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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

Comments

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Love me some Rufus and Chaka. She was always in a class by herself.
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Love this song!
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Great voice and beautiful lady. Got all her jams
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You run rings around these fool diva you have a soulful sweet spirit,plus have a rocking body pipe off the chain ...sing baby sing!:o)
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Love with My Majesty is strong and Divine That's the bottom Line
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So call musicians are mixing and rewriting old songs as their own. Some good, some songs are better as originals.
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That is right- "CHICAGO " is at it again and will never stop. Go head Chaka !!!!!!!!
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Love , Tell me something good. Since I first heard the song as a kid. Will forever love it!
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CHAKA WAS SO TUFF
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My music of the 70's , just love flowing out of every sentence of the songs that were written, not like today. Where and when did we go wrong??
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My girl Chaka is the TRUTH!
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I dedicate this song to all who value love! Weather you are in love or are in pursuit of finding it! Never forget its beauty in your life! Peace!
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Awesome
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Little diva you my sweet thing you wake up with another day refresh in life,love,ha p p i n e s s so sending you hugs and kisses everyday,unt i l reach and touch you beautiful face.
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dragonlady60 8 8
My fave chaka. And rufus...the Best. Funk !!"
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Oh. Yeah !!!!!
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Love this song!
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My love Yvette Marie Stevens
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Beautiful melody and awesome rhythm with a nice mellow feel for tone and quality of harmonic tones very groovy beat with sounds of PEACE and LOVE.
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Awesome sound!!!!
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80' Babe love it
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Love this song!!!!
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There is no other like Chaka!
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jharvey8411
I love Chaka Khan!
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209ricm
Do you love what u feel
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beautyofnatu r e . l g
Go Chaka! You are such a powerful woman!
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The best.
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Chaka defiinitely laid it down for my deneration !
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I really loved that. Woman. Glad I can go back and reminisce on Pandora. Still would have been great to have lyrics.
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CAN YOU PLEASE RETURN THE SONG LYRICS FOR EACH SONG?????!!! ! ! ! !
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jtthomas3007 0
Great song
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Chaka has a voice like NO other
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Oh yea ! Chaka was the it girl. .so bad. One of a kind..
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Just Good Soul Soothing Music
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What I got will set your stuff on fire, Tell Me Something Good! tell me that you like it
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Yes,YES, YES, AND YES AGAIN- she is from the CHI- we at it again. Tell me that you love me, tell me something good, - Chaka a bad sister form the SOUTHSIDE of Chicago. #1 The Chi - will always tell you something GOOD! ❗️����✅����� 1
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured(but you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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God bless you always your friend Raymond Johnson from Glendale, Arizona
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You are my heat you are my fire you make me weak with strong desire.. I just want to satisfy you though you're not mine I can't deny
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SUPER LOVE...�����
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I wanna dance all night
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SHE. SAT. THEE. BAR. HIGH. PERIOD. REAL ARTIST. STEP. UP
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mina.gnzl
Hells yeah. Awesome song.
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209ricm
Bad jamm
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dragonlady60 8 8
anothet amazong singer chaka.....
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This is a jam
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nrivers16
As much as I miss u
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Great song. Love Chaka.
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Still get all fired up when I hear this jam !!!! Automatic dance song with the prettiest girl in the club
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Tell me what happened to true black artistry???? The feeling isn't apart of our lexicon anymore. Or, at least not to this degree.
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