Charlie's 80s Blog

This Day In 80s Music, April 18th

On this day in 1984: Michael Jackson underwent surgery in a Los Angeles hospital to repair damage done after his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial.

On this day in 1985: Wham! Became the first-ever Western pop act to have an album released in China.

On this day in 1987: Aretha Franklin & George Michael started a two week run at #1 on the U.S. singles chart with ‘I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).’ Aretha Franklin set a record for the artist with the longest gap between U.S. #1 singles, it had been 19 years, 10 months from her last #1 hit ‘Respect’ in June 1967. Franklin and Michael won a 1987 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”.

In 1984, Michael was approached to write and produce a song for Franklin for an unspecified soundtrack album; however, his busy schedule with Wham! at the time made it impossible for him to do so at the time. Michael was also anxious that writing for one of his favorite artists could be too nerve-wracking (considering himself to be unworthy) and that for Franklin to sing a song he had written would be “ludicrous”.

In 2017, following Michael’s death in late 2016, Franklin recalled the following about the recording of “I Knew You Were Waiting (for Me)”:

“The first time I heard George was with Wham! and I liked it then. He had a very unique sound, very different from anything that was out there. When Clive (Davis, Franklin’s producer and label boss) suggested we get together for “I Knew You Were Waiting,” I was all ready. It reminded me of (working with producer]) 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 (then) that we do now, maybe we have a hit.” “I Knew You Were Waiting” had that. Musically, it does not grow old.”

Here’s a look at the complete Top 20 on the U.S. singles chart from this day back in 1987:

1 3 I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING FOR ME –•– Aretha Franklin & George Michael (Arista)-9 (1) (1 Week at #1)
2 1 NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW –•– Starship (Grunt)-12 (1)
3 5 DON’T DREAM IT’S OVER –•– Crowded House (Capitol)-14 (3)
4 7 SIGN ‘O’ THE TIMES –•– Prince (Paisley Park)-7 (4)
5 8 MIDNIGHT BLUE –•– Lou Gramm (Atlantic)-12 (5)
6 12 LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE –•– Jody Watley (MCA)-7 (6)
7 2 LEAN ON ME –•– Club Nouveau (King Jay / Warner Brothers)-10 (1)
8 10 THE FINER THINGS –•– Steve Winwood (Island)-11 (8)
9 6 COME GO WITH ME –•– Expose (Arista)-13 (5)
10 17 (I Just) DIED IN YOUR ARMS –•– Cutting Crew (Virgin)-7 (10)

11 14 WALKING DOWN YOUR STREET –•– Bangles (Columbia)-10 (11)
12 18 LA ISLA BONITA –•– Madonna (Sire)-5 (12)
13 23 WITH OR WITHOUT YOU –•– U2 (Island)-5 (13)
14 4 TONIGHT, TONIGHT, TONIGHT –•– Genesis (Atlantic)-10 (3)
15 19 STONE LOVE –•– Kool & The Gang (Mercury)- 11 (15)
16 20 DOMINOES –•– Robbie Nevil (EMI-America)-10 (16)
17 9 LET’S GO –•– Wang Chung (Geffen)-13 (9)
18 22 COME AS YOU ARE –•– Peter Wolf (EMI-America)-8 (18)
19 24 WHAT’S GOING ON –•– Cyndi Lauper (Portrait)-6 (19)
20 25 CAN’TCHA SAY (You Believe In Me) / STILL IN LOVE –•– Boston (MCA)-7 (20)


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