World of Slick Music
Happy Birthday Chaka Khan!!
Today i’ve just decided to write about a true legend or diva if you will the one and only miss Chaka Khan. If you don’t know her check her out, now! Anyway born as Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23 1953 in Chicago, Illnois.
Like many others i’ve written about she got her love for music early and Chaka attributed it to her grandmother who introduced her to jazz music as a child. Then when she was pre-teen she discovered rhythm & blues and formed her first all female singing group The Crystalettes in which her sister Taka also was a member. During the 60:s she had some other band projects and also joined civil rights group The Black Panthers.
It was here she chained her name to Chaka Adunne Aduffe Hodarhi Karifi by an african shaman.While performing with smaller groups she met a guy called Hassan Khan whom she eventually married so that’s how she got her stage name. As i mentioned she had some different bands/groups but never really made it with any of those. Then in 1970 she met 2 guys called Kevin Murphy (keyboards) and Andre Fisher (drums) and they formed funk band Ask Rufus later just Rufus.
Picture above shows funk band Rufus with Chaka.
The band released their self-titled debut album in 1973 and despite making a cover of the Stevie Wonder tune “Maybe Your Baybe” the album didn’t got much attention. Thou this was about to change when Stevie himself wrote a song for Chaka which they recorded with Rufus. This become the group’s break through big time and the song is/was called “Tell Me Something Good”. It reached #3 at the Bilboard Hot 100 in 1974 and along with the second single “You Got the Love” their second album, picture below, eventually go platinum selling over 1 million copies.
No doubt the band gained a lot reputation of beeing a really great live act much due to the very presence of Chaka and offcourse her singing. Now one might think everything was cool…but as always behind the curtains there’s a lot of drama going on. There were big tentions between Chaka and several members mostly drummer Andre Fisher. At almost every release there were some member leaving. Thou the band continued during the entire 70.s with Chaka. She contributed a lot not only with songwriting but also playing bass, drums, percussion. Her compossions were often collaborations with guitarist Tony Maiden. In 1978 while still a member she signed a contract with Warner and released her solo debut the same year.
Picture above shows Chaka’s first album under her own name.
The album pretty much continues in the same style as Rufus thou there are only session players on it. We do find a famous song on it and it’s “I’m Every Woman” but perhaps most known due to Whitney Houston made a of cover of it. Despite this release she still remained with Rufus. On the last album Rufus and Chaka did in the liner notes Quincy Jones writes how he and Chaka once got the seats next to eachother on a flight. They both expressed their mutual admiration for the work both of them did. No surprise they both wanted to work with eachother and the chance came in 1978 when Chaka sang on the Quincy album “Sounds…And Stuff Like That”. She’s featured vocalist on the song “Stuff Like That”.
Picture above shows the Quincy Jones album “Sounds…And Stuff Like That” from 1978 on which Chaka Sang. In 1979 she sang on the Rufus album Masterjam, produced by Quincy Jones, and in 1980 she made an so called cameo apperance in the classic movie The Blues Brothers as gospel choir soloist. Second solo album came in 1981 and it happens to be so that today’s song is taken from that one. The last album with Rufus was released in 1983 and was a live recording called Stompin’ at the Sayoy, picture below.
On this album we find a song called Ain’t Nobody who became a big hit in the early 90:s and thou it’s on a Rufus album it’s considered a Chaka tune. She got another major hit in the 80:s when she did a cover of a song written by Prince called I Feel For You and it features Stevie Wonder on Harmonica. She’s still active and touring and singing but hasn’t had any bigger hit since the 80:s. So my advice is if you want to discover her, check out Rufus and her 3 first solo albums cause it’s the best stuff she has made in my opinion.
Finally it’s time for the song which is taken from her second album, picture above, called What’cha Gonna Do For Me and i’ve choosed to take the title track. Don’t forget to listen carefully to bridge before the sax solo by Michael Brecker! Don’t miss checking out the bonus video…
Enjoy your listening!!
Bonus video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2hUUAa-OKmU
Tags: #worldofslickmusic #chakakhan #chicago #illnois #crustalettes #blackpanthers #hassankhan #kevinmurphy #andrefisher #steviewonder #tonymaiden #quincyjones #thebluesbrothers #whitneyhouston #prince #michaelbrecker