I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) – Aretha Franklin & George Michael

THIS DAY IN MUSIC………………………………………on April 18th of 1987 when her newest release reached the top of the Billboard chart, Aretha Franklin set a record for the artist with the longest gap between US #1 singles. It had been 19 years, 10 months from “Respect” (June 1967) to “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” (With George Michael). This was was written by Simon Climie and Dennis Morgan; the pair met in 1983 after Morgan attended an Everly Brothers concert. It was the third song they wrote together. Morgan explained in The Billboard Book of Number One Hits: “That was one of those songs that came out of mid air – a gift from above, if you will.” The song was not originally written as a duet. Climie and Morgan pitched the song to Tina Turner as well to Aretha Franklin and Arista Records head Clive Davis. It was Davis’ idea to get Franklin and George Michael to record the song as a duet. It appeared on Franklin’s 1986 album Aretha. Michael was coming off a string of hits with his group Wham!, but had not yet released his first solo album, Faith, which came out later in 1987. Narada Michael Walden, who worked with Aretha on her Who’s Zoomin’ Who album, produced this track. He also produced the song this displaced at the top spot of the Hot 100: “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” by Starship. This made him the eighth producer in the Rock Era to score back-to-back #1 hits. Michael admitted to being nervous, but he knew there was no point in trying to copy Franklin’s style. “Nobody can emulate Aretha Franklin,” he said. “It’s stupid to try. I just tried to stay in character, keep it simple – it was very understated in comparison to what she did.” In 1987, Franklin and Michael won the Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal Grammy for this song. The song also went on to top the UK Pop Singles chart.