Chaka Khan

I Feel for You

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When Chaka Khan recorded her fifth solo album, I Feel for You, in 1984, she knew that R&B had changed a lot since the 1970s. Horn-powered funk bands, strings-laden Philadelphia soul, and orchestral disco were out of vogue, and the urban contemporary audiences of 1984 were into a more high-tech, heavily electronic style of R&B. Many artists who had been huge in the 1970s found that they no longer appealed to black radio programmers, who had abandoned them and turned their attention to electro-funksters and Prince disciples. But Chaka Khan had no problem keeping up with the times; I Feel for You made it clear that she could easily be relevant to the urban contemporary scene of 1984. No one would mistake I Feel for You for a Rufus project from 1975 -- it's way too high-tech -- and yet, everything on the album is unmistakably Chaka Khan. That is true of up-tempo items like "Love Is Alive" (an interesting remake of Gary Wright's 1976 hit) and "La Flamme," as well as the ballad "Through the Fire," which was a big hit on urban radio but crossed over to adult contemporary stations in a major way. "This Is My Night" (which was written and produced by the System) also became an urban radio hit, but the album is best known for Khan's unlikely remake of Prince's "I Feel for You." When Prince first recorded "I Feel for You" in 1979, it wasn't a hit; Khan's version, however, soared to number one on Billboard's R&B singles chart. Khan had a very different take on the song than Prince; while his original version was subtle and restrained, Khan went for exuberance and added a strong hip-hop flavor. Excellent from start to finish, this album went down in history as both a creative and a commercial success.

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