What Cha' Gonna Do for Me

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What Cha' Gonna Do for Me
Studio album by Chaka Khan
Released April 15, 1981
Recorded 1980
Length 42:04
Label Warner Bros.
Producer Arif 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
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 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 80's-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 remain unreleased on CD.

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 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.

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "We Can Work It Out" John Lennon, Paul McCartney 3:43
2. "What Cha' Gonna Do for Me" Ned Doheny, Hamish Stuart 3:54
3. "I Know You, I Live You" Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin 4:29
4. "Any Old Sunday" Andy Fraser, Danny Ironstone, Linda McCrary, Alfred McCrary 3:37
5. "We Got Each Other" Alan Baboff, Chaka Khan, Fred Lederman 3:56
6. "And the Melody Still Lingers On (Night in Tunisia)" Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Paparelli 5:04
7. "Night Moods" Jerry Ragovoy 4:21
8. "Heed the Warning" Ellison Chase, Arthur Jacobson, Chaka Khan, Mark Stevens 4:32
9. "Father He Said" Deborah Ash, Mike Campagna 3:52
10. "Fate" Dominic Bugatti, Frank Musker 3:14
11. "I Know You, I Live You" (Reprise) Chaka Khan, Arif Mardin 1:22


  • Chaka Khan - Percussion, Vocals, Background Vocals
  • Michael Brecker - Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
  • Randy Brecker - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
  • Hiram Bullock - Guitar, Soloist
  • Bob Christianson - Synthesizer
  • Frank DeCaro - Production Coordination
  • Louis del Gatto - Reeds, Saxophone,
  • David Foster - Synthesizer, Mini Moog, Prophet 5
  • Ronnie Foster - Electric Piano
  • Dizzy Gillespie - Trumpet
  • Gary Grant - Trumpet, Brass, Overdubs
  • Lewis Hahn - Engineer, Mixing
  • Larry Hall - Trumpet, Overdubs
  • Herbie Hancock - Keyboards, Bells, Oberheim, Soloist, Breakdown, Clavitar
  • Jerry Hey - Trumpet
  • Kim Hutchcroft - Reeds, Saxophone, Overdubs
  • David Leonard - Assistant Engineer
  • Wayne Lewis - Assistant Engineer
  • Arif Mardin - Strings, Arranger, Producer, Liner Notes, String Arrangements
  • George Marino - Mastering, Mastering Engineer
  • Michael O'Reilly - Assistant Engineer
  • Gene Orloff - Concert Master
  • Gary Panter - Photo Illustration
  • Greg Phillinganes - Keyboards, Rhythm Arrangements, Mini Moog
  • Bill Reichenbach Jr. - Trombone, Overdubs
  • David Richards - Synthesizer, Assistant Engineer
  • Barry Rodgers - Trombone
  • Richard Seireeni - Art Direction
  • Jeremy Smith - Engineer
  • Lew Soloff - Trumpet, Brass
  • Mark Stevens - Bass, Vocals
  • Hamish Stuart - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
  • Richard Tee - Keyboards, Clavinet
  • Bobby Warner - Assistant Engineer
  • Tim Wild - Illustrations
  • Michael Sembello - Guitar
  • David E. Williams - Guitar
  • Larry E. Williams - Synthesizer, Flute, Reeds, Keyboards, Saxophone, Overdubs, Horn Arrangements
  • Anthony Jackson - Bass
  • Abraham Laboriel - Bass
  • Steve Ferrone, Raymond Lee Pounds, Casey Scheuerell - Drums
  • Errol "Crusher" Bennett, Paulinho Da Costa, Chaka Khan - Percussion


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


External links[edit]