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Chic

There can be little argument that Chic was disco's greatest band; and, working in a heavily producer-dominated field, they were most definitely a band. By the time Chic appeared in the late '70s, disco was already slipping into the excess that eventually caused its downfall. Chic bucked the trend by stripping disco's sound down to its basic elements; their funky, stylish grooves had an organic sense of interplay that was missing from many of their overproduced competitors. Chic's sound was anchored by the scratchy, James Brown-style rhythm guitar of Nile Rodgers and the indelible, widely imitated (sometimes outright stolen) basslines of Bernard Edwards. As producers, they used keyboard and string embellishments economically, which kept the emphasis on rhythm. Chic's distinctive approach not only resulted in some of the finest dance singles of their time, but also helped create a template for funk, dance-pop, and even hip-hop in the post-disco era. Not coincidentally, Rodgers and Edwards wound up as two of the most successful producers of the '80s, and the sound they developed and perfected remained relevant for decades.

Rodgers and Edwards first met in 1970, when both were jazz-trained musicians fresh out of high school. Edwards had attended New York's High School for the Performing Arts and was working in a Bronx post office at the time, while Rodgers' early career also included stints in the folk group New World Rising and the Apollo Theater house orchestra. Around 1972, Rodgers and Edwards formed a jazz-rock fusion group called the Big Apple Band. This outfit moonlighted as a backup band, touring behind smooth soul vocal group New York City in the wake of their 1973 hit "I'm Doin' Fine Now." After New York City broke up, the Big Apple Band hit the road with Carol Douglas for a few months, and Rodgers and Edwards decided to make a go of it on their own toward the end of 1976. At first they switched their aspirations from fusion to new wave, briefly performing as Allah & the Knife Wielding Punks, but quickly settled into dance music. They enlisted onetime LaBelle drummer Tony Thompson and vocalists Norma Jean Wright and Alfa Anderson, and changed their name to Chic in summer 1977 so as to avoid confusion with Walter Murphy & the Big Apple Band (who'd just hit big with "A Fifth of Beethoven").

Augmented in the studio by keyboardists Raymond Jones and Rob Sabino, Chic recorded the demo single "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" and shopped it around to several major record companies, all of which declined it. The small Buddah label finally released it as a 12" in late 1977, and as its club popularity exploded, Atlantic stepped in, signed the group, and re-released the single on a wider basis. "Dance, Dance, Dance" hit the Top Ten, peaking at number six, and made Chic one of the hottest new groups in disco. Chic scrambled to put together their self-titled first album, which spawned a minor follow-up hit, "Everybody Dance," in early 1978. At this point, Wright left to try her hand at a solo career (with assistance from Rodgers and Edwards), and was replaced by Luci Martin. It was a good time to come onboard; "Le Freak," the first single from sophomore album C'est Chic, was an out-of-the-box smash, spending five weeks on top of the charts toward the end of 1978 and selling over four-million copies (which made it the biggest-selling single in Atlantic's history). Follow-up "I Want Your Love" reached number seven, cementing the group's new star status, and C'est Chic became one of the rare disco albums to go platinum.

1979's Risqué was another solidly constructed LP that also went platinum, partly on the strength of Chic's second number one pop hit, "Good Times." "Good Times" may not have equaled the blockbuster sales figures of "Le Freak," but it was the band's most imitated track: Queen's number one hit "Another One Bites the Dust" was a clear rewrite, and the Sugarhill Gang lifted the instrumental backing track wholesale for the first commercial rap single, "Rapper's Delight," marking the first of many times that Chic grooves would be recycled into hip-hop records. Also in 1979, Rodgers and Edwards took on their first major outside production assignment, producing and writing the Sister Sledge smashes "We Are Family" and the oft-sampled "He's the Greatest Dancer." This success, in turn, landed them the chance to work with Diana Ross on 1980's Diana album, and they wrote and produced "Upside Down," her first number one hit in years, as well as "I'm Coming Out."

The disco fad was fading rapidly by that point, however, and 1980's Real People failed to go gold despite another solid performance by the band. Changing tastes put an end to Chic's heyday, as Rodgers and Edwards' outside production work soon grew far more lucrative, even despite aborted projects with Aretha Franklin and Johnny Mathis. Several more Chic LPs followed in the early '80s, with diminishing creative and commercial returns, and Rodgers and Edwards disbanded the group after completing the lackluster Believer in 1983. Later that year, both recorded solo LPs that sank without a trace. Hungry for acceptance and respect in the rock mainstream (especially after accusations that they had ripped off Queen instead of the other way around), both Rodgers and Edwards sought out high-profile production and session work over the rest of the decade. Rodgers produced blockbuster albums like David Bowie's Let's Dance, Madonna's Like a Virgin, and Mick Jagger's She's the Boss. Edwards wasn't as prolific as a producer, but did join the one-off supergroup the Power Station along with Tony Thompson as well as Robert Palmer and members of avowed Chic fans Duran Duran; he later produced Palmer's commercial breakthrough, Riptide. Edwards also worked with Rod Stewart (Out of Order), Jody Watley, and Tina Turner, while Rodgers' other credits include the Thompson Twins, the Vaughan Brothers, INXS, and the B-52's' comeback Cosmic Thing.

