Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hall of Fame Nominee--Chic

     I know every one of you who went down the list of nominees at some point (for some of you many points) went, "Huh?" My moment was Chic. I know them for two songs, but their influence went much deeper than that...
     Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards met as studio musicians in 1970, and formed a rock band called, "The Boys", and later, "The Big Apple Band" up to 1976. The band disbanded after a second album failed to chart. In 1977, they recruited drummer Tony Thompson and as a trio did some club work. Thompson suggested keyboardist Raymond Jones, and to round out the group, singer Norma Jean Wright was brought in. They went in to the studio and recorded, "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah,Yowsah, Yowsah). To add more depth, the group chose to bring in a second singer. Norma suggested Luci Martin. Wright had to leave early in 78, because of an issue with her contract. Alfa Anderson was brought in as they entered into their classic phase.
    In 1978 and 79 they had three big hits, "La Freak", "I Want Your Love", and "Good Times". History points to "La Freak" as the most popular, but it was "Good Times" which became the template for many songs of that era. More importantly, the Sugarhill Gang using it on their breakthrough rap single, "Rapper's Delight". Edwards and Rodgers always contended that their music was the rock side of disco. Considering everyone from Duran, Duran, to David Bowie, to Queen were influenced directly by Edwards' bass lines, and Rodgers production values, there is a strong case to make here.
     With the end of the disco era, Edwards and Rodgers left to work together and separately on many albums. Their fingerprints could be heard all over the early and mid-80's. Madonna, Bowie, Cindi Lauper, Howard Jones, Steve Winwood, Sheena Easton, Thompson Twins and others had music produced by Rodgers. One has to wonder if this nomination is as much for the Rodgers/Edwards duo and their contributions to a decade of music rather than what they did with Chic. One never knows about the Hall of Fame voters. We decide.



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