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Adam Faith

by Bill Harry

Born Terence Nelhams in Acton, West London, on 23rd June 1940, he began his musical career as singer and manager with a skiffle group called the Worried Men, who became resident band at the famous 2 I’s coffee bar in Soho.

When they appeared on the TV show ‘The Six Five Special’, producer Jack Good spotted the singer’s potential and he arranged for him to sign a recording contract with HMV and change his name to Adam Faith.
Adam Faith
Adam Faith Although his initial release ‘(Got A) Heartsick Feeling,’ issued in 1958, failed to register, Good hired him to appear in the stage version of ‘The Six Five Special’, despite the fact that his second single that year ‘High School Confidential’, also flopped. For a time he worked as a film cutter at Elstree Studios and was then booked to appear on a new TV series ‘Drumbeat.’ His initial three appearances were extended to the entire 22 shows in the series. By that time he’d been dropped by the HMV label and had experienced another flop with his record ‘Ah, Poor Little Baby’, issued on the Top Rank label. The residency on ‘Drumbeat’ led to a contract with Parlophone and in 1959 his first single with the label, ‘What Do You Want’ topped the UK chart and he followed it with another chart topper, ‘Poor Me’.

By 1966 Adam had spent 260 weeks in the chart with 24 hits over a seven-year period, including: ‘Someone Else’s Baby’, ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’, ‘How About That’, ‘Lonely Pup’, ‘This Is It’, ‘Easy Going Me’, ‘Don’t You Know It’, ‘The Time Has Come’, ‘Lonesome’, ‘As You Like It’, ‘Don’t That Beat All’, ‘Baby Take A Bow’, ‘What Now’, ‘Walkin’ Tall’, ‘The First Time’, ‘If He Tells You’, ‘I Love Being In Love With You’, ‘Message To Martha’, ‘Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself’, ‘Someone’s Taken Maria Away’ and ‘Cheryl’s Going Home.’
Budgie Adam Faith Faith’s hit streak ended in 1966, but by 1970 he had married and begun a second career as a television actor, appearing in the successful UK series ‘Budgie’.

He continued with film appearances, which included roles in ‘Beat Girl’, ‘Never Let Go’, ‘What A Whopper’, ‘Mix Me A Person’, ’Stardust’, ‘McVicar’, ‘Foxes’ and ‘Yesterday’s Hero’.

Over the years Faith involved himself in various business enterprises, launching a celebrity financial management consultancy called Faith and contributing financial columns for the Daily Mail and Mail On Sunday newspapers. For a time he also managed Leo Sayer. A fraudster caused Faith’s businesses to crash, but he did not declare himself bankrupt, opting to pay off his debts over a period of years – which he managed to do.
Adam Faith

Adam Faith His marriage to Jackie Irving also ended following a two-year affair with tennis star Chris Evert. After another successful television series, ‘Love Hurts’, Faith decided to return to the stage by taking the lead as Zach the Choreographer, in a nine-month tour of the musical ‘A Chorus Line’, which opened on 30th June 1997.

He commented, “It’s taken me 30-something years to realise that I actually belong in show business” and in a Daily Mail interview was to say, “I retired from singing 20 years ago so I could be an actor. I had begun to hate my pop association because I so wanted to act. In those days you couldn't really do both. Now I realise that the two things I do best are singing and acting. I'm only sorry that it has taken me so long to combine the two."

He also appeared in the BBC TV series ‘The House That Jack Built’ in 2002. Faith was one of the first British pop artists to have a book devoted to him – ‘Poor Me’ in 1962.

In 1996 his autobiography, ‘Acts Of Faith’ was published. In May 1997, the 57-year-old singer announced that he would be leaving his 450-acre farm in Kent to emigrate to South Africa, commenting: “I would still work over here, but it is my dream to breed animals over there.” Faith had originally set up the Faith Foundation Rhino Rescue in 1989 to protect the rare species which was in danger of extinction from poachers.

However, he remained in Britain and he died on 8th March 2003 in a Stoke-on-Trent hospital after suffering a heart attack during his performance in a touring production of ‘Love and Marriage’ .

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