Throwback: Rufus And Chaka Khan-Ain’t Nobody

Rufus and Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” was the lead single from their live 1983 album Stompin’ at the Savoy. The song was one of four studio recordings on the double . The band’s keyboardist David “Hawk” Wolinski wrote “Ain’t Nobody” and told the label executives if they did not release it as the first single he would give it to Quincy Jones for Michael Jackson’s Thriller album. Rufus and Chaka Khan previous work defined funk and soul in the ’70s and “Ain’t Nobody” was a sketch of ’80s music because of its widespread presence in pop culture. By this time Khan had six solo albums and the live album with Rufus would be their last collaboration. Khan’s career as a solo artist had kicked off in 1978 with the 1978 Ashford and Simpson hit “I’m Every Woman.” She returned to Rufus to fulfill her contractual obligations and “Ain’t Nobody” would be their last success together. As she continued to have popularity as a solo star, people would forget that “Ain’t Nobody” was recorded with Rufus and it became an important part of her live shows. Training Day director Antoine Fuqua helmed the video for “Ain’t Nobody.” 

The song also appeared on the soundtrack to the popular hip-hop movie Breakin’ which was a prelude to her first interaction with rap music.  In 1984, she covered Prince’s “I Feel For You” with rapper Melle Mel and Stevie Wonder and it relaunched her solo presence and made gave her entrance into the pop world. LL Cool J, Jaki Graham, Mary J. Blige and Diana King have recorded their version of “Ain’t Nobody.” 

In 2019, Chaka Khan’s 13th album Hello Happiness was released. In 2020, she appeared on The Masked Singer and sang the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game. Khan also released Homecoming a new live album of her performing her hit songs at the Harris Theatre in her Chicago hometown.  

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