The best known version of this song features a rapper, one of the icons of R&B, and one of the greatest female singers of R&B/soul music. The other version just so happens to have been written and performed by none other than Prince.
Today’s 80’s Mania Monday song is “I Feel For You” by Chaka Khan.
“I Feel For You” is Chaka Khan’s biggest solo hit, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and staying there for three weeks. It also was her biggest pop hit as well, landing at #3 and also staying in that position for three weeks. As many people know, her version of the song has become iconic: with rapper Grandmaster Melle Mel (from Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five) repeating Chaka’s name through his rap verses; and one brief, but very memorable harmonica solo from none other than Stevie Wonder. Throw in some souped-up electronic percussion, some hot bass licks from Reggie Griffin and a production with hip-hop touches (at least hip-hop in 1984), and you have your classic hit.
Most people also know that Chaka spent time with the band Rufus, collecting a ton of R&B hits and the occasional pop hit with them. What many people may not know is that Chaka’s biggest hit was written by Prince and his version was released in 1979 on his second album. The song was never released as a single but has remained influential for decades.
Prince’s catalog was recently returned to most of the streaming services, but there are no official videos of his music back on YouTube as of yet. I was able to find one video with his version of “I Feel For You.” It probably won’t be up for long, but here it is for now:
If you can’t play that one, and you can use Spotify, here’s his version:
A shout out to Sirius/XM satellite radio station 80’s on 8 for playing this song last night, and giving me the inspiration to write about it. As always, thanks for reading and listening.