Rufus & Chaka Flipbook PDF
Rufus & Chaka
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Table of Contents
Rufus & Chaka Khan Origins
Success Stardom and Tension
More About Rufus and Chaka
The Line –Up Band members
David “Hawk” Wolinski
Quincy Connec on
Interac ve Ar sts For a Cause
About Rufus & Chaka Khan
ORIGINS In 1968, The American Breed (Gary Loizzo, guitar/vocals, Al Ciner, guitar, Charles "Chuck" Colbert, bass, and Lee Graziano, drums) had a top ten hit with the classic rock single, "Bend Me, Shape Me,". A er much success, Colbert and Graziano (without Loizzo who pursued a successful produc on career) created a new group, adding later day "Breed" members Kevin Murphy on (keyboards) and Paule e McWilliams (vocals), plus James Stella (vocals) and Vern Pilder (guitar) from the bar band "Circus". They re‐emerged in 1969 under the name "Smoke". In 1970, a er switching their management to Bob Monaco and Bill Traut, the group's name changed again to "Ask Rufus", the name is taken from the tle of the advice column in Mechanics Illustrated. At this point, Ciner came back to replace Pilder and Willie Weeks was added on bass a er Colbert le . In 1971 the band signed a contract with Epic Records recording an album that wasn't released a er which Epic dropped their contract in early 1972. Willie Weeks was in turn replaced by Dennis Belfield, James Stella by keyboardist/vocalist Ron Stockert and Lee Graziano by Andre Fischer (former drummer with Cur s Mayfield and Jerry Butler). Paule e McWilliams and Chaka Khan had met and became the best of friends through their spouses Howard Towles and Hassan Khan. Chaka would come to most of Ask Rufus gigs when they were performing in Chicago. Paule e decided she was leaving Ask Rufus, she went to the band and told them she had the perfect singer to replace her; she had also asked Chaka if she was interested. A er the band members hesitantly submi ed, Paule e remained with Ask Rufus for a few more weeks to teach Chaka all of their material. Paule e also got Chaka a gig with the group formed by Chicago's Cash McCall called Lyfe. Chaka had been performing at the Pumpkin Room on the south side of Chicago, with a local Chicago group called Lock and Chain, led by drummer Sco y Harris.
EARLY CAREER Bob Monaco was part of a booking company known as Ashley Famous with Jim Golden. They booked Ask Rufus, with Paule e McWilliams and also The Rotary Connec on with Minnie Riperton. Monaco was also responsible for helping get Ask Rufus their deal on ABC Dunhill. Monaco returned to Los Angeles, convinced the label to give him a demo budget and then quickly returned to Chicago where the group recorded eleven songs in two days at Marty Feldman's Paragon Studios. A er taking the demo tapes back to ABC Dunhill the group was immediately asked to sign a long‐term recording contract. Khan, who at eighteen was s ll a minor, had to have her mother sign along with her, even though as a married woman (newly wed to Hassan Khan, a bassist of one of her former bands), she could have done the deed herself. The group then drove to Los Angeles and recorded Rufus at Quantum Recording Studios in Torrance, California, released in 1973. While the songs "Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing Me)" and "Feel Good" (both featuring Khan) brought the group some a en on from R&B radio sta ons, the album itself had minimal sales, and the Stockert‐led "Slip & Slide" failed to catch major a en on from pop radio. The group quickly re‐entered the same studio to record their follow‐up album Rags to Rufus that included the Stevie Wonder song "Tell Me Something Good", Ray Parker Jr.'s and Khan's "You Got The Love" and Dennis Belfield's "In Love We Grow", along with "Smokin' Room". Ciner and Belfield would leave the group shortly therea er along with Stockert, who was replaced by Los Angeles‐based keyboard‐ ist Nate Morgan. Addi onally, Tony Maid‐ en and bassist Bobby Watson, also from Los Angeles, were recruited by drummer Andre Fischer and asked to join the group as well. Maiden's, Watson's and Morgan's addi on to Rufus added a unique sound to the group, bringing a stronger funk and jazz influence to complement Chaka's now emerging powerful lead vocals.
