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Adam Faith

Background information
Birth name Terence Nelhams-Wright
Also known as Terry Nelhams
Born 23 June 1940(1940-06-23)
East Acton, London
Origin London, England
Died 8 March 2003 (aged 62)
Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Genres Rock and roll
Occupations Musician
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1957-2003
Labels Parlophone
Top Rank International
Associated acts The Worried Men (1957), The Roulettes, Bobby Vee, Cliff Richard, Billy Fury, Lonnie Donegan, Buddy Holly

Terence (Terry) Nelhams-Wright, known as Adam Faith (23 June 1940 – 8 March 2003) was an English singer, actor and financial journalist. Teen idol turned top actor then financial wizard, Faith was one of the most charted acts of the 1960s.[1 ] He became the first UK artist to lodge his initial seven hits in the Top 5.[1 ] He was also one of the first UK acts to record original songs regularly.[1 ] His distinctive voice and striking looks made him one of the most popular British teen idols in the pre-Beatles era.[2]


Early life and education

Terence Terry Nelhams-Wright was born at 4 Churchfield Road, East Acton, London. He was unaware his surname was Nelhams-Wright until he applied for a passport and obtained his birth certificate. He was known as Terry Nelhams. The third in a family of five children, Nelhams grew up in a council house in a working class area of London, where he attended John Perryn Junior school. He started work at 12, delivering and selling newspapers while still at school. His first full-time job was odd-job boy for a silk screen printer.

Music career

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 songwriter Les Vandyke and John Barry, whose arrangements were inspired by Don Costa's pizzicato arrangements for Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore".[2]

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.[2] 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.[3] The producer, Jack Good, was impressed by the singer and arranged a solo recording contract with HMV under the name Adam Faith.[3]

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' "High School Confidential", backed with the Burt Bacharach and Hal David penned "Country Music Holiday", but this also failed.

Faith 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.[3] 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[2] due to a lack of publicity caused by a national printing strike.

Despite the failure, Faith was becoming popular through television appearances. He became an actor by taking drama and elocution lessons, and appeared as a pop singer in the film, Beat Girl.[4 ] The script called for Faith to sing a songs, and as Barry was arranging Faith's recordings and live Drumbeat material, the film company asked him to write the score.

Faith's success on Drumbeat enabled another recording contract with Parlophone.[3] His next record in 1959, "What Do You Want?", written by Vandyke and produced by Barry and John Burgess,[2] received good reviews in the NME and other music papers, as well as being voted a hit on Juke Box Jury. This became his first number one hit in the UK Singles Chart,[1 ] and his pronunciation of the word 'baby' as 'bay-beh' became a catch phrase.[5 ] "What Do You Want?" was the first number one hit for Parlophone, Faith the only pop act on the label.[5 ]

With songs such as "Poor Me" (another UK chart topper), "Someone Else's Baby" (a UK #2) and "Don't That Beat All", he established himself as a rival to Cliff Richard in British popular music.[3][6 ] Poor Me also later became the title of his first autobiography.[2] A UK variety tour was followed by a 12-week season at Blackpool Hippodrome and an appearance on the Royal Variety Show.

His next release was a double A-side single, "Made You" / "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", Both 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.[3]

His debut 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 20 and living with his parents, he bought a house in Hampton Court for £6000, 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.[7 ] In January 1961, NME reported that Faith had been booked to headline the television show, Sunday Night at the London Palladium.[6 ] In November that year, Faith gave a concert at Leicester Prison.[8 ]

Faith made more than one appearance as a contestant on Double Your Money which was a British quiz show hosted by Hughie Green.

