Rufus Chaka Khan

COVER vs ORIGINAL: ‘Ain’t Nobody’

“Ain’t Nobody” was originally recorded by Rufus and Chaka Khan in 1983.

by Christopher Smith

The song “Ain’t Nobody” was written by David “Hawk” Wolinski (b.1948), keyboardist with the US funk band Rufus. The six-piece group included singer Chaka Khan (b.1953) and achieved one of their biggest hits with the song when it peaked at No.22 in the US and No.8 in the UK in late 1983. It was also one of their last as Rufus split at the end of the year after eleven years of recording together.

Unsurprisingly, Chaka crafted a successful solo career for herself and in 1989, released as remixed version of “Ain’t Nobody” as part of her “Life Is A Dance” project, taking the song even higher in the UK (No.6) and topping the US dance chart!

British singer Jaki Graham covered the track in 1994 and released it as the lead single from her album “Real Life”, although she fell short of the UK top 40, her version made it to No.11 on the US dance chart.

The following year US singer Diana King (b.1970) recorded a superb version of “Ain’t Nobody” for her debut album “Tougher Than Love”. Losing none of the drama or style of the original, Diana released the track as the third single from the album, which peaked at No.3 on the US R&B chart and No.4 on the dance chart as well as reaching No.13 in the UK, and charting high all across Europe.

Rapper LL Cool J recoded a version for the soundtrack to the 1996 film ‘Beavis and Butt-Head Do America’ which peaked at No.46 in the US and topped the UK singles chart! While other versions of “Ain’t Nobody” have included UK band Liberty X in 2003 and Mary J. Blige in 2011 for her album “My Life II… The Journey Continues (Act 1)”.

In 2015 German DJ and producer Felix Jaehn remixed UK singer Jasmine Thompson’s 2013 recording of “Ain’t Nobody” and released it as a single and took it into the top ten in 35 countries worldwide, in fifteen of those it went to number one, and to date, his version has sold more than three million copies becoming one of the biggest sellers of 2015!

But which version is the best? RUFUS’ original, CHAKA KHAN’s remix or one of the many other recordings…?

Take a look at some of the other posts in this series and don’t forget to follow the playlist.

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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