Chaka Khan, "I Feel for You" (1984)
Hot 100 Chart Position: Number Three
Prince allegedly penned "I Feel for You" as a valentine to one of his crushes, jazz-funk queen Patrice Rushen, and included it on his 1979 self-titled album. Years later, Chaka Khan and longtime producer Arif Mardin turned "I Feel for You" into a Gold-certified cataclysm of electro-funk, R&B and hip-hop. There is the seductive voice of Melle Mel of "The Message" and Beat Street fame serenading Chaka, a harmonica riff from Stevie Wonder and those loud, blaring synthesizer stabs typical of pop music of the era. Just as big was its heavy-rotation video clip that featured L.A. break dancers like Shabba Doo and Boogaloo Shrimp, fresh from their triumphant performances in the unexpected box office hit Breakin'. But Khan, who had spent much of the early-Eighties delving into sensuously mature boogie-funk and jazz-pop, wasn't entirely comfortable with the colorfully gauche "I Feel For You. " "Arif and I had to make a conscious effort to do that," she told Billboard in 1984. "'I Feel For You is obviously a song that appeals to a lot of the younger kids.'" Khan probably didn't mind when "I Feel for You" became the biggest hit of her solo career, topping the R&B charts and earning her a 1985 Grammy for Best R&B Song. As for Prince, he was too busy with Purple Rain to appear on the track. "Prince [had] schedule problems, couldn't do it," Mardin said.