Released today in 1987: I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)

Epic DUET2

Epic DUET2

The Queen of Soul’s chart career had a much-deserved revival in the 1980s. In her native America, Aretha’s albums had sold steadily throughout the seventies, but they were minor hits compared with her past catalogue and, according to the Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (1997), the latter half of the decade saw her output “marred by recordings that were at best predictable, at worst dull. It was never the fault of Franklin’s voice, merely that the material was often poor and indifferent”. Her move to Arista Records in 1980, and a memorable cameo in the hit movie The Blues Brothers in the same year, marked a return to prominence.

Awards were plentiful for her at this time. Her Hollywood Walk of Fame star was placed in 1981, and her Hold On! I’m Comin’, from that year’s album Love All The Hurt Away, received the Grammy for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. Aretha won that award on two further occasions in the eighties, for the track Freeway of Love and for the 1988 album Aretha. There was a gold disc from the RIAA for sales of that album, and for 1983’s Jump To It. And in 1987, she was the first female artist to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

But it was 1985’s platinum-selling LP Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (Aretha’s 32nd studio album) that re-established her as a singer of hit singles. Previously mentioned lead single Freeway Of Love and its follow-up, the album’s title track, both made the US Top 10. Four more Top 30 hits followed before she found herself at #1 with I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), her duet with George Michael. The success of this single was repeated here in the UK too. Duets also provided Franklin with a pair of hits in 1989 to finish the decade: Through The Storm with Elton John, and It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be with Whitney Houston.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Jan. 19
1987
EIGHTH WONDER (Patsy Kensit) Will You Remember (CBS 6502647)
Aretha FRANKLIN and George MICHAEL I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Epic DUET2)
FUZZBOX What’s The Point? (WEA YZ101)

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