♫ I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) ♫

I have what I think of as a bouncy mind … one thought leads to another and before you know it, I’ve completely lost the original thought and am miles away, sometimes stranded on a deserted island trying to remember what the heck I was even thinking about.  Does this ever happen to you guys?  Anyway, last night, I was looking over Keith’s list of songs, trying to get an idea for this morning’s music post, and I started out with Danny’s Song by Kenny Loggins, then jumped to Annie’s Song by John Denver, and I don’t remember the journey or how I ended up with Aretha Franklin and George Michael, but somehow I did.  This song topped the charts at #1 in both the UK and the U.S. and #4 in Canada in 1987, so I figure it’s a safe bet that at least some of you will remember and enjoy it, as well.

According to SongFacts …

When John Landis was asked how he got Aretha Franklin to appear in his 1980 film The Blues Brothers, he replied: “I asked her.” The point being that the Queen of Soul had fallen out of favor and was looking for work (many other music legends – Ray Charles, Tina Turner and Roy Orbison among them – were also at career nadirs).  Her fortunes were revived by her 1985 album Who’s Zoomin’ Who, which contained two US Top 10 hits: the title track and Freeway of Love. It took this duet with George Michael, however, to return her to the top of the chart, where she had not been for 20 years.  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.

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.

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.

George Michael usually did his own production work; before recording this song, he had only been produced by someone else on one occasion: the “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” single by Band Aid.

Michael was so used to self-producing that he had a difficult time knowing when to stop singing. Narada Michael Walden explained: “He looked at me with those innocent virgin eyes, like he’d never been told, ‘you oughta stop, kid.'”

Michael wrote about his experience recording this song in his book, Bare, saying that he and Franklin recorded the song together but did their ad-libs separately. He also went on to praise Walden for being “brilliant” at getting a good atmosphere in the studio.

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.

Aretha Franklin reflected on her collaboration with George Michael in Entertainment Weekly’s 2017 tribute issue. “The first time I heard George was with Wham! and I liked it then,” she said. “He had a very unique sound, very different from anything that was out there. When Clive [Davis] suggested we get together for ‘I Knew You Were Waiting,’ I was all ready. It reminded me of Jerry Wexler. We’d go in the studio and cut songs. If we were happy with what we recorded, Jerry would say, ‘Let’s wait until tomorrow. If we feel the same way that we do now, maybe we have a hit.’ ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ had that. Musically, it does not grow old.”

Regarding the video, Franklin said, “We had a super time. He was calling most of the shots: how he wanted this, how he wanted that. My older sister, Erma, just fell for him right away. He was very friendly and personable, easy to talk to.”

Enough chatter … on to the music!

I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)

Aretha Franklin & George Michael

Like a warrior that fights and wins the battle
I know the taste of victory
Though I went through some nights consumed by the shadows
I was crippled emotionally

Somehow I made it through the heartache, yes, I did
Oh, I escaped (aha ha)
I found my way out of the darkness
I kept my faith (I know you did), kept my faith

When the river was deep, I didn’t falter
When the mountain was high, I still believed
When the valley was low, it didn’t stop me, no no
I knew you were waiting, I knew you were waiting for me
Uh huh

With an endless desire, I kept on searching
Sure in time our eyes would meet
And like a bridge that’s on fire, the hurt is over
One touch and you set me free

No, I don’t regret a single moment, no, I don’t
(I know you don’t) Looking back
When I think of all those disappointments
I just laugh (I know you do), I just laugh

When the river was deep, I didn’t falter
When the mountain was high, I still believed
When the valley was low, it didn’t stop me, oh
I knew you were waiting, hey, I knew you were waiting for me

So we were drawn together through destiny, ooh boy, ooh!
I know this love we share was meant to be, oh
(Knew you were waiting) Ooh, yeah
(Knew you were waiting) I knew you were waiting
(Knew you were waiting for me)

(I didn’t falter) I didn’t falter, no
(I still believed) When the valley was low
(It didn’t stop me) Nothing can stop me, no
(Knew you were waiting) No, I
(Knew you were waiting for me)
(I didn’t falter) When the mountain was high
(I still believed) Oh, when the valley was low
(It didn’t stop me) No, it didn’t stop me, no
(Knew you were waiting) stop me
(Knew you were waiting for me)
(I didn’t falter) Oh, oh yeah
(I still believed) Oh, I still believed
(It didn’t stop me) Do you know it couldn’t stop me now? No
(Knew you were waiting)
Someday (someway), some place (somehow)
For me
(I didn’t falter) When the valley was low
(I still believed) I still believe (I believed, I believed)
(It didn’t stop me) Yeah, it couldn’t stop me

Writer/s: Dennis Morgan, Simon Climie
Publisher: BMG Rights Management, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

18 thoughts on “♫ I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) ♫

  1. Oh my! I can ‘remember’ the song, but my ragged mental filing system has it as an Aretha Franklin song. Sorry George for leaving you out…
    Thanks for the fascinating back story Jill.
    (PS: I still snigger about ‘Starship’……OK 10 out of 10 for Power Pop folks…..but when you look back at the ancestry of the band…..Ah well that’s showbiz)

    Liked by 2 people

      • Aretha Franklin was ‘something else’… I could never tune into George Michael, but millions did and got a buzz from his songs, so what do I know?
        (Fun fact about that PS. A quick memory arose after I sent it.
        When Jefferson Airplane (the ancestors) were starting to be big and were headlining at San Francisco’s Filmore, Bill Graham its owner suggested to guitarist Paul Kanter they should move around a bit when playing, some dancing maybe?
        Kanter who when not playing his guitar had it located somewhere else, sneered back:
        ‘We don’t do showbusiness man,’
        To which Graham, ever the tough, hardnosed operator swept a hand to the stage and replied:
        ‘Waddya think this is… shmuck?’
        Despite the fact I still have a ‘place’ for that band’s music, that story just never grows old😄)

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Never a George Michael fan but Aretha was great. This was #1 around the time my first daughter had her first birthday. Brings back memories of watching this on Top Of The Pops with her bopping up and down on my lap!

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  3. Pingback: ♫ I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) ♫ — Filosofa’s Word | Flow on Stage

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