Chaka Khan Women’s T-Shirt
Finally, a way to show your respect for some of the greatest icons, legends and pioneers that paved the way past and present. Rock this gear in style and bring back the moments that made you, memories they gave you and/or lessons they taught you. Scroll down for a history lesson with some of our favorite clips.
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Ain’t Nobody – Chaka Khan
Yvette Marie Stevens (born March 23, 1953), better known by her stage name Chaka Khan, is an American singer and songwriter. Her career has spanned nearly five decades, beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band Rufus. Khan received public attention for her vocals and image. Known as the “Queen of Funk”, Khan was the first R&B artist to have a crossover hit featuring a rapper, with “I Feel for You” in 1984. Khan has won ten Grammy Awards and has sold an estimated 70 million records worldwide.
In the course of her solo career, Khan has achieved three gold singles, three gold albums and one platinum album with I Feel for You. With Rufus, she achieved four gold singles, four gold albums, and two platinum albums. She has collaborated with Ry Cooder, Robert Palmer, Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Guru, Chicago, De la Soul, Mary J. Blige, among others. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 65th most successful dance artist of all time. She was ranked at number 17 in VH1‘s original list of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll. She has been nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice; she was first nominated as member of Rufus in 2011.
1973–1978: Early career with Rufus
In 1973, Rufus signed with ABC Records and released their eponymous debut album. Despite their fiery rendition of Stevie Wonder‘s “Maybe Your Baby” from Wonder’s acclaimed Talking Book and the modest success of the Chaka-led ballad “Whoever’s Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)”, the album failed to gain attention. That changed when Wonder himself collaborated with the group on a song he had written for Khan. That song, “Tell Me Something Good“, became the group’s breakthrough hit, reaching number-three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, later winning the group their first Grammy Award. The single’s success and the subsequent follow-up, “You Got the Love“, which peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, helped their second parent album, Rags to Rufus, go platinum, selling over a million copies. From 1974 to 1979, Rufus released six platinum-selling albums including Rufusized, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, Ask Rufus, Street Player and Masterjam. Hits the group scored during this time included “Once You Get Started,” “Sweet Thing,” “Hollywood,” “At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up),” and “Do You Love What You Feel.”
The band gained a reputation as a live performing act, with Khan becoming the star attraction, thanks to her powerful vocals and stage attire—which sometimes included Native American garb and showing her midriff. Most of the band’s material was written and produced by the band itself with few exceptions. Khan has also been noted for being an instrumentalist playing drums and bass; she also provided percussion during her tenure with Rufus. Most of her compositions were collaborations with guitarist Tony Maiden. Relations between Khan and the group, particularly between her and Andre Fischer, became stormy. Several members left with nearly every release. While Khan remained in the group, she signed a solo contract with Warner Bros. Records in 1978. While Khan was busy at work on solo material, Rufus released three albums without her participation including 1979’s Numbers, 1980’s Party ‘Til You’re Broke, and 1983’s Seal in Red.
1978–1983: Early solo career and final years with Rufus
In 1978, Warner Bros. Records released Khan’s solo debut album, which featured the crossover disco hit, “I’m Every Woman“, written for her by singers-songwriters Ashford & Simpson. The success of the single helped the album go platinum, selling over a million copies. Khan also featured on Quincy Jones‘s hit, “Stuff Like That”, also released in 1978, which also featured Ashford & Simpson as co-writers, along with Jones and several others. Ashford & Simpson performed with Khan on the song.
In 1979, Khan reunited with Rufus to collaborate on the Jones-produced Masterjam, which featured their hit “Do You Love What You Feel“, which Khan sang with Tony Maiden. Despite her sometimes-acrimonious relationship with some of her bandmates, Khan and Maiden have maintained a friendship over the years. In 1979 she also dueted with Ry Cooder on his album Bop Till You Drop. In 1980, while Rufus released Party ‘Til You’re Broke, again without Khan, she released her second solo album, Naughty, which featured her on the cover with her six-year-old daughter Milini. The album yielded the disco hit “Clouds” and the R&B ballad “Papillon”.
