Go” (Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright)
4 “Something to Save”
5 “Cowboys and Angels”

Side B
6 “Waiting for That Day” (George Michael, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards)
7 “Mother’s Pride”
8 “Heal the Pain”
9 “Soul Free”
10 “Waiting (Reprise)”

Personnel:
George Michael: drums, percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards, horn arrangements
Chris Porter: mix engineer
Danny Cummings: drums, percussion
Ian Thomas: drums, percussion
Deon Estus: bass
Phil Palmer: guitar
Chris Cameron: keyboards, horn arrangements, string arrangements
Anthony Patler: keyboards
Andy Hamilton: saxophone
Pete Gleadall: MIDI sequencing and programming

Recorded during: December 1988 – July 1990
Produced by: George Michael
Release Date: September 3rd, 1990
Label: Epic

Singles:
“Praying for Time” Released: 13 August 1990
“Waiting for That Day” Released: 15 October 1990
“Freedom! ’90” Released: 30 October 1990
“Heal the Pain” Released: 4 February 1991
“Cowboys and Angels” Released: 18 March 1991

Strongest tracks:
“Praying for Time”, “Freedom! ’90”, “They Won’t Go When I Go” (Stevie Wonder, Yvonne Wright), “Cowboys and Angels”, “Mother’s Pride”, “Heal the Pain”

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Watch the alternate video of “Praying For Time” on the video bellow

Listen to the album on Spotify

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