About Rufus & Chaka Khan
SUCCESS, STARDOM AND TENSION Rags to Rufus was released in 1974 and two of its singles — the Stevie Wonder‐penned "Tell Me Something Good" and the Parker‐Khan composi on, "You Got the Love" — became smash hits leading to Rags to Rufus going pla num and also landed them opening spots for the tours of several top stars including Stevie Wonder, Cheech and Chong and the Hues Corpora on. "Tell Me Something Good" also brought Rufus their first Grammy Award. In addi on, it sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the RIAA on August 9, 1974. Due to Khan's increasing popularity Rufus and ABC started calling the group Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan. With this new billing, the band recorded and quickly released their next album, Rufusized in 1974. Another pla num success, the group entered the top ten again with the funk singles, "Once You Get Started", (penned by Gavin Christopher), "Stop on By", "I'm a Woman", and "Pack'd My Bags" (later sampled for Jody Watley's "Lovin' You So") and "Please Pardon Me (You Remind Me of a Friend)", penned by their friend Brenda Russell. Heading into 1975, the group headlined their first major tour, with Khan a rac ng
a en on in concert reviews for her powerhouse vocals and sexy a re — so much so that when it came to do photo sets, Khan was o en the only ar st chosen to be featured on covers, mainly on magazines such as Jet, which heavily featured Khan throughout her long career. Also due to her oﬀ‐stage an cs that added to her on‐stage persona, the media billed Khan as "the wild child". Due to Khan's vocal power and sex appeal, she was o en compared to Tina Turner, with some rock and soul press labeling her a "pint‐sized Tina", and also to Aretha Franklin (her friends called her "li le Aretha"). A en on to Khan began to make things diﬃcult for some of the group's members as they felt Khan's presence had overshadowed the en re band's output. The group's fourth release, and the third major release with Khan as the dominant lead singer, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, was released in 1975. The major hit oﬀ the album was a composi on by Khan and Tony Maiden tled "Sweet Thing" which reached the top five of the charts and became their fourth record to reach gold.
Following a tour to promote Ask Rufus, Fischer finally le the group. He was followed out of the group by Nate Morgan. They were replaced by Richard "Moon" Calhoun and David "Hawk" Wolinski, respec vely. The new lineup recorded the album, Street Player, which featured the Khan‐composed ballad, "Stay". A er first pu ng it oﬀ as a rumor, Khan confirmed to media reports that she was going solo, signing a deal with Warner Bros. Records. The decision strained rela ons between Khan and the other Rufus members. Khan released her self‐ tled debut later in 1978. The album sold more than Street Player, going pla num, thanks to the interna onal Ashford & Simpson‐ composed single, "I'm Every Woman". Khan con nued to promote the album in 1979. In early 1979, Calhoun would be replaced by John "J.R." Robinson as the group's drummer.
D EC L I N E A N D F I N A L Y E A RS Following the Calhoun replacement, another change came when ABC Records got absorbed by MCA, bringing the group to MCA as a result. While Khan promoted Chaka, Rufus put out a less favorably received Khan‐less album, Numbers, which tanked. Khan returned to record with the band for the Quincy Jones‐produced Masterjam. By now, Rufus and Khan were split in two, both acts being treated separately. Khan's superstardom helped Masterjam go gold thanks to the funk‐laden disco recording, "Do You Love What You Feel". Though Khan would later say that she was ready to leave Rufus upon the me she released Chaka in 1978, she discovered that she had two more albums le in her ABC/MCA contract with the band and agreed to fulfill her obliga ons. Following Masterjam, one of the contractual albums, and another Khan‐less album, Party 'Til You're Broke, which bombed, the fac ons of Rufus and Khan reunited for their last MCA album, Camouflage in 1981. The feelings of long overdrawn bad tensions were felt during album sessions. This resulted in situa ons where Khan would either record her vocals alone to a click track prior to the band's instrumenta on being added later or vice versa.
