Good morning. It’s 10:41 a.m. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, on Monday, March 1, 2021.
Donna Summer’s “Last Dance” came on in the grocery store this morning, which reminded me of Chaka Khan’s iconic 1984 song “I Feel For You,” a cover from Prince’s 1979 self-titled album. (In the realm of “music that makes you feel like dancing,” all roads lead to Prince.)
It’s a tall order for most recording artists to cover a Prince song. You’re setting yourself up for failure 95% of the time. But not for Chaka Khan, whose superpower vocals. Listen to the synths pour down from Purple Heaven, the wet canvas for Chaka Khan’s prismatic, super-heroic vocals. The effect is a rainbow of sound that transmutes pain into pure joy and pleasure. Chaka Khan’s version was Billboard’s No. 5 number best-selling song of the year in 1985, six years after Prince released the original.
I don’t usually have a good answer for the time machine icebreaker question, but I have one today: First Avenue in Minneapolis on a Saturday night in 1982. I’d be at the bar, half a can of AquaNet in my hair, a Sex on the Beach in one fingerless-gloved hand and a Virginia Slim in the other. If I was lucky, He’d be there too.
Listening to this song in March 2021 makes me feel like a caged animal. Or maybe I feel more like a 19th century whaler’s wife, pacing the perimeter of my widow’s walk, waiting for the day I can dance with my friends again.
I hope you have a good week.