The Story of... 'Faith' by George Michael

25 September 2019, 16:46

George Michael - Faith
George Michael - Faith. Picture: Columbia/YouTube

By Tom Eames

It's one of George Michael's best-known songs, and was arguably the track that cemented his place as a popstar to be taken seriously after leaving Wham!

The title track from George's huge debut album Faith, the song and its famous video introduced his new rugged image, and made us all want to go out and buy leather jackets and gloves, pronto.

But what inspired the song and what is its ongoing legacy? Here's all you need to know:

  1. Who wrote 'Faith'?

    George Michael
    George Michael. Picture: Getty

    Like the rest of the Faith album, the track was written, arranged, and produced by George Michael for his debut LP.

  2. What inspired the song?

    It is claimed that the idea for the song came from producer Dick Leahy's suggestion that George write a rock and roll parody song.

    The song uses a Bo Diddley-style beat, which is a classic rock and roll rhythm.

    George was also trying to change his image, so that he would appeal to a more adult audience and get taken seriously as an artist, following his 'Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go' Wham! days.

    He said of the song at the time: "It represents the way I feel at the moment. It's kind of another word for my hope and optimism.

    "You know, faith to me is just really such a strong word and the more I got into the idea of the song being the single, the more I liked the idea of using it as the title track."

  3. Who made the music video?

    The music video was directed by Andy Morahan, known for his many music videos over the years from 'West End Girls' to 'November Rain'.

    The video sees George with a new look of stubble, a black leather jacket with ‘Rockers Revenge’ and BSA logo, Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses and a pair of Levi's blue jeans with cowboy boots.

    He then plays a guitar next to a Wurlitzer jukebox.

    The music video also sees the jukebox playing his other song 'I Want Your Sex', and is then interrupted by a pipe organ version of Wham!'s 'Freedom' (played on a keyboard by Chris Cameron), before the song starts.

    George didn't know how to play guitar at the end, and was faking it for the video. He said: "Americans, if you stick a guitar on, you've got a bigger penis, simple as that."

  4. How did it perform in the charts?

    The song reached number one in the States, staying there for four weeks.

    In the UK, it reached number two, and was kept off the top spot by 'You Win Again' by the Bee Gees.

  5. Who has covered it?

    Metal band Limp Bizkit famously recorded a cover version for their debut album.

    "I love George Michael and decided to cover 'Faith' for fun. We like to do really aggressive versions of cheesy pop hits," lead singer Fred Durst told Billboard.

    "I didn't expect him to get busted in that bathroom but his misfortune actually helped us. We couldn't ask for more of a buzz."

  6. It was a major plot point in a TV drama

    'Faith' plays a key role in the ABC TV series Eli Stone, starring Jonny Lee Miller.

    In the first episode, Eli hears the song in his head, and has visions of George Michael.

    This then leads to a major lifestyle change for him, and a new focus on faith, as Eli starts using his job as a lawyer to do the right thing.

  7. What are the lyrics?

    Well, I guess it would be nice if I could touch your body
    I know not everybody has got a body like you
    But I gotta think twice before I give my heart away
    And I know all the games you play because I played them, too

    Oh, but I need some time off from that emotion
    Time to pick my heart up off the floor
    Oh, when that love comes down without devotion
    Well, it takes a strong man, baby
    But I'm showin' you the door

    'Cause I gotta have faith
    I gotta' have faith
    Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith
    I got to have faith, faith, faith

    Baby, I know you're askin' me to stay
    Say "Please, please, please don't go away"
    You say I'm givin' you the blues

    Maybe you mean every word you say
    Can't help but think of yesterday
    And another who tied me down to loverboy rules

    Before this river becomes an ocean
    Before you throw my heart back on the floor
    Oh, baby, I reconsider my foolish notion
    Well, I need someone to hold me but I'll wait for somethin' more

    Yes, I gotta have faith
    Ooh, I gotta have faith
    Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith
    I gotta have faith, faith, faith

    Before this river becomes an ocean
    Before you throw my heart back on the floor (I just gotta have faith)
    Oh, oh, baby, I reconsider my foolish notion
    Well, I need someone to hold me but I'll wait for somethin' more

    'Cause I gotta have faith
    Ooh, I gotta have faith
    Because I gotta have faith, faith, faith
    I gotta have faith, faith, faith