Thursday, May 18, 2017

"I Feel for You" by Chaka Khan

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Grammy Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  2043
Date:  09/08/1984
Debut:  73
Peak:  3
Weeks:  26
Genre:  R&B, Dance

Pop Bits:  With her old band Rufus now solidly in her rear view mirror, Khan was free to restart her solo career. For her sixth album, Khan retained producer Arif Mardin, who had produced her self-titled 1982 album. With a big list of A-list musicians backing her, Khan recorded the song for I Feel for You. The title track was then selected as the LP's first single. It would easily become the biggest single of her career going to #3 Pop, #1 R&B, and #1 Dance. It was also a hit overseas hitting the Top 10 in many countries and #1 in the UK. The hit raised her profile significantly and it seemed that Khan was headed for superstar status. Oddly, this would end up being her last major hit at Pop. She would never be able to get a song in the top half of the chart again. She continued to chart over the years at R&B, but only managed to eke out three Top 10's in the late 80s/early 90s. Regardless, this smash hit got her a worldwide audience and became one of the most memorable songs of the decade.

ReduxReview:  While this certainly wasn't the first pop-dance-R&B song to incorporate rap, I do think it was an influential one. It merged the styles of music perfectly and demonstrated what could be done. It also showed that a song with rap influences could be a major hit. The song was just brilliant and it is one of the rare instances where Prince was outdone on one of his own songs. The rap, production, Stevie's harmonica, and Khan's voice all worked together to create an iconic 80s moment. It still sounds great and people still imitate the opening (much to the dismay of Khan, who still gets bombarded by imitators...).


Trivia:  Triple Shot!  1) This song earned Khan a second Grammy in the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance category. It would also win for Best R&B Song with that award going to the song's writer...  2) ...Prince. This was actually a remake of a song Prince wrote and recorded for his self-titled 1979 album. He originally wrote the song specifically for Patrice Rushen to use, but she ended up rejecting the tune. Khan was not the first artist to cover the song. The Pointer Sisters did a version of it for their 1982 album So Excited! R&B singer Mary Wells recorded the song in 1983 for an album titled I'm a Lady: The Old, New & Best of Mary Wells, but the song didn't make the final cut. It was later included as a bonus track on a 1987 CD reissue of the LP.  3) A couple of guest stars are apparent on the track. Right off the top is Melle Mel doing a rap that became very famous. Apparently, Khan didn't know a rap was going to be included. She performed her vocals, left, and then later producer Mardin played her the track with the rap. She didn't like it. Especially the part where her name was repeated over and over. Luckily, Mardin convinced her that it would work and the memorable rap helped to make the song a hit. Also heard is Stevie Wonder. He supplied the harmonica solo.


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