Terence Nelhams-Wright (23 June 1940 – 8 March 2003), known as Adam
Faith, was a British teen idol, singer, actor and financial
journalist. He was one of the most charted acts of the 1960s. He
became the first UK artist to lodge his initial seven hits in the Top
5. He was also one of the first UK acts to record original songs
1 Early life and education
2 Music career
3 Film and television career
4 Later years and death
5.4 Compilation albums
5.5 US singles
5.6 US albums
7 External links
Early life and education
Terence Nelhams-Wright was born at 4 East Churchfield Road, Acton,
Middlesex (now London), England. Known as Terry Nelhams, he was
unaware his surname was Nelhams-Wright until he applied for a passport
and obtained his birth certificate. 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.
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, whose arrangements were inspired by the
pizzicato arrangements for Buddy Holly's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore".
Faith began his musical career in 1957, while working as a film cutter
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.
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. The producer, Stewart Morris, gave him a
contract for three shows, extended to the full 22-week run. His
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
Despite the failure, 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 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.
Faith'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
"What Do You Want?" was the first number one hit for Parlophone, 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), 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
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
Still 20 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.
Faith made six further albums and 35 singles, with a total of 24 chart
entries, of which 11 made the UK Top Ten, including his two No. 1s.
Ten of the eleven singles that made the Top Ten actually also made the
Top Five. 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 Faith's era.
Faith's 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 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, 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
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
Film and television career
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In 1961, Faith made What a Whopper, with Sid James, Spike Milligan,
Carole Lesley and others well known at the time. A
film about a writer, a group of Englishmen and the Loch Ness
"monster", it was written by Terry Nation, and had music by John
Barry; Faith sang the title song and "The Time Has Come". Faith's teen
pop became less popular in the mid-1960s in competition with the
Beatles. After a final single in 1968 he parted company with
concentrated on acting. While a musician he had appeared in films such
Beat Girl (1960),
Never Let Go
Never Let Go (1960) 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 the play Night Must Fall, playing opposite Dame
Sybil Thorndike. In 1962 he co-starred opposite
Donald Sinden and Anne
Baxter in the film Mix Me a Person, a thriller which was rated
X-certificate (the modern equivalent would be a UK 18-certificate) by
the British Board of Film Censors. In autumn 1969, he took the lead in
a touring production of Billy Liar.
In the 1970s, he went into music management, managing
Leo Sayer among
others. Sayer claimed in an interview with British newspaper The Daily
Telegraph that "He handled everything for me, but although he was a
very good mentor, he was less trustworthy with my money. In the end,
Adam Faith made more out of
Leo Sayer than I did."
He starred as the eponymous hero in the 1970s television series Budgie
(LWT/ITV), about an ex-convict, but his career declined after a motor
car accident in which he almost lost a leg. He restarted with a role
as the manipulative manager of rock star David Essex, in Stardust. He
was nominated for a
BAFTA award. In 1980 he starred with Roger Daltrey
in McVicar 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.
From 1992 to 1994, he appeared in another TV series, Love Hurts,
starring with Zoë Wanamaker, and in 2002 he appeared in the BBC
series The House That Jack Built. In 2003, he appeared in an episode
of Murder in Mind.
Later years and death
Faith married Jackie Irving in 1967 and they had one daughter, Katya
Faith, who became a television producer.
By the 1980s, Faith had become an investor and financial adviser.
In 1986, he was hired as a financial journalist by the
Daily Mail and
its sister paper The Mail on Sunday. Faith and partner Paul Killik
were the principal investors behind UK television station Money
Channel. When the channel closed in June 2002, Faith was declared
bankrupt, owing a reported £32 million. English film director
Michael Winner stated that Faith was his investment
adviser, leading to significant losses on two different
In 1986, Faith had open heart surgery. In 2003, he became ill after
his evening stage performance in the touring production of Love and
Marriage at Stoke-on-Trent, and died of a heart attack early the next
morning, 8 March 2003, at North
Staffordshire Hospital. His last
words reportedly were "Channel 5 is all shit, isn't it? Christ, the
crap they put on there. It's a waste of space."
"(Got A) Heartsick Feeling"
b/w "Brother Heartache and Sister Tears"
"Country Music Holiday"
b/w "High School Confidential"
"Ah, Poor Little Baby!"
b/w "Runk Bunk"
"What Do You Want?"
b/w "From Now Until Forever"
b/w "The Reason"
"Someone Else's Baby"
b/w "Big Time"
"When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
b/w "Made You"
"How About That!"
b/w "With Open Arms"
"Lonely Pup (In a Christmas Shop)"
"Who Am I!"
b/w "This Is It!"