Rodgers and Edwards re-formed Chic in 1992 with new vocalists Sylver Logan Sharp and Jenn Thomas, and an assortment of session drummers in Thompson's place; they toured and released a new album, Chic-ism. In 1996, the reconstituted Chic embarked on a tour of Japan; sadly, on April 18, Edwards passed away in his Tokyo hotel room due to a severe bout of pneumonia. Rodgers continued to tour occasionally with a version of Chic. In 1999, his Sumthing Else label issued a recording of Edwards' final performance with the band, Live at the Budokan. More importantly, Rodgers compiled The Chic Organization Box Set, Vol. 1: Savoir Faire, a four-disc anthology released in 2010. Rodgers' career was boosted once more, through a string of collaborations with Duran Duran and Daft Punk, among others. He published a memoir, beat cancer, and kept the Chic name alive through high-profile performances, the 2015 single "I'll Be There," and plans for a 2016 album. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Definitive Groove Collection: Chic

Disc 1

1. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)

2. Everybody Dance

3. Strike Up The Band

4. Le Freak

5. Savoir Faire

6. Chic Cheer

7. At Last I Am Free

8. I Want Your Love

9. Good Times

10. My Forbidden Lover

11. What About Me

12. My Feet Keep Dancing

13. Chip Off The Old Block

Disc 2

1. Rebels Are We

2. Real People

3. Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)

4. 26

5. You Can't Do It Alone

6. Stage Fright

7. Just Out Of Reach

8. Flash Back

9. Your Love Is Cancelled

10. Soup For One

11. When You Love Someone

12. Hangin'

13. Give Me The Lovin'

14. Believer

15. You Are Beautiful

16. Chic Mystique

17. Your Love

x

Track List: Real People / Tongue In Chic

1. Open Up

2. Real People

3. I Loved You More

4. I Got Protection

5. Rebels Are We

6. Chip Off The Old Block

7. 26

8. You Can't Do It Alone

9. Hangin'

10. I Feel Your Love Comin' On

11. When You Love Someone

12. Chic (Everybody Say)

13. Hey Fool

14. Sharing Love

15. City Lights

x

Track List: Risque

1. Good Times

2. A Warm Summer Night

3. My Feet Keep Dancing

4. My Forbidden Lover

5. Can't Stand To Love You

6. Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)

7. What About Me

x

Track List: C'est Chic

1. Chic Cheer

2. Le Freak

3. Savoir Faire

4. Happy Man

5. I Want Your Love

6. At Last I Am Free

7. Sometimes You Win

8. Bone

x

Track List: Chic

1. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)

2. Sao Paulo

3. You Can Get By

4. Everybody Dance

5. Est-Ce Que C'Est Chic

6. Falling In Love With You

7. Strike Up The Band

x

Track List: I'll Be There (Single)

1. I'll Be There (Feat. Nile Rodgers)

x

Track List: The 12" Singles Collection

1. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)

2. Everybody Dance (12" Mix)

3. Le Freak (Remastered)

4. I Want Your Love

5. Chic Cheer (Remastered)

6. Good Times (12" Mix) (Remastered)

7. My Forbidden Lover

8. My Feet Keep Dancing (Remastered)

9. Hangin'

10. Chic Mystique (12" Remix) (Extended Version)

x

Track List: The Best Of Chic: Dance, Dance, Dance

1. Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)

2. Everybody Dance (12" Mix)

3. Strike Up The Band

4. Chic Cheer

5. Le Freak

6. I Want Your Love

7. Good Times

8. My Feet Keep Dancing

9. My Forbidden Lover

10. Soup For One

x

Track List: The Studio Album Collection 1977 - 1992

Disc 1

2. Sao Paulo

3. You Can Get By (LP/12" Version)

4. Everybody Dance

5. Est-Ce Que C'est Chic

6. Falling In Love With You (Edited Version)

7. Strike Up The Band

Disc 2

1. Chic Cheer

2. Le Freak

3. Savoir Faire

4. Happy Man

5. I Want Your Love

6. At Last I Am Free

7. Sometimes You Win

8. (Funny) Bone

Disc 3

1. Good Times

2. A Warm Summer Night

3. My Feet Keep Dancing

4. My Forbidden Lover

5. Can't Stand To Love You

6. Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)

