This Day in 1984: Chaka Khan Breaks With “I Feel For You”
32 years ago today, Chaka Khan’s cover of a 1979 Prince track began its breakthrough beyond the R&B charts and onto the Billboard Hot 100, a voyage which would ultimately take it all the way to the #3 spot.
Recorded by Prince for his 1979 debut album, “I Feel For You” was actually written for Patrice Rushen originally, but she rejected it. Others were less picky, however: the Pointer Sisters recorded a version of the track in 1982 for their So Excited album, and only a few months earlier in 1984, Rebbie Jackson had tackled the song for her Centipede album, the title track of which was a hit in its own right.
Chaka Khan’s version, however, was definitely the most talent-packed take on the track, with Stevie Wonder providing harmonica and Melle Mel, best known for his work with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, rapping on the song. On top of that, it was produced by Arif Mardin, a legend in his own right.
In addition to “I Feel For You” hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, the song also topped the UK Singles chart and US Hot Dance Club Play and Hot Black Singles charts. More importantly, though, it brought Chaka Khan back to the pop charts, setting her up for a brand new chapter in her career. Needless to say, she was pretty grateful to Prince for his song.