Also in 1980, Khan had a cameo appearance as a church choir soloist in The Blues Brothers starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. Khan released two albums in 1981, the Rufus release, Camouflage and the solo album What Cha’ Gonna Do for Me. The latter album went gold. The same year, Khan appeared on three tracks on Rick Wakeman‘s concept album 1984. In 1982, Khan issued two more solo albums, the jazz-oriented Echoes of an Era and a more funk/pop-oriented self-titled album Chaka Khan. The latter album’s track, the jazz-inflected “Be Bop Medley”, won Khan a Grammy and earned praise from jazz singer Betty Carter who loved Khan’s vocal scatting in the song.
In 1983, following the release of Rufus’s final studio album, Seal in Red, which did not feature Khan, the singer returned with Rufus on a live album, Stompin’ at the Savoy – Live, which featured the studio single, “Ain’t Nobody“, which became the group’s final charting success reaching number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B chart, while also reaching the top ten in the United Kingdom. Following this release, Rufus separated for good.
1984–1996: Solo success
In 1984, Khan released her sixth studio album, I Feel for You. The title track, the first single released, was originally written and recorded by Prince in 1979 and had also been recorded by The Pointer Sisters and Rebbie Jackson. Khan’s version featured a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder and an introductory rap by Grandmaster Melle Mel. It became a million-selling smash in the U.S. and United Kingdom and helped to relaunch Khan’s career. “I Feel for You” topped not only the U.S. R&B and dance charts, but achieved great success on the U.S. pop chart and reached No. 1 in the U.K. The song reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1984 and remained on that chart for 26 weeks, well into 1985. Additionally, it hit No. 1 on the Cash Box chart. It was listed as Billboard′s No. 5 song for 1985 and netted Prince the 1985 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. In addition to the song’s successful radio airplay and sales, a music video of Khan with breakdancers in an inner-city setting enjoyed heavy rotation on television and helped to solidify Khan’s notoriety in popular culture.
Other singles that helped the I Feel For You album go platinum included “This is My Night” and the ballad “Through the Fire“, the latter of which was also successful on the adult contemporary chart. Khan was featured in Steve Winwood‘s 1986 number-one hit, “Higher Love“. That same year, a duet was planned with Robert Palmer for the song “Addicted To Love“. However, her manager declined to release the duet, citing the desire to not have too much product from her in the marketplace at one time. She was still credited for the vocal arrangements in the album’s liner notes, and the song became an international hit. Khan followed up the success of the I Feel For You album with 1986’s Destiny and 1988’s CK. Khan found more success in the late 1980s with a remix album, Life Is a Dance: The Remix Project, which reached the top ten on the British albums chart. As a result, she performed regularly in the U.K., where she maintained a strong fan base.
In 1990, she was a featured performer on another major hit when she collaborated with Ray Charles and Quincy Jones on a new jack swing cover of The Brothers Johnson‘s “I’ll Be Good to You“, which was featured on Jones’s Back on the Block. The song reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the R&B chart, later winning her and Ray Charles a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance By a Duo or Group. Khan returned with her first studio album in four years in 1992 with the release of The Woman I Am, which was a success due to the R&B songs “Love You All My Lifetime” and “You Can Make the Story Right”.
Khan also contributed to soundtracks and worked on a follow-up to The Woman I Am she titled Dare You to Love Me, which was eventually shelved. In 1995, she and rapper Guru had a hit with the duet “Watch What You Say”, in the U.K. That same year, she provided a contemporary R&B cover of the classic standard, “My Funny Valentine“, for the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. In 1996, following the release of her greatest-hits album, Epiphany: The Best of Chaka Khan, Vol. 1, Khan abruptly left Warner Bros. after stating the label had neglected her and failed to release Dare You to Love Me.
Rufus & Chaka Khan – Sweet Thing
Chaka Khan and Rufus – Tell me something Good (RE-MASTERED) Official Video HD
Chaka Khan – Through the fire
Chaka Khan – I Feel for You (1984)
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