"I Feel for You" is a song written by Prince that originally appeared on his 1979 self-titled album. The most successful and best-known version was recorded by R&B singer Chaka Khan and appeared on her 1984 album I Feel for You. Prince, as songwriter, won the 1985 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.
Background, and other versions
Prince originally recorded the song containing disco music for his eponymous second album, released in 1979. He uses the falsetto vocal with the melody range between C4 and C5. However, the song and "I Wanna Be Your Lover", a hit song of Prince's second album, were written for Patrice Rushen, who eventually rejected both songs.
The Pointer Sisters recorded the song in 1982 on their album So Excited!Rebbie Jackson recorded it for her 1984 debut album Centipede.
In 1993, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake sang this song on The Mickey Mouse Club.
The song was also featured by Jess Glynne on her Take Me Home Tour in 2016.
Chaka Khan version
Khan's version featured an all-star supporting cast, with rapping from Melle Mel (of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five); guitar, drum programming, bass guitar, keyboards and arrangement by Reggie Griffin; bass synthesizer and programming by The System's David Frank using an Oberheim DSX sequencer which was hooked up to his Minimoog via CV and gate; and chromatic harmonica playing by Stevie Wonder. The song also uses vocal samples from Wonder's song "Fingertips". The repetition of Khan's name by Melle Mel at the beginning of the song was a mistake made by producer Arif Mardin, who then decided to keep it.
This version of the song became a million-selling smash in the US and UK, and it helped to relaunch Khan's career. The song hit No. 1 on the Cash Box singles chart and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart from the weeks of November 24, 1984 to December 8, 1984. The song remained on the Billboard Hot 100 for 26 weeks and became one of Billboards five biggest pop songs of the year for 1985. The single reached No. 1 on both the US dance and R&B charts in late 1984, remaining atop both for three weeks each. In addition, the song also reached No. 1 on the UK Singles Chart. While touring with Prince in 1998 in support of her collaborative album, Come 2 My House, Khan and Prince performed "I Feel for You" as a duet.
Khan's version of the song is written in the key of G♭ major with a tempo of 125 beats per minute in common time. Khan's vocals span from D♭4 to A♭5 in the song.
- Chaka Khan - lead vocals, backing vocals
- Steve Ferrone - drums
- David Frank - keyboards, synthesizer, programming
- Philippe Saisse - keyboards, synthesizer, programming
- Robbie Buchanan - keyboards, synthesizer, programming
- Reggie Griffin - guitar, bass, keyboards, synthesizer, drum machine, programming and arrangement
- Stevie Wonder - chromatic harmonica
- Grandmaster Melle Mel - vocals
The first version of the music video for Khan's song featured her working in a club with female dancers. As rap music and breakdancing were gaining popularity in mainstream pop culture at the time, the song was released and proved a success, so another version of the video, in an inner-city courtyard setting, was created. It featured Khan with a disc jockey and break dancers Shabba Doo, Boogaloo Shrimp, Bruno Falcon and Ana Sánchez, all of whom appeared in the movie Breakin'. A remixed version of the video was created to match the 12" vinyl version of the single.
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