More About Rufus & Chaka Khan
Unfortunately, the album failed to garner a en on, mainly due to Khan's solo obliga ons, which now includ‐ ed two more gold‐cer fied studio albums, Naughty and What Cha' Gonna Do for Me. With the release of Cam‐ ouflage, Khan was free to leave the group, and following her exit in early 1982, the remaining members of Rufus released what became their final studio album, Seal in Red in 1983 which, like their previous albums, went un‐ no ced. Rufus band members sensed that their tenure was over and agreed to split into the terms they release one last live album to commemorate the occasion. The band asked Khan to contribute to their final concert perfor‐ mance which would be filmed by Warner Bros., and she obliged, reuni ng with the group for what was to be later released as a documentary film tled Stompin' At the Savoy. For some reason, Warner Bros. refused to release the film at that me and released only the live album instead. However, the concert has since been released to home‐video with remastered picture and remixed 5.1 Dolby Surround sound. The album included four Khan‐led studio songs, including a Dave Wolinski composi on tled "Ain't Nobody", which got a en‐ on when a producer for the film, Breakin' heard it while screening songs for the movie's soundtrack. Warner eventually re‐ leased the song (with the billing Rufus and Chaka Khan) and the song became a top 30 Billboard Hot 100 hit, reaching num‐ ber‐one on the R&B chart and hi ng number eight on the UK singles chart. The success of the track led to the band receiving its second Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Following this success, Rufus went their separate ways for good with Khan con nuing her solo career, becoming one of the most revered R&B ar sts of her genera on with the release of the single "I Feel for You" cemen ng her reputa on. POST‐BREAK UP In 2001, Rufus (Kevin Murphy, Tony Maiden, Bobby Watson, Dave Wolinski, and John Robinson aka J.R. Robinson) and Chaka Khan reunited for a brief tour, which Khan described in her autobiography, Chaka! Through the Fire (co‐wri en with Tonya Bolden), in 2003. Khan and Maiden reunited on the modernized Rufus medley, "Pack'd My Bags"/ "You Got the Love", on Khan's double Grammy Award‐winning 2007 album, Funk This. When discussing another poten al reunion with Rufus during a 2008 interview with Billboard, Khan said the band's classic lineup (which includes Andre Fischer and Nate Morgan) had no plans on reuni ng, with Khan sta ng that touring with Tony Maiden, one of the few Rufus band mates Khan kept a close friendship with, was the closest to another Rufus reunion. A lineup of Rufus including Bobby Watson and J.R. Robinson start‐ ed a short tour in 2008. Neither founding member Kevin Murphy, mainstay Tony Maiden nor Dave Wolinski par cipated in this tour. In September 2011, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame commi ee announced that the band and Khan were jointly nomi‐ nated for induc on to the 27th annual class. They had been eligible since 1999 (with the commi ee coun ng the band's first album as Rags to Rufus rather than 1973's Rufus). It was their first year of nomina on. Earlier in the year, Khan received a so‐ lo star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Rufus was again nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in September 2017
1970–1972 Paule e McWilliams ‐ vocals Willie Weeks ‐ bass Kevin Murphy ‐ keyboards Al Ciner ‐ guitar James Stella ‐ vocals Chuck Colbert Jr. ‐ bass Lee Graziano ‐ drums
1972–1974 Chaka Khan ‐ vocals Al Ciner ‐ guitar Kevin Murphy ‐ keyboards Andre Fischer ‐ drums Ron Stockert ‐ keyboards, vocals Dennis Belfield ‐ bass
1974–1977 Chaka Khan ‐ vocals Tony Maiden ‐ guitar, vocals Kevin Murphy ‐ keyboards Andre Fischer ‐ drums Bobby Watson ‐ bass Nate Morgan ‐ keyboards
1977–1979 Chaka Khan Tony Maiden Kevin Murphy Richard "Moon" Calhoun Bobby Watson Dave "Hawk" Wolinski
1979–1983 Chaka Khan Tony Maiden Kevin Murphy John "JR" Robinson Bobby Watson Dave "Hawk" Wolinski Ivan Neville
Rags to Rufus
Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan
Very Best of Rufus Featuring Chaka Kahn
Stomping at the Savoy LIVE
1974: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Tell Me Something Good" ‐ Win 1978: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Ask Rufus ‐ Nomina on 1983: Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: "Ain't Nobody" ‐ Win
GOLD & PLATINUM RECORDS
Rags to Rufus
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
US: Pla num
US: Pla num 
OA R D S TA N D I N G S
Single "Slip 'n Slide"
"Whoever's Thrilling You — 40 (Is Killing Me)" "Feel Good"
"Tell Me Something Good"
"You Got the Love"
"Once You Get Started"
"Please Pardon Me 48 (You Remind Me of a Friend)" "Sweet Thing"
Rags to Rufus
"Dance Wit Me"
Rufus featuring Chaka Khan
"At Midnight 30 1 (My Love Will Li You Up) 1977
"Everlas ng Love"
"Keep It Together 109 16 (Declara on of Love)" "Do You Love What You Feel"
"I'm Dancing for Your Love"
"Tonight We Love"
Party 'Til You're Broke
CHAKA KAHN VOCALIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
Yve e Marie Stevens (born March 23, 1953), be er known
By her stage name is an American musician, singer and
songwriter. Her career has panned nearly five decades,
beginning in the 1970s as the lead vocalist of the funk band
Rufus. Khan received public a en on for her vocals and image.
