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Rufus & Chaka Khan

One of the most commercially successful funk groups of the '70s, the multi-racial Rufus are today best remembered for launching the career of soul diva Chaka Khan, whose fiery lead vocals were easily the band's focal point. Powered by Khan -- who was eventually billed in addition to the group -- and an unerring sense of groove, Rufus scored an impressive string of hit singles on both the pop and R&B charts, which lasted through the '70s and up to Khan's official departure in 1983.

Rufus grew out of the Chicago band the American Breed, which had a hit in 1968 with the oldies-radio staple "Bend Me, Shape Me." Guitarist Al Ciner, bassist Chuck Colbert, drummer Lee Graziano, and keyboardist Kevin Murphy had all played in the band at one time or another before forming a new group, originally called Smoke, with vocalists Paulette McWilliams and James Stella. Stella was quickly replaced by lead vocalist/songwriter/keyboardist Ron Stockert, and Colbert by bassist Dennis Belfield; the group changed its name to Ask Rufus, which was later shortened to Rufus. In 1972, drummer Andre Fischer -- another former American Breed member -- replaced Graziano, and a young female vocalist named Chaka Khan (born Yvette Marie Stevens) replaced McWilliams. Although Khan's dynamic stage presence helped this version of the band take off, Stockert was still the guiding force when they signed with ABC in 1973, and he lent a more pop/rock flavor to the group's self-titled debut, released later that year.

Although the album sold poorly, Rufus gained a fan in Stevie Wonder thanks to their cover of his "Maybe Your Baby." Wonder gave them a new composition, the slowly grinding "Tell Me Something Good," that he'd written specifically with Khan's vocal style in mind. Pulled as a single from their second album, 1974's Rags to Rufus, "Tell Me Something Good" was a Top Five smash that turned Khan into a star; she also co-wrote the R&B chart-topping follow-up, "You Got the Love." Clearly, the band had found its niche, and a number of personnel shifts ensued: Stockert left, Belfield was replaced by Bobby Watson, and Ciner was replaced by Tony Maiden. Their funk sensibility thus bolstered, Rufus returned with a strong new album before year's end, Rufusized, which spawned two more hits in "Once You Get Started" and "Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me of a Friend)." The billing on 1975's Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan made the singer's star power official, and produced one of the group's biggest hits in the R&B number one "Sweet Thing." Dave "Hawk" Wolinski joined as a second keyboardist for 1977's mellower Ask Rufus (the hit was "At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)"), and William "Moon" Calhoun replaced drummer Fischer on 1978's Street Player.

Following the release of Street Player, Khan made what was perhaps an inevitable move into solo recording with the release of her debut, Chaka; despite scoring a significant hit with "I'm Every Woman," she remained an official member of Rufus. Still, the band's next album, Numbers, was recorded without her, and upon its release in 1979, it stiffed. Khan was back on board later that year for Masterjam, produced by Quincy Jones, and the band (featuring new drummer John "J.R." Robinson) was back on top of the R&B charts with "Do You Love What You Feel." However, Khan split again for 1980's Party 'Til You're Broke, and although she returned for 1981's Camouflage, Rufus' chart fortunes were slipping away. The George Duke-produced, Khan-less Seal in Red bombed, but Khan returned for one last go-round on 1983's Stompin' at the Savoy, a double-record set featuring three sides of live material and one side of new studio recordings. One of those new songs, "Ain't Nobody," became Rufus' final number one R&B hit, and also won a Grammy, allowing the group to end its career on a high note. Her contract up, Khan finally left for good afterwards and became a superstar thanks to a cover of Prince's "I Feel for You." ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Stompin' At The Savoy (Live)

Disc 1

1. You Got The Love (Live)

4. Sweet Thing (Live)

5. Tell Me Something Good (Live)

6. You're Welcome, Stop On By (Live)

7. Pack'd My Bags (Live)

Disc 2

1. Ain't That Peculiar (Live)

2. Stay (Live)

3. What Cha' Gonna Do For Me (Live)

4. Do You Love What You Feel (Live)

5. Ain't Nobody (Live)

6. One Million Kisses (Live)

7. Try A Little Understanding (Live)

8. Don't Go To Strangers (Live)

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan

1. Do You Love What You Feel

2. Tell Me Something Good

3. Dance Wit Me

4. Hollywood

5. Stay

6. Once You Get Started

7. You Got The Love

8. At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up)

9. Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me Of A Friend)

