Ever since the dawn of MTV and Friday Night Videos, the music video has significantly impacted musical tastes and pop culture. It might not be as extreme as when the Buggles declared that "Video Killed the Radio Star", but there is no arguing that the music video certainly could make or break a song's popularity. So this regular Flashback Video feature will serve to remember some of the music videos from the great '80s decade that made an impact on me in one way or another.
This issue we will cover "Faith" by George Michael. "Faith" was the second single released from Michael's debut solo album of the same name in October of 1987. The song rocketed up the U.S. pop charts reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December of 1987 and holding that top spot for four weeks. It stayed in the Top 10 for nine weeks and would eventually be ranked the #1 song on the year end chart for 1988. The song was a worldwide smash reaching the Top 10 in at least 17 other countries and #1 in five of those. It helped drive the Faith album to become one of the best-selling albums of all time with over 20 million copies sold worldwide.
The music video for "Faith" was directed by Andy Morahan. He had previously worked with O.M.D., Pet Shop Boys for "West End Girls", Wham for "I'm Your Man" and "The Edge of Heaven", Ozzy Osbourne for "Shot in the Dark" and "Ultimate Sin", Luther Vandross for "Give Me the Reason" and "Stop to Love" and The Human League for "Human" among many others in the '80s. Morahan then did the video for the Aretha Franklin & George Michael duet "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)" which led to directing George Michael's first solo video for "I Want Your Sex". After "Faith" he would also work with Michael on the videos for both "Father Figure" and "Monkey".
The "Faith" music video continued to change/establish the image of George Michael as a masculine sex symbol. This video depicts Michael in a far different manner than he was in his previous Wham! videos. He has the five o'clock shadow stubbled facial hair, the black leather jacket, the dark Ray-Ban Aviators, the blue jeans and cowboy boots. Michael is shown leaning on and playing a guitar by a juke box (even though Michael does not play the guitar on the track and did not even know how to play the guitar at that time). It also features some gratuitous close-ups of his butt and him shaking said butt. Mission accomplished as George Michael catapulted to top of the musical sex symbol list in short order. Michael later commented himself, "I was so overly conscious of my image at that age and so insecure that I had developed a costume for real life, which was that."
The music video also features parts of two other songs by Michael. The jukebox starts by playing "I Want Your Sex", and then is interrupted by a church organ version of Wham!'s "Freedom" which is part of the album track before starting into "Faith". We then get to see the aforementioned booty shaking and fake guitar playing which you can enjoy for yourself watching the music video for “Faith” by George Michael…
The song "Faith" and the album as a whole helped make George Michael one of the biggest pop stars of the decade and it would continue into the early '90s. In 1990, Michael released the song "Freedom '90," where he somewhat surprisingly denounced the image he created in the video for "Faith." The song includes the lyric "When you shake your ass, they notice fast, and some mistakes were built to last." In the music video for "Freedom '90," he even blows up the jukebox from the "Faith" video and the black leather jacket he wore in the "Faith" video is set on fire. His follow-up album, Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, was not nearly the success of Faith, but maybe Michael felt it was more important to be himself than put on a fake persona to help sell records.
Hope you enjoyed another trip back to the '80s thanks to Flashback Video!