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"
    February 1981 (US) [#WBS 49692]
    June 1981 (UK) [#K17821][1]
  2. "We Can Work It Out"
    Released: June 1981
    [#WBS 49759][1]
  3. "Any Old Sunday"
    Released: August 1981
    [#WBS 49804][1]
  4. "I Know You, I Live You"
    Released: November 1981
    [#WBS 49847][1]
  5. "Heed The Warning"
    Released: April 1981 (UK Only)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[2]
Robert Christgau(B-)[3]

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.


Teaming again with Arif Mardin, slowly but surely the two began to craft an even more successful and innovative sound. This effort not only bests the work before it, but it is Mardin's most fulfilling production since 1974's Average White Band.

— Jason Elias, Allmusic[4]

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.[5] This album was nominated for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female in 1981.[6]

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.


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, rare photos, and containing three bonus tracks: "Only Once", "Lover's Touch" and "I Know You, I Live You (Remix)". Though the remix of "I Know You, I Live You" was previously released on Life Is a Dance: The Remix Project, the other two were only available on 7" singles until the Big Break reissue. "Lover's Touch" was the B-Side of "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me" in the US, and "Only Once" was the B-Side of "We Can Work It Out."[1]

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


Non-album tracks[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. ^ a b c d e f Liner notes of 2016 deluxe reissue of What Cha' Gonna Do For Me by Chaka Khan on Big Break Records/Cherry Red (WCDBBRX 0331)
  2. ^ https://www.allmusic.com/album/r42220/review
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me review". Robert Christgau.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
  4. ^ Elias, Jason. "What Cha' Gonna Do For Me (Review)". Allmusic.
  5. ^ "Chaka Khan: What Cha' Donna Do For Me (Charts & Awards)". Allmusic.
  6. ^ Chaka Khan @ The Envelope Awards Database (Page 2)

External links[edit]