George Michael – Listen without prejudice Vol I (The ’59) #194

The ’59 2018 #194: 180713

George Michael – Listen without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Today we’ve reached year 32 and a new decade – 1990.

Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 was the second solo studio album from the late George Michael, released on 3 September 1990.

This was his final album of all-new material on Columbia Records until 2004’s ‘Patience’. Disappointing album sales in the US led to Michael’s legal battles against Sony Music, in which he accused the corporation of not fully supporting him as an artist.

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Enya – Watermark (The ’59) #186

The ’59 2018 #186: 180705

Enya – Watermark (1988)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 30 – 1988.

Watermark was the second studio album from Irish singer, songwriter Enya, released on 19 September 1988 by Warner Music.

Following the release of the self-titled ‘Enya’ in 1987, she secured a recording contract with Warner Music after a chance meeting with chairman Rob Dickins, who had become a fan of her music. Her contract allowed her considerable artistic and creative freedom, with minimal interference from the label and no deadlines to have albums finished. Enya recorded Watermark in ten months with her longtime collaborators, manager, producer and arranger Nicky Ryan and his wife, lyricist Roma Ryan. It was initially recorded in Ireland in demo form before production relocated to London to re-record, mix, and master it digitally.

Watermark received many positive reviews from critics and it became an unexpected commercial success, which propelled Enya to worldwide fame. It peaked at No.5 on the UK Albums Chart, No.25 on the Billboard 200 in the United States, and reached No.1 in New Zealand and Switzerland.

To promote the album, Enya embarked on a worldwide promotional tour which included interviews, appearances, and live performances.

Four singles were released from the album, including the international top-ten hit “Orinoco Flow”, which spent three weeks at No.1 in the UK.

Watermark was reissued in 1989, 1991, and 2009; the latter for release in Japan with a bonus track.

Tracy Chapman (The ’59) #183

The ’59 2018 #183: 180702

Tracy Chapman (1988)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 30 – 1988.

Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut was released on April 5, 1988, by Elektra Records. It was recorded at the Powertrax studio in Hollywood, California.

In 1987, Chapman was discovered by fellow Tufts University student Brian Koppelman. He offered to show her work to his father, who owned a successful publishing company; however, she didn’t consider the offer to be serious. However, Koppelman found a demo tape of “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution”, which he promoted to radio stations, and she was eventually signed to Elektra Records.

Tracy Chapman gained critical acclaim from a wide majority of music critics, praising the simplicity, Chapman’s vocal ability and her political and social lyrical content. The album received commercial success in most of the countries it was released, making it to the top of the charts in many countries, including Austria, New Zealand, Switzerland, Denmark, and the UK.

Three singles were released from the album, with the most commercially successful single being “Fast Car”. The song was performed at the Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute. It too rose to the top ten in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the UK, and other European countries.

George Michael – Faith (The ’59) #181

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George Michael – Faith (1987)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 29 – 1987

Faith was the late George Michael’s debut, released on 30 October 1987 by Columbia Records and Epic Records.

The album has won several awards, including the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1989.

It also produced six top-five singles that substantially helped it dominate the charts in 1987 and 1988. “Faith” was the first by a white artist to reach number one on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 480 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Michael Jackson – Bad (The ’59) #178

The ’59 2018 #178: 180627

Michael Jackson – Bad (1987)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 29 – 1987

Bad was Jackson’s seventh studio album released on August 31, 1987 in the United States by Epic Records and internationally by CBS Records.

“Bad”  was recorded during the first half of 1987 and, even though it has been five years since the previous album – “Thriller” –  the album cemented Jackson’s status as one of the most successful artists of the 1980s.

Prince – Sign O the times (The ’59) #177

The ’59 2018 #177: 180626

Prince – Sign O the times (1987)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 29 – 1987.

Sign O the Times (with the ‘O’ depicted as the peace sign) was the ninth studio album from Prince, released on March 30, 1987 by Paisley Park Records and Warner Bros. Records. It’s the follow-up to ‘Parade’ (1986) and was Prince’s first album following his disbanding of the ‘Revolution’.

The songs were largely recorded during 1986 to 1987 in sessions for albums Prince ultimately aborted: ‘Dream Factory’, ‘Camille’, and finally the triple album ‘Crystal Ball’.  Prince eventually compromised with label executives and shortened the length of the release to a double album.

The album’s  release was supported by several singles, among them the socially conscious title track and “If I Was Your Girlfriend” as well a well-received concert film of the same name. Sign o’ the Times was Prince’s most acclaimed album and was voted 1987’s best album in the Pazz & Jop critics poll.

Steve Winwood – Back in the high life (The ’59) #175

The ’59 2018 #175: 180624

Steve Winwood – Back in the high life (1986)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 28 – 1986.

Steve Winwood’s fourth solo studio album was released on 30 June 1986.

It was a top ten hit on the album charts, peaking at No 8 in the UK and No. 3 in the US. The single “Higher Love” topped the singles chart and won the Grammy Award for “Record of the Year”; “Back in the High Life Again”, “The Finer Things” (the second biggest hit from the album), and “Freedom Overspill” were also big hits.

After 20 years with the label, this was Winwood’s last studio album with Island Records. The album also features collaborations in backing vocals, featuring Chaka Khan in “Higher Love”, and James Taylor in “Back in the High Life Again”. It also features Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh performing slide guitar and co-writing the track “Split Decision”.