C'est Chic - The Ongoing Influence Of Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards

C'est Chic - The Ongoing Influence Of Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards

chic nile bernard
Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, New York, July 29, 1981. Photo by Allan Tannenbaum/Getty Images.

We're taking a look at Chic’s enduring influence by way of some classic records they helped inspire. We’ll avoid any of the countless records they had a direct hand in – that’s another story – and focus on tracks that took Chic’s groove to heart, or in the case of a couple of crucial early rappers, a couple that literally took Chic’s groove!

The Sugarhill Gang - Rapper’s Delight (1979)

This 1979 rap hit was a seismic moment in popular music. Based heavily on Chic’s "Good Times," Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards ended up being awarded co-write credits. 

Pink Floyd – Another Brick in the Wall (1979) 

The biggest, most cerebral rock band in the world scored their biggest hit single on the back of a dance groove. For all its sinister undercurrents, “The Wall”  had a loose and limber groove going; indeed it was their producer Bob Estrin who suggested the beat, and he was a big fan of Chic. 

Queen – Another One Bites The Dust (1980) 

Another rock band – albeit one who were already exploring various other styles – Queen jumped on the disco bandwagon in with this one. Inspired by bass player John Deacon ’s friendship with Chic, “Another One Bites the Dust” was a long way from “Bohemian Rhapsody” but would lead the band to work with fellow genre-dabbling Chic acolyte David Bowie on “Under Pressure.” 

Grandmaster Flash - The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel (1980)

A live DJ mix of Grandmaster Flash scratching and mixing records – including Chic’s “Good Times” - on three turntables, this is another iconic early rap hit. 

Blondie – Rapture (1981)

One of the records actually utilized in the live mix that was the above Grandmaster Flash track, “Rapture” shows just how ahead of the game Blondie were as far as a rock/pop band exploring new dance sounds. And of course musically the song is heavily indebted to Chic, and Debbie Harry's 1981 debut solo album Koo Koo would be produced by Edwards and Rodgers.

Spandau Ballet - Chant No.1 (1981) 

Funk had a vast influence on the English alternative scene at the time as well, especially on those artists coming out of the New Romantic scene. Spandau Ballet were one of the first New Romantic bands to crash the charts, and they led the move into dance music as well. 

Duran Duran – Rio (1982)  

Following hot on the New Romantic heels of Spandau Ballet were these guys, who eventually became front-runners. Duran Duran They ended up working with both Rodgers and Edwards separately in the producers chair, and band members ended up in a band – The Power Station – with Edwards, but they were influenced by Chic before all that, and John Taylor is on record saying that Edwards influenced his bassline in "Rio" in particular. 

Machinations - No Say In It (1983)  

Moving to Australia, dance music, and specifically, the sparse and sinewy Chic sounds had a significant influence on local post-punk sounds. Roxy Music were a key influence on Chic and post-punk both, and the style and sophistication of Chic was a crucial part of their appeal at this point, when there was a big interface between cutting-edge music and cutting-edge fashion. And of course, there was the funk: dig the choppy guitar sound in this hit for starters. 

I’m Talking - Trust Me (1984)

Another band with deep roots in the post-punk scene, I’m Talking were perhaps Australia’s ultimate 80s dance outfit, and with Kate and Zan out front, its mystifies to think that they didn’t become an international sensation. With a reformation in the works now, perhaps someone could get on the phone to Nile Rodgers on their behalf. 

The Smiths – This Charming Man (1984) 

The Smiths were always seen as a more indie band, but Chic’s sounds were in the air. It’s not exactly funky, but you can certainly here the choppiness of Nile Rodgers’ guitar sound here. And Johnny Marr did name his son Nile in honor of the great man… 

Daft Punk - Get Lucky (2013) 

As post-punk dance sounds came back into vogue in the new century so did the influence of Chic, and that is no more evident than in the music of Daft Punk,  and this Record of the Year Grammy-winning hit, which features Nile Rodgers on guitar. 

And finally, we had the privilege of taking the man himself vinyl shopping earlier in the year for a series called Diggin' In The Crates, and it's nothing short of mind-blowing!


Related Posts