What Cha' Gonna Do for Me

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What Cha' Gonna Do for Me
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 15, 1981
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerArif Mardin
Chaka Khan chronology
What Cha' Gonna Do for Me
Camouflage (with Rufus)
Singles from What Cha' Gonna Do for Me
  1. "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me"
    Released: as #WBS 49692[1]
  2. "We Can Work It Out"
    Released: as #WBS 49759[2]
  3. "Heed The Warning"
    Released: as #WBS 49804[3]
  4. "I Know You, I Live You"
    Released: as #WBS 49847[4]
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars [5]
Robert Christgau(B-) [6]

What Cha' Gonna Do for Me is the Gold certified third solo album by American R&B/funk singer Chaka Khan, released on the Warner Bros. Records label in 1981.


Three singles were released from What Cha' Gonna Do: the Beatles cover "We Can Work It Out" (US R&B #34), the McCrarys cover "Any Old Sunday" (#68) and the album's title track which became a number one hit on Billboard R&B Singles chart. On Billboard's charts, the album reached #3 on Black Albums, #33 on Jazz Albums, and #17 on Pop Albums. This would be Chaka's highest charting album until her 1980s-era breakthrough I Feel For You. Its popularity among jazz audiences was likely due to the inclusion of the Dizzy Gillespie composition "Night In Tunisia" with a guest appearance by Gillespie himself as well as what today would be called a 'sample' of Charlie Parker's legendary four bar alto break from his 1946 recording of the title. Khan's vocal interpretation also features lyrics written by the singer herself.[8] This album was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female in 1981.[9]

Two tracks from the What Cha Gonna Do For Me sessions were only released as B-sides of singles; "Only Once" and "Lover's Touch", both remained unreleased on CD until 2016.

The instrumental intro to "Fate" has been sampled by a host of dance acts all through the 1990s and 2000s, most notably by Stardust on their 1998 hit single "Music Sounds Better With You" and a section of "I Know You I Live You" also features on "Bad Habit" by ATFC & Onephatdeeva feat. Lisa Milett.

For reasons unknown, What Cha' Gonna Do For Me has only been re-issued on CD in both Europe and Japan. The album has yet to see a CD release in the United States, but did become domestically available digitally shortly after Khan won multiple Grammys for her 2007 album Funk This.

In 2016, Big Break Records re-issued the album as an expanded edition with special liner notes and pictures containing three additional tracks: "Only Once", "Lover's Touch" and "I Know You, I Live You (Remix)".

Track listing[edit]

1."We Can Work It Out"John Lennon, Paul McCartney3:43
2."What Cha' Gonna Do for Me"Ned Doheny, Hamish Stuart3:54
3."I Know You, I Live You"Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin4:29
4."Any Old Sunday"Andy Fraser, Danny Ironstone, Linda McCrary, Alfred McCrary3:37
5."We Got Each Other"Alan Baboff, Chaka Khan, Fred Lederman3:56
6."And the Melody Still Lingers On (Night in Tunisia)"Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Paparelli5:04
7."Night Moods"Jerry Ragovoy4:21
8."Heed the Warning"Ellison Chase, Arthur Jacobson, Chaka Khan, Mark Stevens4:32
9."Father He Said"Deborah Ash, Mike Campagna3:52
10."Fate"Dominic Bugatti, Frank Musker3:14
11."I Know You, I Live You" (Reprise)Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin1:22


Track 1 “We Can Work It Out” Drums - Ray Pounds Keyboards [All], Synthesizer [Mini Moog Bass] - Greg Phillinganes Guitar – Mike Sembello Percussion – Paulinho da Costa Arranged By [String Arrangement] – Arif Mardin Horn Arrangement – Larry Williams Horns [Brass, Reeds] – Bill Reichenbach, Gary Grant, Kim Hutchcroft, Larry Hall, Larry Williams Arranged By [String Arrangement] – Arif Mardin Concert Master - Gene Orloff

Track 2 “What Cha’ Gonna Do For Me” Synthesizer – Bob Christianson Percussion – Crusher Bennett Tenor Saxophone [Tenor Sax Solo], Soloist – Michael Brecker Arranged By [Horn Arrangement] – Arif Mardin Horns [Brass, Reeds] – Barry Rodgers, Lou Delgatto, Lou Soloff, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker

Track 3 “I Know You, I Live You” Percussion – Crusher Bennett, Chaka Khan Arranged By [Horn Arrangement], Saxophone – Larry Williams Trumpet – Jerry Hey

Track 4 “Any Old Sunday” Flugelhorn – Randy Brecker

Track 5 “We Got Each Other” Vocals [Duet Vocal] – Mark Stevens Arranged By [Horn Arrangement], Saxophone – Larry Williams Trumpet – Jerry Hey

Track 6 “And The Melody Still Lingers On (Night In Tunisia)” Drums – Casey Scheuerell Bass – Abraham Laboriel Electric Piano – Ronnie Foster Keyboards [Clavitar Solo, Break], Synthesizer [Oberheim Bells] – Herbie Hancock Percussion – Paulinho da Costa Synthesizer [Mini Moog Bass, Prophet 5] – David Foster Trumpet – Dizzy Gillespie

Track 7 "Night Moods" Arranged By [String Arrangement] – Arif Mardin Concert Master - Gene Orloff

Track 8 “Heed The Warning” Synthesizer [Moog Synthesizer], Soloist [Solo] – David Richards

Track 10 “Fate” Clavinet – Richard Tee Guitar [Guitar Solo], Soloist – Hiram Bullock Percussion – Crusher Bennett Synthesizer – David Richards

Non-album tracks and remixes[edit]

  • "Lover's Touch" — B-side of single "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me" (WBS 49692) (Taylor) - 4:31
  • "Only Once" — B-side of single "We Can Work It Out" (WBS 49759) (Ruff, Ruff, Kaplan) - 3:55


  1. ^ What Cha' Gonna Do For Me (#WBS 49692)
  2. ^ We Can Work It Out (#WBS 49759)
  3. ^ Heed The Warning (#WBS 49804)
  4. ^ I Know You, I Live You (#WBS 49847)
  5. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r42220/review
  6. ^ Christgau, Robert. "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me review". Robert Christgau.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  7. ^ Elias, Jason. "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me (Review)". Allmusic.
  8. ^ "Chaka Khan: What Cha' Donna Do For Me (Charts & Awards)". Allmusic.
  9. ^ Chaka Khan @ The Envelope Awards Database (Page 2)

External links[edit]