GEORGE MICHAEL AND ARETHA FRANKLIN "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
by Mark Nobes, chief editor
This 80s classic (which was a one-off duet) reached No.1 in the UK for two weeks on 1st Feb 1987, preventing the ex-Wham! backing singers Pepsi and Shirlie from claiming the top spot during this period - they had to suffice with No.2. The single had entered the chart at No.2 on 25th Jan, while Steve 'Silk' Hurley was at No.1 with "Jack Your Body", and it was this single that "I Knew Your Were Waiting (For Me)" displaced.
Interestingly, the producer, Narada Michael Walden, also produced Starships' "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now", which was pushed off the top spot by this single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The single also reached No.1 in the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia, and was a top 10 hit in numerous other countries. It was included on Aretha Franklin's 29th studio album Aretha.
George Michael's ambition was to sing with the Queen of soul, and this song certainly fulfilled his dream big style! Penned by Simon Climie (from Climie Fisher) and Dennis Morgan, this was Franklin's only No.1 in the UK. However, for George, this was his third consecutive No.1. Fisher and Morgan actually met in 1983 at an Everly Brothers concert, and they originally intended the song to be sung by Tina Turner as a solo single, and not as a duet.
Franklin was only too glad to duet with George, as she hadn't had a major chart hit in the UK since her 1985 duet with Eurythmics "Sisters are Doin' It For Themselves", which reached #9. She did what she does best, taking the melody up and down the scale, with George not trying to outdo her and keeping it straightforward, which helped to keep the song under control.
The song also features Randy Jackson on spector bass guitar, who is not to be confused with the brother of Michael.
The video was directed by Andy Morahan, who had previously produced Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", "Everything She Wants" and "Last Christmas".
It starts with George and two bodyguards (who are all wearing sunglasses) entering a dark room through two giant doors which close behind them. George is wearing a leather waistcoat with the words "Rock N Roll" embedded on the back using studs.
The singer then walks towards a big screen which features Aretha Franklin applying make-up and then singing to him. Later, we see Franklin in front of a big screen with George singing and dancing. Eventually, the two join together to perform the rest of the song, with the big screen showing footage of other famous duo's Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and Sonny & Cher. The video ends with Aretha winking at the camera.
Released in June, George's next single "I Want Your Sex" gave him his second hit of 1987, reaching No.3 in the UK.
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