Meaning of “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” by Aretha Franklin

The title of and sentiment behind “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” dates back to a phone conversation the late Aretha Franklin had with a friend. In the process, the songstress let it be known that sometimes she can be in the club, and a guy would be checking her out. 

You can view the lyrics, alternate interprations and sheet music for Who's Zoomin' Who's Aretha Franklin at

And if he’s someone Aretha Franklin finds mutually attractive, she’ll give him the eye also, prompting him on. But then, when he finally gets to that point where he’s ready to strike, Aretha would let him know, to his dismay, that it was all a game, pulling a Houdini on dude, if you will. Or put otherwise, the guy would think he’s zooming Aretha, i.e. having the drop on her. But Miss Franklin was actually the one in control all along.

Lyrics of “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”

And the lyrics are pretty faithful to that narrative. The addressee is presented as a playa shall we say, one who is “walking in on the sly” into the club, “scoping for love”. The vocalist proceeds to catch his eye in a way that he “can’t hide” his attraction to her.

But as demonstrated as the song progresses, Aretha basically proceeds to diss him. For whatever unspecified reason, she is under the impression that he believes her to “be naïve and tame”, someone whom he can easily take advantage of.  Most likely, the vocalist is able to ascertain this from his manner of style, dress and speech. Or as Franklin puts it in the second verse, she’s “an experienced girl” and “ain’t nobody’s fool”.

That said, the bridge goes on to imply that the vocalist is out to teach the addressee a lesson, not reject him outright.  And said lesson would be that she’s the one who’s actually in command. So perhaps the moral of the story is that no matter how seductive a guy thinks he may be, ultimately it’s up to the woman to decide whether or not to give him play.

“(Who’s zooming who?)
Take another look and tell me, baby
(Who’s zooming who?)”

When was “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” released?

On August 27, 1985, Aretha Franklin’s management released “Who’s Zoomin’ Who” via Arista Records as a single. It actually served as the second single to be released from her thirtieth studio album which is also titled “Who’s Zoomin’ Who”.

Did Aretha Franklin write this song?

Yes. She composed it with two other writers, including the song’s producer, Narada Michael Walden. Songwriter, Preston Glass, is also a credited writer on this track.

Who's Zoomin' Who


Randy Jackson of American Idol fame contributed backing vocals to this song.

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