The 20 Best Aretha Franklin Collaborations-Part Three

Aretha Franklin and the late James Brown performed together for a 1987 HBO special in Detroit. Photo property of AP's Rob Kozloff.


By: Jacob Elyachar


La Reina del soul.  La Reine de la soul. La Regina del Soul.  If you translate all of these Spanish, French and Italian sayings into English, they all translate to “The Queen of Soul.”   There is only one Queen of Soul and everyone in the world knows that Aretha Franklin will forever hold on to that title.


In part three of my series celebrating Aretha’s 70th birthday, the duets that are covered in this article include Ms. Franklin’s duets with Gloria Estefan, Sir Elton John and the late Godfather of Soul: James Brown.


10. Coming Out of the Dark (with Gloria Estefan, 1993)


Two music superstars from two different music genres united to deliver an impeccable live duet.   The song for this duet: “Coming Out of the Dark” saw strong vocals from both divas and an impressive arrangement that satisfied both of the artists’ backgrounds.


To watch the performance, click here:


9. Jumpin’ Jack Flash (with Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood, 1986)


For her 1986 Aretha album, the Queen of Soul teamed with half of the Rolling Stones: Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood to record this song on her album.   Aretha took this song and made it into an explosive cover that featured her signature high vocal range and marvelous guitar playing from Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.


Aretha recorded a music video that featured Whoopi Goldberg and Idol’s Randy Jackson that tied into the former’s spy comedy film.   Click here to see the music video:


8. Border Song (with Sir Elton John, 1993)


Aretha’s 1993 FOX special that featured her duets with the previously mentioned Smokey Robinson and Gloria Estefan also featured another spectacular duet more than 20 years in the making.    The Queen of Soul recorded a cover of Sir Elton’s classic “Border Song” for her 1972 Young, Gifted and Black album that was well received by critics.     The duo performed “Border Song” together for the first time on the FOX special with both of them on their respective pianos and a backing choir.


To watch the duet, click here:


7. Never Gonna Break My Faith (with Mary J. Blige, 2006)


The Queen of Soul collaborated with one of her heir apparent on the 2006 feature film Bobby’s soundtrack.    Aretha and multi-Grammy winner Mary J. Blige performed the Bryan Adams-penned track “Never Gonna Break My Faith.”   This was a pure fusion between R&B, soul and gospel music.    Both of these incredible women delivered strong vocal performances and this is a song that should be in any music lover’s library.


This song was used for a YouTube tribute to U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy.  Click here to listen the song and watch the tribute:


6. Gimme Your Love (with James Brown, 1989)


For the first and sadly the last time, The Godfather and the Queen of Soul recorded a duet together.   This duet “Gimme Your Love” was recorded for Aretha’s 1989 Through the Storm album.   “Gimme Your Love” showcased both music icons at their finest from Aretha’s high notes to James’s smooth vocal moves.


Gimme Your Love’s promotional music video highlights both of these iconic performer’s incredible careers.   To watch this video, click here:


I do not own all of these clips that are featured in this article, they belong to Ms. Franklin, the respective guest singers, their record companies and FOX Broadcasting Company. 

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar