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    Rodgers, Nile (19th September 1952 - Present)

    Arranger-guitarist-producer-songwriter who co-founded the 1970s super-group Chic with vocalist Alfa Anderson, bassist Bernard Edwards, drummer Tony Thompson, and vocalist Norma Jean Wright. (Wright was later replaced by Luci Martin.)  The group recorded what turned out to be Atlantic's biggest-selling record, "Le Freak", which spent five weeks atop the R&B chart and topped the pop charts three separate times.  Rodgers never considered Chic to be a disco group, but that was what they were pigeonholed as, and instead of fighting the label, Rodgers embraced it.  Chic was caught in the cross-hairs of the anti-disco movement and many of their records were burned at a "Disco Demolition" at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois.  If disco were so unpopular in 1979, Rodgers was amused by the fact that "Good Times" and "My Sharona" were gutting it out on the Billboard Hot 100.  Ironically, Rodgers and Edwards had never sought to be icons of disco, or even R&B.  Their roots were in rock and roll, going back to their days in New York, when they and Thompson formed a group called The Big Apple Band.  The timbre of the times (early '70s) was such that it was difficult for a black group to get a recording contract with a rock label.  Blacks were stereotyped as R&B, soul and funk.  The Big Apple Band slummed on the club circuit for years until they morphed into Chic and signed with Atlantic Records.  It was a lucrative partnership for everybody involved.  Their first album went gold, the two follow-ups platinum.  As the disco era sputtered to an end in the early '80s, Chic disbanded and Rodgers and Edwards parted company.  In 1983, Rodgers produced the most successful album of David Bowie's career, Let's Dance.  A couple of years later, he produced Madonna's second album, Like A Virgin.  Other successes followed with "The Reflex" by Duran Duran that spent fifteen weeks at #1, The Thompson Twins' Here's To Future Days and INXS's "Original Sin".  He released a couple of solo albums during the same period, Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove and B-Movie Matinee.  A Chic reunion in 1992 produced a new album, Chic-ism.  In 1996, Rodgers was honoured by Billboard Magazine as Top Producer in the World.  The accompanying celebratory concert with fellow Chic alumni Edwards and Thompson in Japan turned out to be more bitter than sweet.  After the concert, Rodgers found his longtime friend and colleague Bernard Edwards dead in his hotel room.  The cause was pneumonia.  Edwards was only 43.  It was an experience that left Rodgers shaken.  He and Edwards had been like brothers.  Even in the worst of times, they would still call each other and help each other out creatively if one of them was stuck.  Rodgers poured himself back in his work and produced three albums in 1997.  A year later, Rodgers continued to branch out by founding Sumthing Distribution, capitalizing on the video game soundtrack craze.  (He has even written music for video games.)  After 9/11, Rodgers' activist nature took hold.  The former Black Panther and anti-Vietman war protester urged Congress to start a National We Are Family Day.  Its champions in Congress were Robert Dole and Orrin Hatch.  National We Are Family Day is March 11.  In concert with this effort was the establishment of The We Are Family Foundation, a group devoted to multiculturalism and tolerance.  The two causes were named after the Sister Sledge song "We Are Family", which Edwards and Rodgers produced.  In addition to his civic activities, Rodgers continued to play guitar, most notably on Seal's "Fly Like An Eagle", and "Escape" with Jeff Beck, which won a Grammy award for Best Rock Instrumental.  He also won Grammys for Best Contemporary Blues Recording and Best Rock Instrumental Performance.  Other awards followed.  In 2005, Nile Rodgers, Bernard Edwards, and their band, Chic, were inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame.  Rodgers was also awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.  Chic has since reformed and are on tour in Japan.  A new album is also in the works.  Of course, with Nile Rodgers, a new album is always in the works.

     

    Diana Ross recordings

    Give Up (Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers)

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

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.nilerodgers.com/
    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nile_Rodgers
    3. http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/rodgers_nile/bio.jhtml
    4. http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fm20070608a1.html

                          

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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