Her Music Lives On: 15 Of Aretha Franklin's Most Memorable Duets
In a statement from Franklin’s family, they thanked fans and friends for their incredible support.
“Thank you for your compassion and prayers,” the family said via the statement. “We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on.”
More from ESSENCE
Franklin, known to most as the Queen of Soul, was a force to be reckoned with and an artist many singers would have jumped at the opportunity to perform with. In fact, quite a few got the opportunity to do just that.
From Whitney Houston to Mary J. Blige, here are 15 amazing collaborations featuring the Queen of Soul .
1. Aretha Franklin & George Michael – I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)
The 1987 smash hit from Franklin and Michael landed both singers at the top of the charts and earned George Michael one of his first Grammy wins. Michael, who passed away in 2016, recalled the duet in his biography Bare. “I was nervous,” he wrote. “We did end up doing the chorus together, which was phenomenal—she wanted to do it that way. I’m standing there just freaking out. I’m on the other side of the mic from Aretha Franklin and she’s treating me like an equal—obviously, I’m not, but she was treating me with such respect.”
2. Aretha Franklin & Dionne Warwick – I Say A Little Prayer
Together, these two phenomenal entertainers gave us one of the greatest duets of all time.
3. Aretha Franklin & Whitney Houston – It Isn’t, It Wasn’t, It Ain’t Never Gonna Be
Franklin and Houston were close, so it’s no surprise that the two ended up working together. Following Houston’s death, Franklin called the singer “one of the great sopranos.”
4. Aretha Franklin & Elton John – Border Song
Elton John was another lucky singer who got to call Franklin a friend. Following her death, the “Candle in the Wind” singer shared a touching tribute, calling the loss of Franklin “a blow for everybody who loves real music.”
5. Aretha Franklin & Mary J. Blige – Never Gonna Break My Faith
It should come as no surprise that the two powerhouses collaborated on “Never Gonna Break My Faith,” delivering a stirring performance that will make you feel all the feelings.
6. Aretha Franklin & James Brown – Gimme Your Love
This wild collaboration was the lead track from Franklin’s Through the Storm album and appeared on Brown’s Soul Session Live.
7. Aretha Franklin & Gloria Estefan – Coming Out Of The Dark
This duet heard Franklin and Estefan delivered an unforgettable rendition of Estefan’s 1991 hit.
8. Aretha Franklin & BeBe and CeCe Winans – You Got A Friend
Although noted on YouTube as a collaboration with Michael Bolton, it was actual CeCe and BeBe Winans who teamed up with Franklin for, “You Got A Friend.”
9. Aretha Franklin & John Legend – What Y’all Came To Do
In a 2007 interview shared with Forbes shortly after her passing, Franklin called Legend “classic,” adding that he is “one of the best finds that has come along in a long time. He’s very classic in terms of his performance and his writing, certainly as a stylist, and one that I enjoy.”
10. Aretha Franklin & Smokey Robinson – Just To See Her
Introducing her before their performance of “Just To See Her,” Robinson called Franklin “one of the dearest people I’ve ever known.”
11. Aretha Franklin & Mariah Carey – Chain Of Fools
This duet is one of many reasons why Franklin and Carey will always be celebrated as two music icons.
12. Aretha Franklin & BB King & Jack Jones – Sweet 16
This moment between the Queen of Soul and the King of the Blues is definitely one to remember.
13. Aretha Franklin & Fantasia – Put You Up on Game
Following their collaboration, Franklin called Fantasia one of the artists she enjoyed and believed would have a lasting career.
14. Aretha Franklin & Stevie Wonder – Until You Come Back to Me
Another close friend of the late icon, Wonder was one of the many friends who paid a visit to Franklin just before her death. “Until You Come Back to Me” was originally recorded by Wonder in 1967, but it’s Franklin’s version that became well-known. The two later teamed up for a flawless duet.
15. Aretha Franklin & Ray Charles – It Takes Two To Tango
Franklin and Charles shut it down on The Midnight Special with their performance of “It Takes Two To Tango.”