Sonic innovator Nile Rodgers rocked beyond the boundaries of disco with inimitable guitar riffs fundamental to hip-hop, rock, and EDM.
Bowie, Madonna, Daft Punk & others sought out Rodgers’ production prowess–yielding unabashedly freaky, incredibly danceable rock records.
Nile Rodgers is one of those rare musical talents that can do almost anything.
He began his journey as a session musician in his hometown, New York City – playing with the Sesame Street traveling band, and then as a house band member at the Apollo. In 1977 Rodgers formed the funk/disco/soul band CHIC along with bass player Bernard Edwards. Their signature sound pushed hits including “Le Freak” and “Good Times” to the top of the charts and fueled the dance floor at clubs like the infamous Studio 54.
Starting in 1979, Rodgers and Edwards tried their hand at production and scored a massive success right out of the gate with Sister Sledge’s “We are Family.” In the 1980s Rodgers became one of the most sought after producers, helping to create albums that redefined an artist’s career, including Diana Ross, Diana, David Bowie, Let’s Dance, INXS, Original Sin, Madonna, Like a Virgin, Duran Duran, Notorious, The B-52s, Cosmic Thing, and the Vaughn Brothers, Family Style.
In the process of producing hit albums, Rodgers developed his own dance-rock signature sound that was imitated (if never duplicated) by numerous artists in a range of music styles. The 80s and 90s also saw him arranging film scores, releasing solo albums, and even reforming a version of CHIC. Rodgers shows no sign of slowing down, and one of his most recent endeavours had him working as a key part of the team that created Daft Punk’s 2013 album Random Access Memories. Nile Rodgers has left his mark on rock and roll – and any of today’s dance band, funk-inspired, soul groove, electro musicians can trace their roots right back to him.