In July 1964, an impromptu song in Faith's dressing room by his then seventeen year old fan Sandie Shaw, was rewarded with her being given a recording contract by Pye Records.[9 ]

In 1965 Faith made his only two appearances in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart with "It's Alright" (#31) and "Talk About Love" (#97).[10]

Faith made six further albums and 35 singles, with a total of 24 UK chart entries. In the early 1960s, Faith's backing group was The Roulettes.[3] They finally split with him in October 1965 after a three year partnership, having backed Faith on several chart hits, starting with 1963's "The First Time", and including his biggest US success, "It's Alright".[11 ]

Film and television career

Faith's teen pop became less popular in the mid 1960s with competition from The Beatles.[3] After a final single in 1968 he parted company with EMI and concentrated on acting. Whilst a musician he had appeared in the films Beat Girl (1961),[3] Never Let Go, and television dramas such as the Rediffusion/ITV series, No Hiding Place, but now he concentrated on repertory theatre. After a number of small parts, he was given a more substantial role in Night Must Fall, playing opposite Dame Sybil Thorndike.[12] In autumn 1969 he took the lead in a touring production of Billy Liar.

Faith began 1970 by appearing on the BBC's review of the sixties music scene, Pop Go The Sixties, performing "What Do You Want" and "Someone Else's Baby" live on the show's broadcast on BBC1, on 1 January 1970. Later in the 1970s, he went into music management, managing Leo Sayer among others.[3] Faith also co-produced Sayer's 1975 album, Another Year, and earlier had co-produced Roger Daltrey's album, Daltrey (1973).

He starred as the eponymous hero in the 1970s television series Budgie (LWT/ITV),[3] about an ex-convict, but his career declined after a car accident in which he almost lost a leg.[12] He restarted with a role as the manipulative manager of rock star David Essex, in Stardust.[3] He was nominated for a BAFTA award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. In 1980 he starred with Roger Daltrey in McVicar,[3] and appeared with Jodie Foster in Foxes.

He played the role of James Crane in the 1985 TV movie Minder on the Orient Express - part of the Minder franchise.[3]

From 1992 to 1994, Faith appeared in another TV series, Love Hurts starring with Zoe Wanamaker,[2] and in 2002 he appeared in the BBC series, The House That Jack Built.[13] In 2003, Faith appeared in an episode of Murder in Mind.

Later years

He married Jackie Irving in 1967 and they had one daughter Katya Faith who became a television producer. In 1986, he was hired as a financial journalist, by the Daily Mail and its sister paper, The Mail on Sunday.[13]

In 1985, he appeared on a BBC Radio 2 tribute programme to James Dean, written and presented by Terence Pettigrew. You're Tearing Me Apart was aired on the 30th anniversary of Dean's death. Dean had been his idol, and the film Rebel Without A Cause had inspired the teenage Faith to become a singer and actor. "That movie changed my life", he admitted on the programme, which was produced by Harry Thompson, who later found fame as the originator and long-time producer of BBC TV's award-winning Have I Got News for You.

Faith had heart problems since 1986, when he had open heart surgery.[13]

In the 1980s, Faith became a financial investments advisor.[2] He had a financial involvement with television's 'Money Channel'. But the channel proved unsuccessful and closed in 2001. Faith was declared bankrupt owing a reported £32 million.[12] He also advised and invested monies for Michael Winner via Sir Nicholas Goodison and also with Roger Levitt's financial group. However, both these investments lost money.[14]

He became ill after his stage performance in the touring production of Love and Marriage at the Regent Theatre on the Friday evening, and died at North Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire[3] of a heart attack early on Saturday, 8 March 2003.[15] He left a wife, Jackie, and a daughter, Katya.[15]

British tabloid newspapers reported his last words as "Channel Five is all shit, isn't it? Christ, the crap they put on there. It's a waste of space". Although it is not certain these were his words, it has become an urban myth.[16]




