If you were alive and near a radio in January 1988, you got used to hearing George Michael's "Faith"—a lot. After scandalizing the pop scene with "I Want Your Sex," Michael released the title track of his debut solo album as a single on October 12, 1987. The song introduced a whole new post-Wham! George Michael to the world, and the world was more than ready for what he had in store.
"Faith" was a sparkling update on classic rock and roll, in a similar tradition as Queen's "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Built on a throwback Bo Diddley beat, the track arrived with a music video that revealed a transformed George Michael. Clad in his now-iconic ripped jeans, BSA leather jacket, mirrored aviator sunglasses and dangling cross earring, it kicked off as many fashion trends as an entire season of Miami Vice.
The tune rocketed up the charts, hitting #1 on December 12, 1987. It would stay there for an entire month. The song would finally fall on January 9, 1988, to Whitney Houston's "So Emotional."
"It represents the way I feel at the moment. It's kind of another word for my hope and optimism," Michael said about "Faith" when it was released. "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."
The song's popularity was so enduring that Billboard named it the top Hot 100 song of the year. Not that the singer expected anything less, considering his confidence in the record.
“I really think that anyone who doesn’t like anything on my new album has no right to say they like pop music,” he told Rolling Stone in January 1988. “If you can listen to this album and not like anything on it, then you do not like pop music.”