Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Rufus and Chaka Khan represented not only the freedom and raw sexuality of pure funk,
but also the racial and social integration at the heart of rock & roll.
In the ’70s, as the rise of disco intensified racially charged divisions between rock and roll and dance music, a band from Chicago brought on the funk with both force and grace, defying all boundaries. First formed by black and white members of the ’60s rock band the American Breed, Rufus acquired a secret weapon in Chaka Khan, whose voice of liquid fire and sweet incense carried a carnality as ferocious as it was distinctly feminine. Funk queen, rock goddess, jazz singer, disco diva – Khan has been called, and has transcended, all of the above. Undoubtedly one of the most popular and most influential funk bands in history, they boast four consecutive number one R&B albums, ten Top 40 Pop Hits, and 5 number one R&B singles.
Stevie Wonder, an early fan, crafted their breakthrough hit “Tell Me Something Good,” from which Rufus and Khan made an unabashed simulation of sex without uttering a single naughty word. Subsequent hits such as “Sweet Thing,” “Once You Get Started,” and “At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)” reinforced the muscular, fluid soulfulness the group retained through lineup changes. The live album Stompin’ At The Savoy featuring the studio single “Ain’t Nobody,” a percolating instant classic, captured its effortless, joyful virtuosity that closed their recording career with another Grammy win.
Inspired by awe-inspiring female artists like Aretha Franklin and Joni Mitchell, Khan, in her work with Rufus and later as a solo artist, remains one of the mightiest and most influential voices around. It is impossible to imagine today’s streetwise but sensual hip-hop-soul diva without Khan; her influence allowed Mary J. Blige, another ardent fan, to forge the template, paving the way for other formidable women from Erykah Badu to Janelle Monae. To listen to any of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s recordings is to hear songs that have endured for decades and continue to inspire fellow artists and fans alike.
“Tell Me Something Good,” Rags To Rufus (1974) • “Once You Get Started,” Rufusized (1974) • “Sweet Thing,” Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (1975) • “Hollywood,” Ask Rufus (1977) • Do You Love What You Feel,” Masterjam (1979) • “Ain’t Nobody,” Stompin’ At The Savoy – Live (1983)
Beginning October 9 and continuing through 11:59 p.m. EST on December 9, 2018, fans can cast votes for who they believe to be most deserving of induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The top five artists, as selected by the public, will comprise a “fans’ ballot” that will be tallied along with the other ballots to choose the 2019 inductees. Fans will need to login to vote. Voting is capped at one ballot per day.