The world first heard Chaka Khan as the lead singer of Rufus, the Chicago band who made radio funkier in the mid-'70s. Born Yvette Marie Stevens in Chicago, she was briefly a Black Panther before putting politics aside to join the band. Despite the quality of players in Rufus, Khan's powerful vocals and flashy stage presence easily outshone the band, which dissolved in 1983. I Feel for You, with its Prince-written title track and Melle Mel guest rap, made her a solo superstar the next year. She's since been covered and sampled by Whitney Houston and Kanye West.