10. Sweet Thing

x

Track List: Master Jam

1. Do You Love What You Feel

2. Any Love

3. Heaven Bound

4. Walk The Rockway

5. Live In Me

6. Body Heat

7. I'm Dancing For Your Love

8. What Am I Missing?

9. Master Jam

x

Track List: Street Player

1. Street Player

2. Stay

3. Turn

4. Best Of Your Heart

5. Finale

6. Blue Love

7. Stranger To Love

8. Take Time

9. Destiny

10. Change Your Ways

x

Track List: Ask Rufus

1. At Midnight

2. Close The Door

3. Medley (Slow Screw Against The Wall / A Flat Fry)

4. Earth Song

5. Everlasting

6. Hollywood

7. Magic In Your Eyes

8. Better Days

9. Egyptian Song

x

Track List: Rufusized

1. Once You Get Started

2. Somebody's Watching You

3. Pack'd My Bags

4. Your Smile

5. Refusized

6. I'm A Woman

7. Right Is Right

8. Half Moon

9. Please Pardon Me

10. Stop On By

Comments

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Yes
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No
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SweetThing
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Wheewww
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RIP Teena
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Chaka will always be my girl i just love her
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moleculematt
Tell me something good chaka khan.
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Sing it girl. RIP Teena
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We need more song like this love songs feels the soul my sweet thing
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charmania1
Did Chaska leave on good terms with Rufus? Always hoped for a reunion.
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Sweet~Thing ~~~~~~
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Been waiting for this song
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lizabdiaz
♡♡♡
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lizabdiaz
Close♡♡
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Q.........ka y
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Love this sound
Chaka Klan is a fantastic musician : )
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lizabdiaz
The best ♡♡♡♡♡
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I love some Chakakhan
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Chaka is just phenomenal !!!
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ANYTHING CHAKA KHAN SINGS GETS MY ATTENTION
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corr08
Love me some Chaka!! Sing it girlfriend! ... love me now or I'll go crazy - no body and I mean no body has that voice. Sing Chaka!!!
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The late great Prince wrote this song and to the beautiful voice Ms Chaka Khan Sweet Thing.
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paigealexisg r e e n
Sweet thing is one of my all time favorites.
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bsaunders225
Love love forever..... . . g o o d memories
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Release what you feel inside baby baby baby sooo fine!!!
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I ADORE THIS SONG!!!??
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Please you stay!!
Nice song
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I wish you are my lover!!
Nice!!
Your everything I need!
Like a flower need to water it always.
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Love my old songs @ just hesl my soul love it!!!!!!!
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Love it!!!
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Her voice is sooo amazing!! I love me some Queen Chaka!!
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She will always be the Queen of funk!!! I can never get enough of CHAKA KHAN!!!
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One of the best songs
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hey!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! n o w
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Love me some chaka Khan !!!
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That was a jam back in the days
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I miss the era of the 70s and 80s music.
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~(fun fact)~ Ain't Nobody is Chaka Khan's favorite song from her catalog! (Per her autobiograph y book this here is her JAM, lol).
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Don't cha know you my everything.
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Love me my Chaka!!!
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Sweet Cut....yeah it's ah A-TOWN CLASSIC N IT GOTTA BE AH WORLD WIDE CLASSIC!!!!C H I - T O W N WHUT'S UP!!!!
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NICE -((OH SWEET THING))
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Oh...sweet thang! I'm straight jammin!
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Sweet Thang; Chaka Khan.
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Everlasting love
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cathyrobinso n 7 3 8
What a gift fromGOD!!!
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Been there just listened to her it goes for men too
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Let is. Despite politicians' controversie s .
HONOR VETERANS. ADMINISTRATI O N MEDICAL CENTERS USA TERRITORIES!
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Yes. U are
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I love this song....soot h e s my Heart qi!! Great for the spirit.
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