From The Vault: Aretha Franklin & George Michael – ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’

Back in 1987, two artists from two different arena’s joined forces to deliver a smash hit single which serves this week’s From The Vault pick: it’s Aretha Franklin and George Michael‘s still-stunning ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me’.

‘Waiting’ was written by Simon Climie and Dennis Morgan for Franklin’s 1986 release, ‘Aretha’ and saw freshly-solo-star Michael collaborating with one of his idol. After the bubblegum-fest that was Wham!, George started channeling his inner Soul Man which can be heard in this track as he has no problem whatsoever keeping up with the greatest who ever done it, the Queen of Soul herself.
A US-meets-UK collaboration, the track lived up to its international status as it was a chart-topper in both those countries. On the UK front it was Michael’s third in a row and weirdly enough Aretha’s only #1 record to this day; the duet was her seventeenth Top 10 hit and Michael’s first since calling it quits with Wham. It was also a #1 record in Ireland and Australia and a Top 10 in Canada and Germany.
The video is primarily set in a screening room where past videos of the seasoned vocalists are shown alongside footage of notable duos like Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and Sonny & Cher. Midway through, Aretha and George get together and jam to their uplifting tune resulting in an iconic moment in the vein of those they paid homage to in the first place.
“Unusual” pairings like this excite in earnest. Indeed the collision of two worlds on one common ground represents what music should be all about: an art that brings people together. With the likes Miguel and Kelly Clarkson reportedly “trying to make it happen”, let’s pray other artists follow suit. We’d be lying if we said we hadn’t made a few dream combos in our heads already (Janet Jackson and Bebel Gilberto, Mariah and ), but we want YOU to tell us:
What would be your dream pairings of artists from different genres?
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  • April 21, 2013 at 10:54 am
    DAMIAN says:

    This song was NOT George’s first solo #1 single @ TGJ.

    ‘Careless Whisper’ hit #1 in the U.S & U.K in 1984.

    Also, Aretha had a #1 hit in 1967 with ‘Respect’ – come on, didn’t ya’ll research your s***?

    But yes… This song is ICONIC. I love me some ‘Retha & George.


    Music Royalty Replied:

    No where did TGJ said it was George’s first solo #1 single. It was Aretha only #1 single in the UK. Respect was #1 in the US and #10 in the UK. No shades…I’m just saying. Please read carefully.


  • April 21, 2013 at 11:20 am
    Royalkev says:

    Although Aretha wouldn’t be an artist I’d gravitate towards if I lived during the years of her golden era, I still believe I’d have a tremendous amount of respect for her work. She seems like she always remained true to herself throughout her entire career.

    My dream collaborations would be:

    1. Janet & Jlo – All Dance everything (with beautiful divas in their 40′s).
    2. Chris Brown & Ciara – All Dance everything (from today’s finest dancers).
    3. Brandy & Aaliyah – If this was able to happen in any way, I’d love it!

    From different genres:

    1. Beyonce & Gotye
    2. Brandy & Owl City
    3. Chris Brown & Maroon 5
    4. Janet & Santigold


  • April 21, 2013 at 11:42 am
    DOSSOME says:

    sam is right,this was aretha’s only no.1 hit in the UK..he meant the UK,but it was her 2nd in US after RESPECT…Oddly enough Careless Whispers was credited under WHAM,though Georgd did all the Sam was right on this one


    DOSSOME Replied:

    A response @Damian


    DAMIAN Replied:

    Oh, okay.

    I get it now. My bad. Cheers B.

  • April 21, 2013 at 11:47 am
    DAMIAN says:

    But, I have to say, my” Top-7″ Dream Collaborations” would be…

    1) Myself and Mariah Carey. LOL.


    1) Celine Dion and Brandy
    2) Fantasia and The Rolling Stones
    3) Patti LaBelle and Luke James
    4) Prince and Miguel
    5) Bruce Springsteen and Bruno Mars
    6) Rihanna and Vybz Kartel
    7) Alicia Keys & John Legend


  • April 21, 2013 at 11:50 am
    DOSSOME says:

    Aretha brought the vocals on this song whaaaaaat…This and WHO’S ZOOMING WHO? were my favorite Aretha’s attempt at pop music…


  • April 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm
    DOSSOME says:


    1.Madonna and Gaga(lol Suicide Blonde will kill me)

    2.Mariah and Michael Jackson on a ballad like SPEECHLESS…too bad it won’t happen

    3.Celine Dion and R.Kelly..wasn’t that song epic?

    4.Janet Jackson and Usher

    5.Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake..KIIIIIIIIIIII

    6.Beyonce and Keyshia – BOW DOWN rmx..imagine the video…loool


    DAMIAN Replied:

    f*** GaGa… She’s not deserving of Empress MADGEsty Ciccone.

    Madonna & Rihanna >>> MY LIFE.

    Or Madonna & Kylie or Pink.

    :) :) :)


    DOSSOME Replied:

    lol…i was only kidding

    Suicide Blonde Replied:

    Lol, to me MJ and Madonna, the Kings of Pop, wish she should have released as a single “Love Song” featuring His Purple Majesty.


    DOSSOME Replied:

    MJ was supposed to duet with Madge on IN THE CLOSET..their egos got the better of them

    MJ was supposed to duet with PRINCE on BAD..again their egos prevented the magic from happening

    Anyway,at least i got to hear MJ with King FREDDIE,as well as MJ with BARRY GIBB (OMG I love THE BEE GEES)

  • April 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm
    Anne says:

    I love “I Knew You Were Waiting,” it’s one of my favorite upbeat duets. Aretha is one of my all time favorite artists (along with Prince, Marvin Gaye, Madonna, Beyonce, Rick James, and Teena Marie). I also love George Michael’s voice and many of his songs. As for a dream collabo, I know this is not exactly across genres (more like contemporary vs. Old school R&B) but Jeffrey Osborne (another great vocalist) recently stated that he would love to work with Beyonce. It would be great if those two could do a collabo! Actually Prince and Beyonce would be even more of a dream collabo for me. So many great vocalist have passed away but among the living it would also be great if Aretha and Elton John did a duet and Barbara Streisand and any soul singer like Michael McDonald, Jeffrey Osborne or James Ingram.


  • April 21, 2013 at 5:34 pm
    Music Royalty says:

    Monica & Tevin Campbell
    Monica & R. Kelly
    Monica & Keith Sweat
    Mya & Janet Jackson
    Aaliyah and Ciara
    Mariah Carey & Celine Dion


  • April 21, 2013 at 7:31 pm
    DIGGER BEY says:

    I still luv this song! The song still SLAYS! The song is Everything! What an great Collabo n music history! Aretha, who we all know is an Vocal Queen and George Michael. An white man with soul and can sing his ass off! Wish we had more singers n the game with talent like these two. Who could collabo and give us a song like this one! #LEGENDS


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  • December 7, 2013 at 6:04 am
    Niko Belic says:

    This song is an absolute gem. Credit to George Michael: far from being a lightweight popstar, he wasn’t afraid to take on music genres usually associated with African-American artists. And the video lives up to its billing: you can sense how happy George Michael is to be given the opportunity to perform with his idol. He knew she was waiting for him!


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