Classic Corner Track 5

CHAKA KHAN

To paraphrase an important person who said something interesting at one time: “music is emotion; that is all”. I am beginning to understand that more and more these days. You can look at music as a combination of notes and melodies arranged in a structure that is pleasing to the ear, but a more general and universal definition would be the expression of the human experience through sound.

It is my hope that with each classic, and current, track posted here on TheBeatCorner.com a different experience, emotion or memory can be evoked by you, the reader.

This week, a memory of my own was created during the Sydney Festival when I got to witness a live performance by the one and only Queen of Funk, Chaka Khan!  Since a friend of mine suggested we go in the first place, and because his birthday was this week, I am dedicating this week’s Classic Track to Aravind!

Today’s classic track comes straight from the neon-soaked, shoulder-pad wearing, delorean-driivng decade of the 1980’s. It is a comeback tale of Chicago native Chaka Khan who dominated the funk scene of the 70’s, to find herself reinventing her sound and embracing the new urban sounds of hip-hop in the 80’s. “I Feel For You” was released in 1984 as the self-titled track of her album of the same name.

This song has quite a history. It was originally composed by Prince, yes that Prince, in 1979. It has since been covered by such artists as The Pointer Sisters and Rebbie Jackson. Chaka’s version has since become famous due to the infamous Melle Mel’s scratching of “Chaka-Caka-Chaka-Chaka-Khan, Chaka Khan” at the beginning of the track. In fact, the Melle Mel scratch was originally a mistake put in by producer Arif Mardin, who sampled Mel’s own song “Step Off”. To top it off, Chaka’s version has guitar work from David Frank, from the influential 80’s RnB group The System, and a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder, yes THAT Stevie Wonder!

Although Chaka has gone on record to say that she did not like the song at first (she reportedly hated her name being said at the beginning of the track) and only slightly tolerates it today, she cannot deny the new audience it granted her in the 80’s and allowed a new generation to check out what the Chaka Khan experience was all about. It might have even contributed to her STILL performing today, and sounding amazing as witnessed by myself this week. You don’t find many performers in their 60’s that can belt out a tune like she can, hell you can’t find many performers FULL STOP that can perform like she can today!

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To my readers, and to Aravind, enjoy this week’s Classic Track “I Feel for You” by Chaka Khan.

 

Also, check out later this week when I post the conclusion to my 4-part series on DJ Software reviews!

 

Till then, thanks for the corner chat.

– DJ BRUAEL

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