Chaka Khan, despite the menacing name, is an easy artist to appreciate. I grew up listening to a lot of adult contemporary on the radio, at least until my teenage years, when I discovered the joys of post-grunge adult alternative, and during my childhood I was most familiar with her solo songs like “Through The Fire,” “I Feel For You,” “I’m Every Woman,” and her duet with Peter Cetera , “Feels Like Heaven,” all of which are great songs. It wasn’t until much later, though, that I became familiar with her work with the band Rufus, which included some fantastic songs as well, especially the sultry “Tell Me Something Good,” a song which I think is a fantastic example of classic 70’s funk. Unfortunately, the history of the band Rufus was full of drama and hostility, and there were plenty of unsuccessful attempts by the band to make good albums without Chaka Khan that flopped terribly, even as the on-again, off-again history of the band meant that Chaka Khan didn’t quite release enough solo albums for her to be an obvious snub for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, although Rugus Featuring Chaka Khan has been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The Influence Of Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
Given the complicated nature of Rufus’ and Chaka Khan’s album releases, we will examine both Chaka Khan’s group and solo album releases as well as the Rufus releases without her as part of one giant set of material to serve as an influence, because I don’t feel like trying to untangle the mess of her discography. At any rate, Rufus was a massively important act in funk and disco, with a couple of Grammy awards to go along with the hit singles and albums. On her own, Chaka Khan’s music has been immensely influential as well, being a mainstay on quiet storm and adult contemporary through the 1980’s, being covered by acts like Whitney Houston, and serving as samples for artists as recent as Kanye West, who made use of her hit “Through The Fire.” When you can influence artists of the caliber of Whitney Houston and Kanye West along with laying down two decades worth of amazing tracks and making memorable hits alongside a band as well as the great Peter Cetera, you are truly doing something very right in the music business, and for all of the drama involving her bandmates, Chaka Khan is clearly a worthy member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with the original members of Rufus.
Why Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan Belongs In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
When one looks at the careers of Rufus and Chaka Khan, whether together or apart, one notices a lot of successful albums and hit singles. Let us go through the record rather briefly here. As a group, Rufus had three top tens and seven additional top 40 hits on the pop charts, as well as a total of 5 #1 hits on the R&B charts, including such smashes as “Tell Me Something Good,” “You Got The Love,” “Once You Get Started,” “Sweet Thing,” “At Midnight (My Love Will Lift You Up),” “Do You Love What You Feel,” and “Ain’t Nobody.” In addition, the group managed to rack up four gold and two platinum albums during its 70’s heyday . As a solo artist, Chaka Khan has had three gold albums (one of them a compilation) and one platinum album and has had three top 40 hits (including the aforementioned “Ain’t Nobody”) on her own besides a few hit compilations. Her songs have been great as a solo artist, but it’s probably not enough not for her to get inducted as a solo artist unless the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame gets a lot friendly to female acts.
Why Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan Isn’t In The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame
I really don’t know. Especially when one looks at the whole body of work of Rufus and Chaka Khan, the induction of these people seems really obvious, no matter how little they like each other at this point. There are plenty of worthy groups that had some undeniable hits and major influence on music but had a lot of drama, and there is no question that Chaka Khan is a presence that deserves the recognition and honor of being in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Whether or not she is ever inducted as a solo act, it is a gross injustice that she is not inducted at all.
Verdict: Put her in, maybe not this year, but certainly at some point soon.