On this day in music history: October 13, 1990…

On this day in music history: October 13, 1990 – “Praying For Time” by George Michael hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also peaking at #4 on the Adult Contemporary singles chart on the same date. Written and produced by George Michael, it is the ninth solo chart topper for the singer, songwriter and producer from Bushey, Hertsfordshire, UK. When George Michael begins work on the follow up to his massively successful debut solo album “Faith” in December of 1988, the pop superstar consciously goes in a decidedly different musical direction. Seeking to be taken more seriously as a songwriter, the material Michael writes for the new album takes on a more serious and introspective tone, reflecting on his own personal struggles and various issues in the world at large. “Praying For Time” is a meditation on issues such as poverty, hunger, greed, hatred, injustice, and seeking relief and healing from loneliness. The track is recorded at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London in October of 1989 with George Michael on lead vocals, keyboards and drum programming, Phil Palmer on guitars, and Deon Estus on bass. Seeking to lower his own profile in the world media after the exhaustive world tour and press done for the previous album, Michael tells his label Sony Music that he does not wish appear in any of the music videos for any of the singles, simply letting the music speak for itself. Upset at the prospect of one of their biggest artists making such a move, the singer obliges them by making a music video for “Time” directed by Michael Borofsky, featuring the lyrics of the song appearing against a stark blue and black background. Released as the first single from “Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1” on August 13, 1990, it is an immediate hit. Entering the Hot 100 at #41 on September 1, 1990, it races to the top of the chart six weeks later. Released just after the album, is an hour long music video (on VHS and Laserdisc) simply titled “George Michael” which features behind the scenes footage of the singer working on the album and interviews, including clips of him in the studio recording his vocals on “Praying For Time”. The single release of “Praying” is backed with a live cover version of the Gladys Knight & The Pips’ classic “If I Were Your Woman” re-titled “If You Were My Woman”. Only available as a non-album B-side (included as a bonus track on the deluxe edition reissue of “Listen” in October of 2017), it is recorded at Wembley Stadium in London on June 11, 1988, during the 70th Birthday tribute concert for South African leader Nelson Mandela.