In 1973, Rufus released their eponymous debut album Despite
their fiery rendi on of Stevie Wonder's "Maybe Your Baby"
from Wonder's acclaimed Talking Book and the modest success
of the Chaka‐led ballad "Whoever's Thrilling You (Is Killing
Me)", the album failed to gain a en on. That changed when Wonder himself collaborated with the group on a song he had wri en for Khan. That song, "Tell Me Something Good", became the group's breakthrough hit, reaching number‐three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974, later winning the group their first Grammy Award. The single's success and the subsequent follow‐up, "You Got the Love", which peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100, helped their second parent album, Rags to Rufus, go pla num, selling over a million copies. From 1974 to 1979, Rufus re‐ leased six pla num‐selling albums including Rufusized, Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan, Ask Rufus, Street Player and Masterjam. Hits the group scored during this me included "Once You Get Started," "Sweet Thing," "Hollywood," "At Midnight (My Love Will Li You Up)," and "Do You Love What You Feel." The band gained a reputa on as a live performing act, with Khan becoming the star a rac on, thanks to her powerful vocals and stage a re—which some mes included Na ve American garb and showing her midriﬀ. Most of the band's material was wri en and produced by the band itself with few excep ons. Khan has also been noted for being an instrumentalist playing drums and bass; she also provided percussion during her tenure with Rufus. Most of her composi ons were collabora ons with guitarist Tony Maiden. Rela ons between Khan and the group, par cularly between her and Andre Fischer, [who?] became stormy. Several members le with nearly every release. While Khan remained in the group, she signed a solo contract with Warner Bros. Records In 1978. While Khan was busy at work on solo material, Rufus released three albums without her par cipa on including 1979's Numbers, 1980's Party 'Til You're Broke, and 1983's Seal in Red.
) ‐ 2011
David J. "Hawk" Wolinski Keyboardist, Songwriter and Record Producer
David J. "Hawk" Wolinski (born 1948) is an American keyboardist, songwriter and record producer, probably best known for his work with the funk band Rufus and their lead singer Chaka Khan. Keyboardist/songwriter/producer David "Hawk" Wolinski first came to fame as a member of r rock/R&B/pop band Rufus. The Chicago na ve wrote their number one R&B hit "Ain’t Nobody" and co‐wrote their other hits "Hollywood" and "Everlas ng Love." Wolinski also wrote/and or produced hits for Stephanie Mills ("The Medicine Song"), Jeﬀrey Osborne ("Plane Love"), and Glenn Jones ("Givin' Myself to You"). Before Rufus, Wolinski worked with fellow Chicagoan, singer Minnie Riperton. While wri ng in his recording studio, Wolinski came up with the song idea that would become "Aint Nobody." Quincy Jones was interested in the song Inclusion on Michael Jackson's Thriller LP. But Wolinski had already promised the song to Rufus' producer Russ Titelman. Included on the group's Warner Bros. debut album Live‐Stompin' at the Savoy, "Ain’t Nobody" b/w a live version of their 1976 hit "Sweet Thing" went to number one R&B in fall 1983.
