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)
(1981)String Module Error: Match not found1981
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.

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]

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 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]