And now, for the second half of the Chaka Khan/Rufus two-fer that I’ve cued up for today, you just knew it had to be “Tell Me Something Good.”
Stevie Wonder was apparently so hot, so gifted, and brimming with so much confidence, that he gave this song away to Rufus. He had been an admirer of the band, and of Khan, after hearing them perform his song “Maybe Your Baby.” So confident was Stevie that the song was right for them, he reportedly taught Khan how to sing the song in the key he had written it in. So gifted was Chaka, she nailed her vocal in one take.
The song is also notable as one of the earliest recordings to use the guitar talk box, which you can hear in response to the lines in the second verse.
The song has become something of a pop and R&B standard. It has been covered dozens of times, has shown up in television shows, and has even been used as an audition song for reality television singing competitions. But no version has ever been as good as the original. And it all happened because Stevie Wonder just happened to be around when Rufus was working on their second album and had a song to give away; one that he might have had a hit with himself, so popular he was at that time.
Enjoy this Flashback Friday, and have a great weekend!