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chic

Chic

Chic comprised of:

Nile Rodgers (b. 19th September 1952, New York, U.S.A., guitar)

Bernard Edwards (b. 31st October 1952, Greenville, Carolina, USA, d. 18th April 1996,Tokyo, Japan; bass)

Tony Thompson (b. 15th November 1954, Springfield Gardens, Queens, New York City, U.S.A., d. 12th November 2003, U.S.A.; drums)

Alfa Anderson (lead vocals)

and

Luci Martin (lead vocals)

The string section comprised of:

Valerie Haywood

Cheryl Hong

Karen Karlsrud

Karen Milne

and

Gene Orloff

Chic were formed in 1976, and became the bridge between the Disco sound of the late Eighties, and the R & B sound which ran concurrently throughout that period.

The two mainstays of the group were two friends, Nile Rogers and Bernard Edwards.

The distinctive erratic guitar licks of Nile Rogers were perfectly counterbalanced by the unique rhythmic basslines of Bernard Edwards. These two ingredients formed the heartbeat which constructed the foundations of the Chic sound.

Nile and Bernard met around 1970 whilst performing sessions in the New York City area, through a mutual friend.

Black Panthers

PUBLIC ENEMY, A Jens Meurer documentary film. Featuring: Bobby Seale, Kathleen Cleaver, Jamal Joseph and Nile Rodgers.

Nile had been involved in the Black Panther movement during his youth.

During the 60's Rodgers had played in a rock group, New World Rising, before joining the Apollo Theatre house band.

The duo formed a rock ensemble called the Boys, before joining the Big Apple Band in 1971, which subsequently toured, backing hit group New York City.

In 1977, Bernard and Nile recruited, former LaBelle and Ecstasy, Passion, & Pain drummer, Tony Thompson join the band.

They also hired the vocalist Norma Jean Wright, which was on the understanding that Norma would be allowed to pursue a solo career as well as being part of the Chic group.

Norma Jean norma jean

Luci Martin was also recuited to the emerging group in 1978, although Norma Jean later left the line-up to follow a solo career, releasing a self titled album on Bearsville in 1978, featuring the full Chic line-up and the background vocals of Luther Vandross.

Working with a recording engineer, Bob Clearmountain, they created a demo tape which included the tracks 'Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)' and 'Everybody Dance'.

Signing to Atlanic Records, 'Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)' was released as a 12" single, a song which parodied the Disco phenomena at the time.

Once the song was released, some of the band members began work on Norma Jean's self titled solo album, which contained the dancer 'Saturday'.

Chic in 1977

A parent 1977 album followed, entitled 'Chic', which contained the aforementioned track, along with the song 'Everybody Dance' and the moody instrumental 'Sao Paulo'.

The legal issues which ran alongside the solo career took it's toll in mid 1978, and Norma had to leave the group shortly after working on the Sister Sledge album 'We Are Family'.

In late 1978, the band released 'C'est Chic', containing one of its best-known tracks, 'Le Freak'.

Studio 54

The story of the song was related to by Nile Rogers as a result of Nile and Bernard attending the nightclub Studio 54.

Door Policy

The door policy at the club was unreasonable and randomly selective, and following an attempt to attend the club one night (and being listed on Grace Jones's guestlist), the pair were refused entry on the door.

After returning home, the two began working on some riffs for a song they were penning. Humorously, the pair included some inserts into the song relating to the response to their requests for access to the club from the bouncers at the door, namely 'f**k off'.

The former word was changed to 'freak', the latter to 'out'.

The resultant single was a massive success, topping the U.S. charts and selling over 6 million copies. It was the biggest-ever selling single, at the time, of Atlantic's parent company, Warner Music.

By 1979, the Chic sound was maturing into a less humorous, more romantic style, showcased in the song 'I Want Your Love' (a song originally intended for Sister Sledge). The single went gold in the U.S.

Nile and Bernards unique sound had given the group an additional string to their bow, namely as producers.

Their talents were sought out by the likes of Diana Ross, Sister Sledge, Sheila B. Devotion, David Bowie, Carly Simon, Madonna, Deborah Harry and even Johnny Mathis (for one 1981 unreleased set including the song 'Something To Sing About').

ChicRisque

1979 saw the release of 'Risqué', which contained, arguably, the most sampled rhythm and bassline of the last 50 years. Namely 'Good Times'.

The songs influenced by the bass and rhythm are many, some of which include tracks by the artists, Blondie, Queen, Grandmaster Flash, the Sugarhill Gang, T-Ski Valley and Daft Punk.

'Risqué' also included the popular song 'My Forbidden Lover'.

Around this time, Nile and Bernard began recording solo albums, although the Chic group endured.

Glad To Be HereAdventures In The Land Of

Bernard released a solo album, 'Glad To Be Here', whilst and Nile weighed in with 'Adventures In The Land Of the Good Groove'.

Chic chic in 1982

In 1982, Nile's unique work on David Bowie's 'Let's Dance' provided much of the track's drive.

That year saw the group returning to the studio for the Atlantic album 'Tongue In Chic', which featured the dancer 'Hangin'.

The following year they released 'Believer', whose title song was also popular on the dancefloors.

Nile Rodgers later produced Madonna's first major hit, 'Like A Virgin', while Edwards took control of recording the Power Station, the Duran Duran offshoot that also featured the Chic drummer Tony Thompson.

Bernard also provided the bass to Robert Palmer's 1986 hit, 'Addicted To Love'.

In 1992 the duo worked together again as Chic releasing, 'Chic Mystique' and 'Your Love', from a parent album entitled 'Chicism'.

In 1996 Nile Rodgers was honored as the Top Producer in the World in Billboard Magazine.

Tony Thompson died of renal cancer on the 12th of November 2003, at the age 48, one month after the original diagnosis.

Nile Rogers nile rogers

Tragically, Bernard Edwards died of pneumonia at age of 43 on the 18th of April 1996.

Nile Rogers discovered Bernard the morning after one performance in his hotel room.

According to Nile, Bernard was perfectly healthy but he had started feeling poorly earlier that day.

Nile asked him to cancel the concert because a doctor suggested that he should rest, but Bernard didn't want to disappoint the fans and refused to postpone the show.

Rogers said he actually passed out during the show at one point and had to be helped off the stage for an intermisson between sets.

Nile stated he was awakened at exactly 1:33 a.m. by a disturbing dream regarding all of his friends leaving earth and flying up to heaven, but he thought nothing of it and went back to sleep.

The next moring Bernard didn't answer the door of his hotel room, so Nile got a maid to let him in and found Bernard dead on the couch where he had been sleeping.

According to the medical examiner, he died of a rare strain of pneumonia which he was simply unlucky to have caught and went undetected until he fell ill, he died within about 12 hours of first feeling unwell.

The doctor placed his time of death at around 1 am, Nile says he told him '1:33 a.m. to be exact' which is the official time of death that the Japanese medical examiner recorded on the death certificate.

Thanks to Carl Cumby for the information posted here. Nile Rogers imparted his own story to Carl.

Bernard Edwards final performance was recorded and released as 'Live at the Budokan'.

Chic continued to tour with new musicians.

The group have been nominated for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame five times between 2003 and 2009.

Chic's influence on dance music undoubtedly ensures the ensemble a place in pop history.

Real Player

Albums:

Chic (Atlantic 1977)

C'est Chic (Atlantic 1978)

Risqué (Atlantic 1979)

Real People (Atlantic 1980)

Chic Chic (Atlantic 1981)

Take It Off (Atlantic 1981)

Tongue In Chic (Atlantic 1982)

Believer (Atlantic 1983)

Chic-Ism (Warners 1992)

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