Year Title UK Singles Chart[1 ][17]
1958 "(Got A) Heartsick Feeling" -
1958 "Country Music Holiday" -
1959 "Ah, Poor Little Baby!" -
1959 "What Do You Want?" #1
1960 "Poor Me" #1
1960 "Someone Else's Baby" #2
1960 "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"/
"Made You"
1960 "How About That!" #4
1960 "Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop)" #4
1961 "Who Am I!" / "This is It!" #5
1961 "Easy Going Me" #12
1961 "Don't You Know It?" #12
1961 "The Time Has Come" #4
1962 "Lonesome" #12
1962 "As You Like It" #5
1962 "Don't That Beat All" #8
1962 "Baby Take a Bow" #22
1963 "What Now" #31
1963 "Walkin' Tall" #23
1963 "The First Time" #5
1963 "We Are in Love" #11
1964 "If He Tells You" #25
1964 "I Love Being in Love with You" #33
1964 "Only One Such as You" -
1964 "A Message to Martha (Kentucky Bluebird)" #12
1965 "Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself" #23
1965 "Hand Me Down Things" -
1965 "Someone's Taken Maria Away" #34
1965 "I Don't Need that Kind of Lovin'" -
1966 "Idle Gossip" -
1966 "To Make a Big Man Cry" -
1966 "Cheryl's Goin' Home" #46
1967 "What More Can Anyone Do?" -
1967 "Cowman, Milk Your Cow" -
1967 "To Hell With Love" -
1968 "You Make My Life Worth While" -
1974 "I Survive" -
1974 "Maybe" -
1974 "I Believe in Love" -
1975 "Strung Out Again"/
"Steppin' Stone"
1976 "Vindictive Attack" -
1978 "What Do You Want?"/
"Poor Me"
1983 "What Do You Want?"/
"How About That!"
1993 "Stuck in the Middle" -


[1 ] [18]

  • Adam (Parlophone) (1960) - UK Number 6
  • Beat Girl (film soundtrack) (Columbia) (1961) - UK Number 11
  • Adam Faith (Parlophone) (1962) - UK Number 20
  • From Adam with Love
  • For You - Love Adam
  • On the Move
  • Faith Alive (Parlophone) (1965) - UK Number 19
  • I Survived
  • Midnight Postcards (PolyGram) (1993) - UK Number 43

Compilation albums

[1 ] [19]

  • The Best of Adam Faith (Starline) (1966)
  • The Best of Adam Faith (MFP) (1971)
  • 24 Golden Greats (Warwick) (1981) - UK Number 61
  • Not Just A Memory (Amy Records) (1983)
  • The Best of Adam Faith (re-issue) (MFP) (1985)
  • The Best of Adam Faith (second re-issue) (MFP) (1989)
  • The Singles Collection (Greatest Hits) (1990)
  • The Best of EMI Years (1994)
  • The Very Best of Adam Faith (MFP/EMI) (1997)
  • Greatest Hits (EMI Gold) (1998)
  • The Very Best of Adam Faith (EMI) (2005)
  • All The Hits (EMI Gold) (2009)

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 192–193. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Roberts, David (1998). Guinness Rockopedia (1st ed.). London: Guinness Publishing Ltd.. p. 124. ISBN 0-85112-072-5.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Biography by Bruce Eder".|FAITH&sql=11:g9fqxqy5ld0e~T1. Retrieved 29 October 2009.  
  4. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 87. CN 5585.  
  5. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.  
  6. ^ a b Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 90. CN 5585.  
  7. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 89. CN 5585.  
  8. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 100. CN 5585.  
  9. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 136. CN 5585.  
  10. ^ "Allmusic ((( Adam Faith > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles )))".|FAITH&sql=11:g9fqxqy5ld0e~T5.  
  11. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 151. CN 5585.  
  12. ^ a b c Daily Mail "Budgie goes bankrupt" Retrieved 29 October 2009
  13. ^ a b c Daily Mail "Adam Faith dies 62" Retrieved 29 October 2009
  14. ^ The Telegraph Michael Winner: I'm the only man ever to get a discount at M&S 17 December 2008
  15. ^ a b Daily Mail "Showbiz world mourns" Retrieved 29 Ocotber 2009
  16. ^ The Guardian Famous last words: Adam Faith joins those who did it in style 13 May 2003
  17. ^ "Allmusic ((( Adam Faith > Discography > Singles & EPs )))".|FAITH&sql=11:g9fqxqy5ld0e~T22.  
  18. ^ "Allmusic ((( Adam Faith > Discography > Main Albums )))".|FAITH&sql=11:g9fqxqy5ld0e~T2.  
  19. ^ "Allmusic ((( Adam Faith > Discography > Compilations )))".|FAITH&sql=11:g9fqxqy5ld0e~T21.  

External links


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