7. What About Me

Disc 4

1. Open Up

2. Real People (Single Edit)

3. I Loved You More

4. I Got Protection

5. Rebels Are We (Single Edit)

6. Chip Off The Old Block

7. 26

8. You Can't Do It Alone

Disc 5

1. Stage Fright

2. Burn Hard

3. So Fine

4. Flash Back

5. Telling Lies

6. Your Love Is Cancelled

7. Would You Be My Baby

8. Take It Off

9. Just Out Of Reach

10. Baby Doll

Disc 6

1. Hangin'

2. I Feel Your Love Comin' On

3. When You Love Someone

4. Chic (Everybody Say)

5. Hey Fool

6. Sharing Love

7. City Lights

Disc 7

1. Believer

2. You Are Beautiful

3. Take A Closer Look

4. Give Me The Lovin'

5. In Love With Music***

6. You Got Some Love For Me

7. In Love With Music

8. Show Me Your Light

Disc 8

1. Chic Mystique

2. Your Love

3. Jusagroove

4. Something You Can Feel

5. One And Only One

6. Doin' That Thing To Me

7. Chicism

8. In It To Win It

9. My Love's For Real

10. Take My Love

11. High

12. M.M.F.T.C.F.

13. Chic Mystique (Reprise)

Comments

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Best days of my life!
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metallicagur l 1 8
❤❤❤❤❤❤
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aestrada223
These are 'Good Times'. 'CUBS Win'. Let's go next year Indians. May another drought be broken.
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THE disco band of all time!!!!
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reina1963
Brings back memories of some good times
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SkateKey!!!!
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marieabella1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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csloftus
Happy Music, Love the Positive Message!!!! Great Fell Good Beat!!!!
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Edwards was one of the best bass players ever. Multi talented, he could jam the bass as easy as write a beautiful ballad! God I miss his given gifts.
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Ir a great memories, liked.
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Great memories
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Approve the Bass line - Senate says -YES.
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That Bass line the Senate approval it.
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~~~ I Thought I Was The Only FREAK.....CU Z I LOVE DISCO MUSIC, I GREW UP LISTENING TO ALL THE 70s TUNES & From SABBATH TO BEEGEES & ALL THE GENRES IN BETWEEN!!!! I still remember the most of the LYRICS~~~~ & FREAK ON PEOPLE!!!!
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justinjenny4 9 5
❤❤❤❤❤
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Funkin it out by the fire! Great live show in Vegas last month! Thank you!!!
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I love you so much ��
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jibaro3168
Yessssss
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GOOD...XXXXO O O . . . . T I M E S . . . . X X X X O O O O O O O O X X X
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Remembering this song, gave my best friend and i some awesome times at the nite club's!!!! Wish you were still here comadre,4 years you have been gone ..... but not forgotten!!! R I P . my comadre,sist e r that i never had and my only best friend for 43YRS . Still think about you almost everyday!!! Till we meet again to reminisce about the good old days
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It still sounds good today
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yeal baby!
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I just saw them on Wednesday 8-3-16 here in Phoenix, Arizona and they still sound great
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MAN I WISH I'LL CAME UP N DIZ GENERATION GOOD MUSIC. ...I THINK GOD 4 ALLOWING ME TO BE HERE 2 HEAR DA FUNK
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melajones8
My Feet Keep Dancing One of my all time faves
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FREAK by Chic reminds me of my first school dance in middle school....ev e r y b o d y just dancing having fun..Happy music~Happy times!
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Chic play a lot of long and good songs. This is a good one of their's
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Great roller skating tune
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Great memories to this song!
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Le Freak .... Let's take it back ...
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Soul
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Disco that was so bad (kool,)of a year, every weekend a back yard party's.
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Nice group
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Disco will always live forever just taking a break that' s all and making a comeback you will see thanks you guys God bless
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Lets all have a good time
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lisanathjace
Yeahhhhhhh minecraft
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Having Good Times right now!!!
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Are you going to play Prince's music . Lets remember him.
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❤❤❤❤❤
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This sister is rocking this song. One of. Y all time favorites!
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none better than tony thompson
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Please bring back the 70,s those were the magical years...DISC O will live forever.
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I love this song
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You alive with your tennis elbow
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86 street days
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Just cool very neat chic
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yvettepennin g t o n 3 4
This was the JAM back in the day
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yvettepennin g t o n 3 4
Good times
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I love chic music these are the good times
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Love it!!..having good time now!!!...don ' t never 4get good memories!!. Thanks Louie...xoxo
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