The success of "Aint Nobody" made Wolinski an in‐demand songwriter/producer. He contributed several tracks to the soundtrack of the 1986 Goldie Hawn high school football movie Wildcats issued on Warner Bros. For Rufus & Chaka Khan he co‐wrote the sensual ballad "Everlas ng Love" ‐‐ not to be confused with the same‐named hit covered separately by Robert Knight/Carl Carlton/Rex Smith ‐‐ with band member Kevin Murphy and one me Rufus member, bassist Dennis Belfield ("Smokin' Room," the flip side of Rufus' gold single "Tell Me Something Good," a popular radio‐aired LP track and a 1975 hit for Carl Carlton), which went to number 17 R&B in summer 1977. The Wolinski song was covered by jazz saxophonist J. Spencer on his Chimera album. Wolinski co‐wrote another Rufus hit, "Hollywood," with group member Andre Fischer that peaked at number three R&B in spring 1977; with Daniel Seraphine, he co‐wrote the tle track of Rufus' gold LP Street Player. With singer Jeﬀrey Osborne, Wolinski co‐wrote "Plane Love, " number ten R&B, for Osborne's 1983 gold A&M LP Stay With Me Tonight and "Is It Right" for his gold 1984 A&M LP Don't Stop. For Stephanie Mills, he wrote "The Medicine Song. " Also on her 1984 Casablanca LP I've Got the Cure was "Rough Trade" (Wolinski/Keithen Carter/Pat Leonard). For the Amusement Park Band led by Paul Richmond, he produced their second album, All Points Bulle n, issued by Atlan c Records around March 1984, which yielded the single "No." Wolinski produced Glenn Jones' "Giving Myself to You" in summer 1986 from his RCA album Take It From Me, and co‐produced both the self‐ tled 1987 Virgin Records LP of U.K. duo Millions Like Us and the Neville Brothers' 1992 A&M LP Family Groove. Hawk also had small ac ng roles in the films Electra Glide in Blue and Men at Work, the 1990 comedy film with Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen.
BOBBY WATSON BASS PLAYER
Bobby Watson has a reputa on for bringing a solid founda‐ on to any rhythm sec on, but he par cularly shines in
'Rufus', a band he joined forces with in early 1974. BW has
been a major contributor in helping create the 'Rufus' sound,
not only with his playing, but also as a producer & songwriter
on all of the Rufus albums from 1974' l present. Rufus
released 11 albums from 1974‐1983.
Rufus and Chaka Khan also won many awards including 2 Grammys and 10 Gold and Pla num records. His style of bass playing can be heard not only on Rufus, but on other ar st's hits as the Pointer Sister’s "Jumping Jack Flash", Michael Jackson's "Rock with You" & Billy Preston's "Nothing from Nothing".
B I L LY P R E S TO N W / B O B BY O N B A S S ON FIRST SNL SHOW OCT 1975
Bobby produced four albums with Rene & Angela from 1979‐
1985 the last of which went Gold (Street Called Desire).
Bobby also produced Plush featuring Seidah Garre , and Janet
Jackson's debut album tled "Janet". Bobby resided in Japan
from 1985‐1995, and took part in countless produc ons,
recordings and tours.
Back to Los Angeles in 1995 joined up with Steve Harvey. Bobby's symbio c rela onship with Steve has resulted in over 100 songs being wri en together, as well as numerous recording sessions playing both
bass & guitar for ar sts Brige e McWilliams, Frank McCombs, Cece Winans, The Tempta ons, N'Dambi, Ledisi & Rachelle Farrell. Shorty therea er Bobby replaced "Verdine White" in a band consis ng of 90% of original EWF members called "The LA All Stars".
In 1998 Bobby toured with Chaka Khan, Larry Graham and Prince, playing all over Europe. Bobby also took part in a Rufus & Chaka Khan Reunion Tour in 2001 as opening act for Earth Wind & Fire. Unfortunately, the tour was cut short by 9/11. In 2002 Bobby joined Earth Wind & Fire original
members Sheldon Reynolds, Morris Pleasure, Larry Dunn, Johnny Graham and Kenny Olson (Kid Rock) for a concert celebra ng Jimi Hendrix's (would be) 60th Birthday at the EMP Museum in Sea le.
JR Robinson (Rufus Drummer) Interviewing Bobby
TONY MAIDEN GUITAR
JOHN ROBINSON GUITAR
ANDRE FISHER DRUMS
KEVIN MURPHY DRUMS
AL CINER GUITAR
QUINCY CONNECTION PRODUCER
S P EC I A L P E R
RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD (SOUL TRAIN 1974)
T H E M I D N I G H T S P EC I A L W I T H W O L F M A N JAC K 1 9 7 4 TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD
RUFUS & CHAKA KAHN WITH BOB HOPE INTRODUCING OFF CAMERA NYC'S CENTRAL PARK 1974
FO R M A N C ES RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN O N C E YO U G E T STA RT E D MIKE DOUGLAS 1975
CHAKA KHAN / RUFUS SWEET THING CLASSIC
DICK CLARK INTERVIEW A M E R I C A N B A N D S TA N D 1980
EC I A L F EAT U R ES
I N T E R AC T I V E A RT I STS F O R
C A U S E
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Crea ng an interac ve journal of popular ar st including the history and profile of the ar sts, albums, awards, live videos and link to anything related to each ar st.
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