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    Edwards, Bernard (31st October 1952  18th April 1996)

    Bass player, producer and songwriter responsible in part for the formation of two distinctively different bands, Chic and Power Station.  Nile Rodgers met him in 1970 and along with drummer Tony Thompson, they formed a trio called The Big Apple Band.  In 1976, another band with the same name, let by Walter Murphy, hit the top forty with "A Fifth of Beethoven".  The time was ripe for a name change.  Teaming up with Alfa Anderson and Luci Martin, the band morphed into Chic and became one of the most successful acts of the disco era.  " Le Freak" spent five weeks atop the Billboard R&B chart, hit #1 on the Billboard pop chart three times, and went platinum four times over, a record for Atlantic Records at that time.  In 1979, Risque went platinum and yielded the #1 hit "Good Times" which was groundbreaking in retrospect for Edwards' bass line, which has been imitated and outright sampled since, most notably by The Sugar Hill Gang for "Rappers Delight".  Edwards and Rodgers sued for royalties and won.  Queen outright admitted they lifted the bass line for "Another One Bites The Dust".  You may also notice a similar bass line in "We Are Family" and that is because Edwards and Rodgers took on Sister Sledge as a pet project when Atlantic gave them carte blanche to work with any of Atlantic's acts.  " We Are Family" went to #1 on the R&B chart and #2 on the pop chart, and the album of the same name went platinum and charted as high as #3 on the Billboard 200.  During this time, Edwards and Rodgers also collaborated with Diana Ross on her 1980 release Diana, writing and producing two of her biggest hits, "I'm Coming Out" and "Upside Down" which went #5 and #1, respectively.  Edwards and Rodgers disbanded Chic in 1983 and went their separate ways.  The same year saw the release of Edwards' only solo album, Glad To Be Here.  In 1985, Edwards helped form another super-group, consisting of Robert Palmer, Duran Duran's Andy and John Taylor, and Chic drummer Tony Thompson.  The group was named Power Station after the studio in which "Le Freak" was recorded.  Their eponymous debut LP yielded three top forty hits, a remake of T. Rex's "Get it On (Bang a Gong)", "Some Like It Hot", and "Communication".  Edwards went on to produce and play bass on other Robert Palmer releases, notably "Addicted To Love" and "I Didn't Mean To Turn You On".  A short-lived Chic reunion resulted in the album Chic-ism in 1992.  Four years later, while on tour with Rodgers and Thompson in Tokyo, Japan, Edwards was found dead in his hotel room.  The cause was apparently pneumonia, and he had passed away in his sleep.  He was only 43.  Edwards paved the way for black producers at a time when they were stereotyped in disco and R&B, opening avenues for blacks to work in other genres.  He is also regarded as one of the greatest bass players who ever lived.  In 2005, Bernard Edwards was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in New York.

     

    Diana Ross recordings

    Give Up (Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers)

    I'm Coming Out (Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers)

     

    Sources:

    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Edwards
    2. http://www.soulwalking.co.uk/Bernard%20Edwards.html
    3. http://www.answers.com/topic/bernard-edwards?cat=entertainment
    4. http://carolcooper.org/music/edwards-96.php
    5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Station_(band)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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