On this day in music history: November 17, 1982 – “Chaka Khan”, the fourth solo album by Chaka Khan is released. Produced by Arif Mardin, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios in New York City from Summer – Fall 1982. Issued as the official follow up to “What’cha Gonna Do For Me” (having also recorded the jazz standards album “Echoes of An Era” in the interim), the album features musical support from musicians such as Michael Brecker, Hamish Stuart, Will Lee, Joe Henderson, Anthony Jackson and also features Rick James on “Slow Dancin’”. It spins off two singles including her cover of the Michael Jackson classic “Got To Be There” (#5 R&B, #67 Pop) and “Tearin’ It Up” (#48 R&B). The track “Be Bop Medley” wins Khan and Mardin a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Arrangement for Two or More Voices, and Chaka picks up a second Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for the entire album in 1984. The album makes its CD debut in 1991, when it is released by Warner Music Japan. It is currently in print as part of the box set “Chaka Khan – Original Album Series” released by Warner Music Group UK in 2009. “Chaka Khan” peaks at number five on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number fifty two on the Top 200.
On this day in music history: November 3, 1984 – “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #3 on the Hot 100 on November 24, 1984. Written by Prince, it is the third solo chart topper and biggest hit for the legendary R&B vocalist. Originally recorded by Prince in 1979, it is the first single from Khan’s fifth album. Producer Arif Mardin uses musicians such as Reggie Griffin (bass) David Frank of The System (keyboards and guitar), Stevie Wonder (harmonica), and Grandmaster Melle Mel (rap) on the track. The stuttering intro heard on the front of the record was initially a mistake, when the producer is “flying in” Melle Mel’s sampled vocals on to the beginning of the multi-track master tape. When he accidentally hits repeat on the digital sampler, the songs trademark “Chaka–Chaka–Chaka–Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan. Chaka Khan” comes out of the studio monitors. Mardin likes it so much, that he’ll leave it as it is. Khan initially is not fond of the rap on the intro, being embarrassed by hearing her own name repeated throughout. Mardin reassures her that it is a key element of the song (telling Chaka, “don’t worry my dear, it will be a hit.”), and it remains on the finished track. Prince himself was supposed to play on the record but scheduling conflicts prevent him from participating in the sessions. At the time of its release, the song is one of the most expensive singles ever recorded, due to the complexity of the production, and time spent in the studio working on the basic track. The Hip Hop flavored music video featuring dancers Adolfo “Shabba-Doo” Quinones and Michael “Boogaloo Shrimp” Chambers (“Breakin’) also play an important role in the records’ huge success. Chaka Khan’s version of "I Feel For You” wins two Grammy Awards including Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, and Best R&B Song in 1985. “I Feel For You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 1, 1984 – “I Feel For You”, the fifth album by Chaka Khan is released. Produced by Arif Mardin and David Foster, it is recorded at Atlantic Studios, Greene Street Recording Studios, Daily Planet Studios, Chelsea Sound Studios, Clinton Recording Studios, and First Choice Studios in New York City, Bill Schnee Studio, Lion Share Recording Studios, Lighthouse Recorders, Music Grinders Studios, Soundworks Digital, Bossa Nova Hotel Studios in Los Angeles, CA, A&M Studios and Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA from Early – Mid 1984. Following the modest sales of her self-titled 1982 album, Warner Bros Records pressures the singer to come up with a major hit record for the follow up. Working closely with her longtime producer Arif Mardin, she does just that. Khan’s cover of Prince’s “I Feel For You” (#1 R&B, #3 Pop) becomes the biggest hit of her solo career, earning her a Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female in 1985. The album features a group of top flight studio players including Steve Lukather (Toto), Michael Sembello, Dan Huff (guitars), David Frank (keyboards), Mic Murphy (backing vocals) and Paul Pesco (guitar) of The System, Khan’s former Rufus band mates John Robinson (drums), Tony Maiden (guitar) and David “Hawk” Wolinski (keyboards), Nathan East, Reggie Griffin (bass), former Average White Band members Steve Ferrone (drums) and Hamish Stuart (guitar, backing vocals), and David Foster (keyboards). It also spins off two further singles, “Through The Fire” (#15 R&B, #60 Pop, #16 AC) and “This Is My Night (#11 R&B, #60 Pop). "I Feel For You” peaks at number two on the Billboard R&B album chart, number sixteen on the Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.