New Aretha Franklin Collection Coming
The Knew You Were Waiting collection highlights Aretha's years as an Arista Records artist.
The album was compiled and produced by Leo Sacks, known for his work on last year's definitive box set, Take A Look: Aretha Franklin Complete on Columbia, as well as scores of historic Soul and R&B projects for Legacy Recordings over the past two decades.
The new chronologically-sequenced, 16-song collection is the first major U.S. release to focus on the nearly two-decades string of hits that marked Aretha's tenure at Arista. These range from her label debut, 1980's #3 comeback R&B smash "United Together" (her first Top 5 hit in over three and a half years), to 1998's iconic #5 R&B entry, "A Rose Is Still A Rose," written, produced and arranged by Lauryn Hill of the Fugees.
Aretha's Arista years were indeed marked by a steady flow of successful collaborations with contemporary music's "very best songwriters, musicians, producers, arrangers and visionaries." Virtually every track on KNEW YOU WERE WAITING supports this, starting with "United Together," which was written and produced by Chuck Jackson (known for his career-making hits with Natalie Cole), and features Aretha's beloved Sweet Inspirations on backing vocals (the 'original' lineup of Cissy Houston, Myrna Smith, Sylvia Shenwell and Estelle Brown). Likewise, "Love All The Hurt Away," a duet with George Benson, was written by Sam Dees, and produced by the late Arif Mardin, the legendary producer who worked on so many of Aretha's early breakthrough '60s and '70s Atlantic LPs.
Lauryn Hill, Arif Mardin and Chuck Jackson are just three of the important producers with whom Aretha worked at Arista. In addition to tracks produced by Luther Vandross (with arrangements by Marcus Miller), Narada Michael Walden, and Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, KNEW YOU WERE WAITING also includes tracks produced by Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones and Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics.
In addition to the collaborations above, KNEW YOU WERE WAITING contains many more A-list collaborations that have become cornerstones in the Aretha canon:
"Freeway Of Love" (1985), featuring the late Clarence Clemons of the E Street Band on tenor saxophone, Randy Jackson on bass, and percussion by the Santana rhythm section, was a #1 R&B hit for 5 weeks, and went on to win the Grammy Awardฎ for Best R&B Female Vocal;
1. United Together