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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

Smooth soul....:)
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Bubble gum
Stoke the grill bring out the cards yhe dominos chill
BOZ SCAGGS LOW DOWN PUT U ON THE MAP THAK YOU THIS SONG SMILE..
CHANKA KHAN IS A ANGEL OF MINE LOVE YOU LOVE ALL YOUR MUSIC FROM HYDE PARK TO HOLLYWOOD. COME BACK TO CHICAGO MUCH U CAN WE LOVE YOU SMILE...
sweeeeet thaaaaang
Chaka Khan is a frickn bad a**
Boogaloo Shrimp!!!! Breakin' loved that flick
Chaka, Chaka, Chaka...this girl and Chaka Khan were the s**t back in the 80's I have always loved her voice and the way she performed in concert. She still looks and sounds great today!
venishabutle r . 8 3
Chaka Khan is legendary! (This song makes me want to go watch Love & Basketball. One of the best movie soundtracks ever!)
What yhaw know about this
Respect the Queen....... . #BowDown
Love those funky times
WOMAN can melt a man heart
hrs1953
Gospel
These songs r what love is...
That my girl Chaka......
On a cold winter night 3 o'clock in the morning nothing like Chaka Khan Wow
The smoothness of Funk, great Song!!
THANK U L.T.D FOR LETTING JEFFERY OSBOURNE DO HIS THING HE HAVE A SEXXY VOICE ON ALL HIS MUSIC SMILE... LOVE BALLARD AND WHERE DID GO WRONG ITS LOVE KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK....
R.I.P MICHEAL JACKSON THANK U FOR YOUR MUSIC U ALWAYS GOING BE THE KING OF POP. AND YOUR BROTHERS ALSO.. REBBIE, LOTONYA, AND BEAUITFUL MS. JANET SMILE..
THANK U CHICAGO GIVING CHAKA KHAN HONORS IN CHICAGO LAST SUMMER SHE DESERVE IT. I LOVE YOUR SONG ANGEL AND ALL YOUR MUSIC SMILE...
CHAKA KHAN CHICAGO OWN LOVE YOU - YOU ARE MY ANGEL OF SOUL MUSIC SMILE...
I love this song
LOVE this song oooh baby
Love this song I wish I could go back in time love the 80's
One of the best Ole Skool Jams!
Yep I can dig it.
I can dig it!
Responsible for one of the biggest dance songs of the 70's. ONCE YOU GET STARTED!
alohakghi
Another name to add to a long list of people Stevie Wonder helped by writing them a huge hit when they needed a boost. Just ask Smokey Robinson,'Te a r s of a Clown.' Third World, 'Try Jah Love.' Michael Jackson, 'I Can't Help It,' etc...
Saw Betty in Richmond va A nite to remember. Joyce
Slap it up (Hi5's) Yall
Lol.
All of the above!!!!! I can digit
Perfect music for early Sunday am
Sista can blow then & now!! What anybody know bout rufus... Hard classic... Stay stayah..
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