One of the most memorable albums by any LGBTQ artist officially turned 30 earlier this month. Boy are we getting old.
George Michael‘s then highly-anticipated work Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was released on September 3, 1990. It was the follow up to his wildly popular debut album Faith which sold an unbelievable 20 million copies worldwide and remains one of the best selling-efforts by any singer or band all this time later.
What’s mind-blowing about LWP is that it was considered to be a flop from a financial point of view. It sold comparatively less than Faith and didn’t even top the charts in the United States. Still it received a ton of praise from critics and is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery that also features legends like him including David Bowie, The Beatles and Aerosmith.
LWP was also the first album where George refused to appear in any of its music videos which was a huge transition compared to what he did with Faith and during his time in Wham! His voice and impact made up for the lack of visuals as the first single off of it “Praying For Time” was a monstrous hit that became his seventh (and last solo) number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Praying” was then followed up with “Waiting for That Day” which drew a big influence from The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. This didn’t do as well, becoming his first single to not crack the top 10 domestically in The States.
Then came “Freedom ’90” which is considered to be one of the greatest music videos ever. Here the focus was on the biggest supermodels in the world at that time as the David Fincher directed clip featured Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. Michael performed the song (which was covered by fellow Brit Robbie Williams) at the closing of the 2012 London Olympics.
The other two singles released from LWP, “Heal the Pain” and “Cowboys and Angels” didn’t chart well at all internationally. It would be another 14 years for fans of his to listen to an album filled with nothing but new material when he released Patience in 2004.
LWP was re-released in 2017 after his untimely death on December 25, 2016. It featured four discs, one of which was a DVD, that included a bunch of B-sides, remixes, rarities and much more like his performance of “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” with Elton John that took place at The Wembley Arena in March 1991.