On this day in music history: October 15, 1983 – “Ain’t Nobody” by Rufus & Chaka Khan hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #22 on the Hot 100 on December 3, 1983. Written by David “Hawk” Wolinski, it is the fifth and final chart topper for the veteran R&B band fronted by lead singer Chaka Khan. Originally a member of the Chicago based garage band Shadows Of Knight (“Gloria”), Wolinski joins Rufus as a second keyboardist in 1978, after working as a side musician for Minnie Riperton. He quickly becomes a major creative force within the band, writing (or co-writing) several hits including “Hollywood”, “Everlasting Love”, “Street Player”, “Any Love” and the chart topping “Do You Love What You Feel”. He comes up with the initial idea for “Ain’t Nobody” in 1982 while working with musician Michael Sembello. The song had been considered for inclusion on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album when the songwriter offers it to Jackson’s producer Quincy Jones. Rufus’ producer Russ Titelman convinces Wolinski to hold on to the song. Rufus records it with Chaka Khan as one of four new studio recordings on their final album “Stompin’ At The Savoy”. Another unique characteristic of the record is its drum pattern, played both by drummer John Robinson (live drums) and by keyboardist Wolinski on a Linn LM-1 drum machine. Not wanting to play it with a straight 4/4 time signature, the pair create the songs’ distinctive syncopated rhythm. “Ain’t Nobody” earns Rufus their second Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals in 1984. The song is also featured prominently in the film and on the soundtrack of “Breakin’” in 1984.
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