"Easy Going Me"
"Don't You Know It?"
b/w "My Last Wish"
"The Time Has Come"
b/w "A Help-Each-Other Romance"
b/w "Watch Your Step"
"As You Like It"
b/w "Face To Face"
"Don't That Beat All"
b/w "Mix Me A Person"
"Baby Take A Bow"
b/w "Knocking On Wood"
b/w "What Have I Got"
b/w "Just Mention My Name"
"The First Time"
b/w "So Long Baby"
"We Are In Love"
b/w "Made For Me"
"If He Tells You"
Talk To Me"
"I Love Being In Love With You"
b/w "It's Alright"
"Only One Such As You"
b/w "I Just Don't Know"
"A Message to Martha (Kentucky Bluebird)"
b/w "It Sounds Good To Me"
"Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself"
b/w "I've Gotta See My Baby"
"Hand Me Down Things"
Talk About Love"
"Someone's Taken Maria Away"
b/w "I Can't Think Of Anyone Else"
"I Don't Need That Kind Of Lovin'"
b/w "I'm Used To Losing You"
b/w "If You Ever Need Me"
"To Make A Big Man Cry"
b/w "Here's Another Day"
"Cheryl's Going Home"
b/w "A Funny Kind Of Love"
"What More Can Anyone Do"
b/w "You've Got A Way With Me"
"Cowman, Milk Your Cow"
b/w "Daddy, What'll Happen To Me"
"To Hell With Love"
b/w "Close The Door"
"You Make My Life Worth While"
b/w "Hey Little Lovin' Girl"
b/w "In Your Life"
b/w "Star Song"
"Strung Out Again"
b/w "Steppin' Stone"
"Stuck In The Middle With You"
(with Roger Daltrey—CD single)
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 (Parlophone) (1963)
For You – Love Adam (Parlophone) (1963)
On the Move (Parlophone) (1964)
It's Alright (Capitol Canada 6000 Series) March 1965
Faith Alive (Parlophone) (1965) – UK Number 19
I Survived (Warner Bros.) (1974)
Midnight Postcards (PolyGram) (1993) – UK Number 43
Adam's Hit Parade
Adam's Hit Parade (
Parlophone GEP 8811) 1960
Adam Faith (
Parlophone GEP 8851) 1961
The Time Has Come (Vandyke), Watch Your Step (Parker), I've Just
Fallen for Someone (Askew) and I'm Coming Home (Johnson-Rado).
Produced and conducted by John Barry 1961
Adam Faith (
Parlophone GEP 8852) 1961
All These Things (Vandyke), It's All Over Now (Whyton), Second Time
(Vandyke), Come To Me (Cenci-Carr), If I Had a Hammer (Hays-Seeger,
I'm Going To Love you Too (Mauldin-Sullivan-Petty). Produced and
conducted by John Barry 1961
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)
"What Do You Want?" / "From Now Until Forever" (Cub 9061)
"Poor Me" / "The Reason" (Cub 9068)
"I Did What You Told Me" / "Johnny Comes Marching Home" (Cub 9074)
"Don't That Beat All" / "Mix Me A Person" (Dot 16405)
"So Long, Baby" / "The First Time" (Amy 895)
"We Are in Love" / "What Now?" (Amy 899)
"It's Alright" / "I Just Don't Know" (Amy 913) (No. 31)
Talk About Love" / "Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself" (Amy 922) (No.
"I Don't Need That Kind of Lovin'" / "I'm Used To Losing You" (Capitol
"Here's Another Day" / "To Make a Big Man Cry" (Capitol 5699)
England's Top Singer (MGM E/SE 3951)
Adam Faith (Amy 8005/S-8005)
^ 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.
^ "Acton's Local Web site". Actonw3.com. Retrieved 29 November
^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st
ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 46.
^ Reed, Susan (20 February 1984). "The Evert Lloyds: Advantage, Adam
Time, Inc. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
^ "Michael Winner: 'I'm the only man ever to get a discount at
M&S'". Telegraph.co.uk. 17 December 2008. Retrieved 3 January
^ "Adam Faith". Telegraph.co.uk. 10 March 2003. Retrieved 5 December
^ "Leader: Famous last words – The Guardian". Theguardian.com.
Retrieved 3 January 2015.
Adam Faith with
Roger Daltrey – "Stuck in the Middle"".
Discogs.com. Retrieved 24 July 2013.
Adam Faith site
Adam Faith on IMDb
Obituary, The Guardian, 10 March 2003
Vintage footage on marriage with Jackie Irving
ISNI: 0000 0000 5947 0729
BNF: cb13921609j (data)