A Rockapaedia Obituary
Adam Faith died aged sixty-two of a heart attack on 8th March 2003, at North Staffordshire Hospital, UK. During 1986 Adam underwent heart surgery and in 2003 he became ill after his evening stage performance in the touring production of Love and Marriage whilst in Stoke-on-Trent.
Adam Faith married Jackie Irving in 1967 and they had one daughter, Katya Faith, who went on to become a television producer.
Adam Faith was born Terence Nelhams-Wright in Acton, West London, U.K. on 23 June 1940. He was the third in a family of five children and grew up in a council house in a working class area of London, where he attended John Perryn Junior School. He started work at twelve, delivering and selling newspapers while still at school. His first full-time job was odd-job boy for a silk screen printer.
Adam Faith became one of Britain's significant early pop stars. At the time, he was distinctive for his hiccupping glottal stops and exaggerated pronunciation. He did not write his own material, and much of his early success was through partnership with songwriters Les Vandyke and John Barry.
Adam Faith began his musical career in 1957, while working as a film cutter in London in the hope of becoming an actor, singing with and managing a skiffle group, the Worried Men. The group played in Soho coffee bars after work, and became the resident band at the 2i's Coffee Bar, where they appeared on the BBC Television live music programme Six-Five Special. The producer, Jack Good, was impressed by the singer and arranged a solo recording contract with HMV under the name Adam Faith.
His debut record "(Got a) Heartsick Feeling" and "Brother Heartache and Sister Tears", in January 1958, failed to make the charts. Good gave him a part in the stage show of Six-Five Special, along with the John Barry Seven but the show folded after four performances. His second release later that year was a cover of Jerry Lee Lewis's "High School Confidential", backed with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David penned "Country Music Holiday", but this also failed.Adam returned to work as a film cutter at National Studios at Elstree until March 1959, when Barry invited him to audition for a BBC TV rock and roll show, Drumbeat. The producer, Stewart Morris, gave him a contract for three shows, extended to the full 22-week run. His contract with HMV had ended, and he sang one track, "I Vibrate", on a six-track EP released by the Fontana record label. Barry's manager, Eve Taylor, got him a contract with Top Rank, but his only record there, "Ah, Poor Little Baby"/"Runk Bunk" produced by Tony Hatch, failed to chart due to a lack of publicity caused by a national printing strike.
Despite the failure, Adam Faith was becoming popular through television appearances. He became an actor by taking drama and elocution lessons, and appeared in the film Beat Girl. The script called for Faith to sing songs and as Barry was arranging Adam Faith's recordings and live Drumbeat material, the film company asked him to write the score. This was the beginning of Barry's career in film music.
Adam's success on Drumbeat enabled another recording contract, with Parlophone. His next record in 1959, "What Do You Want?", written by Les Vandyke and produced by Barry and John Burgess, received good reviews in the NME and other papers, as well as being voted a hit on Juke Box Jury. This became his first number one hit in the UK Singles Chart, and his pronunciation of the word 'baby' as 'bay-beh' became a catchphrase.
"What Do You Want?" was the first number one hit for Parlophone, Adam Faith the only pop act on the label.
With his next two single releases, "Poor Me",another chart topper) and "Someone Else's Baby",a UK No. 2, Adam Faith established himself as a prominent rival to Cliff Richard in British popular music.
A UK variety tour was followed by a 12-week season at Blackpool Hippodrome in the summer of 1960 and an appearance on the Royal Variety Show.
Adam Faith's next release was a double A-side single, "Made You"/"When Johnny Comes Marching Home", which made the Top Ten, despite a BBC ban for "Made You" for 'a lewd and salacious lyric'. His 1960 novelty record "Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop"), to coincide with his Christmas pantomime, gained a silver disc. His début album Adam was released on 4 November 1960 to critical acclaim for the inventiveness of Barry's arrangements and Faith's own performances. The material ranged from standards such as "Summertime", "Hit The Road to Dreamland" and "Singin' in the Rain" to more contemporary songs, such as Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman's "I'm a Man", Johnny Worth's "Fare Thee Well My Pretty Maid", and Howard Guyton's "Wonderful Time".
Still only twenty years old and living with his parents, he bought a house in Hampton Court for £6,000, where he moved with his family from their house in Acton. In December 1960, he became the first pop artist to appear on the TV interview series Face to Face with John Freeman.
Adam Faith made six further albums and thirty-five singles, with a total of 24 chart entries, of which 11 made the UK Top Ten, including his two No. 1's. Ten of the eleven singles that made the Top Ten actually also made the Top Five. Adam Faith managed to lodge twenty consecutive single releases on the UK Singles Chart, starting with "What Do You Want?" in November 1959 and culminating with "I Love Being in Love With You" in mid-1964; this was quite a feat for a British artist of Adam's era. His last Top Ten hit in the UK, in October 1963, was "The First Time" (UK No. 5), which was also his first single with his backing group in 1963 and 1964, The Roulettes, acquired to give Adam Faith's music a harder 'beat group' edge more in keeping with the Merseybeat sound at that time sweeping the British charts. His 1974 single "I Survive" made the Top 30 of the "Capital Countdown" on London's Capital Radio.
Benefitting from the enthusiasm of American audiences for all artists British at the height of the British Invasion in 1964–65, Adam Faith managed to register one single in the Top 40 of the US Billboard Hot 100, "It's Alright" (which was not released as a single in his native UK).
In 1967, he recorded "Cowman, Milk Your Cow" which was written by Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb and released as a single in September that same year.