STEPHEN Nartey
BY Stephen Nartey, 7:19pm June 12, 2024,

Chaka Khan reveals her hit ‘Tell Me Something Good’ was the fruit of rejecting an initial Stevie Wonder song

Chaka Khan & Stevie Wonder/Photo credit: Songwriters Hall of Fame and Stevie Wonder via facebook

Legendary “Queen of Funk” Chaka Khan is not one individual who is scared about being candid with her thoughts. One revealing story about her fearless approach to music is her confession that she turned down Stevie Wonder’s initial song suggestion, confidently telling him, “What else you got?”

In an interview with The Independent, she recounted how her boldness paid off as Wonder ended up offering her the timeless hit “Tell Me Something Good.”

Khan’s funk band Rufus was working on its second album following its 1973 debut when Wonder, 74, offered it one of his unrecorded tracks, “Come and Get This Stuff.”

When asked how often she thought Wonder received that kind of feedback, Khan responded: “I don’t think he ever heard that at all. But I wasn’t thinking about that. I just tell the truth all the time, and I can’t help it.”

She continued: “It upsets people sometimes. But hell, if the truth upsets you I can’t really help that.”

Fortunately, the “Isn’t She Lovely” performer wasn’t upset with her. “Stevie said, ‘What’s your birth sign?’ Aries. ‘Oh, I got the song for you…’ And then he started playing that ‘wakka-wakka’ on the keyboard, and – bam! – there it was,” Khan recalled.

The song Wonder provided, which became Rufus’ hit single “Tell Me Something Good,” soared to Billboard’s Top 3 in 1974, significantly transforming the band’s dynamic.

“The record company renamed us ‘Rufus and Chaka Khan’,” the “I’m Every Woman” singer said. “That caused a huge rift in how the band felt about me. I was totally against it, and made that very clear.”

Khan added: “But the label said, ‘Go along with it, or forget it.’ Of course, I had to ride the pony, for everybody’s sake. But it broke my heart, for them to feel… secondary to me. We’d all been equals. But something beautiful died during that second album, Rags to Rufus, and people are still recovering from what happened. I love those guys. But we can’t talk straight like we used to any more.”

In May, Khan discussed the racism she encountered during her time with Rufus in an interview with The Guardian

“When Rufus first came out, it was all white guys and myself, but then the band changed and Tony Maiden, Bobby Watson and Andre Fischer came in,” Khan said of the band’s members. “This guy booked us for a gig in Illinois, based on our original album cover, and when we got there he said that there were too many Black people in the band.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: June 12, 2024

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