Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
Funky, sexy, cool. Rufus featuring Chaka Khan made an indelible mark on a generation of music.
In the 1970s, 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 1960s 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 five 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. Their live album Stompin’ At The Savoy, featuring the studio single “Ain’t Nobody,” captured its effortless, joyful virtuosity that closed their recording career with another Grammy win.
Inspired by pioneering female artists like Aretha Franklin and Joni Mitchell, Khan remains one of the mightiest and most influential voices around. It is impossible to imagine today’s streetwise but sensual hip-hop-soul divas 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. The recordings of Rufus and Chaka Khan 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)