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Nile Rodgers

From Academic Kids

Nile Rodgers (born September 19, 1952) is a prolific guitarist and music producer.

He began his career as a sessions guitarist in New York, playing with the Sesame Street band in his teens, and then working in the house band at Harlem's renowned Apollo Theater, backing artists like Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, Nancy Wilson, and Parliament Funkadelic.

He met bassist Bernard Edwards in 1970. They formed a rock band called The Boys (later the Big Apple Band) and played numerous gigs around New York City, but despite interest in their demos, they could not get a record contract when the music companies discovered they were black; the discrimination of the day said black artists couldn't play "rock".

These experiences, in addition to activist tenor of the times, led to Rodgers' active involvement in the Black Panther Party in New York. The 1999 documentary film Public Enemy contains history and interviews with Rodgers about these times.

Not the type to give up on their musical dreams, in 1977 Rodgers and Edwards joined forces with drummer Tony Thompson to form the funk/disco band Chic, and went on to score numerous top ten hits and helped propel disco to new levels of popularity. Their songs "Everybody Dance", "Le Freak" and "Good Times" remain among the most sampled songs of the disco era. Chic dissolved in 1983.

As Chic's sound became more popular and sought-after, Rodgers began doing record production. He produced, wrote, and performed with the band Sister Sledge. In 1980 he produced for Diana Ross, yielding the smash hits "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out". In 1981, Deborah Harry worked with Rodgers on the unpopular album Koo Koo. In 1983 Rodgers produced David Bowie's album Let's Dance with several hit singles, and in 1985 produced Madonna's blockbuster album Like a Virgin.

Duran Duran worked extensively with Rodgers after he produced the hit single "The Reflex" in 1983 and followed up with "Wild Boys" for inclusion on their 1984 live album Arena. He worked with members John Taylor and Andy Taylor on their side project Power Station in 1985, which produced two hit singles. In 1986, he produced the entirety of Duran Duran's funky and horn-inflectd Notorious album, which yielded a #2 title track hit. He contributed to numerous other projects and appearances with members of the band throughout the 1980s and 1990s, and in 2002-2003 helped to produce Astronaut, the new album by the original five members of the band.

He formed the short-lived band Outloud in 1987; they released a single self-titled album.

After a 1992 birthday party where Rodgers, Edwards, Paul Schaffer and Anton Fig played old Chic hits to rapturous response, Rodgers and Edwards organized the reunion of the old band. They recorded new material and played live all over the world, to great audience and critical acclaim.

In 1996 Rodgers was honored as the "Top Producer In the World" in Billboard Magazine, and was named a JT Super Producer. That year he performed with Bernard Edwards, Sister Sledge, Steve Winwood, Simon Le Bon and Slash in a series of commemorative concerts in Japan which provided a career retrospective. Unfortunately his longtime musical partner Edwards died of pneumonia during the trip, a blow that Rodgers took very hard.

In 1998, Rodgers founded Sumthing Distribution, the largest African-American owned independent music label distribution company in America. Sumthing currently focuses on the distribution in a fast-growing new genre: video game soundtracks.

The September 11, 2001 attacks prompted Rodgers to found the "We Are Family Project". To begin, he organized a re-recording of the Sister Sledge song "We Are Family" by over 200 celebrities, and another recording involving over 100 beloved children's characters, each with accompanying videos and documentaries. He has prompted the United States Congress to create a "National We Are Family Day" to be celebrated on March 11 each year [1] (http://www.wearefamilyfoundation.org/nationalday.asp). In July of 2002, he officially created the We Are Family Foundation to promote tolerance and multiculturalism and to support victims of intolerance.

Rodgers has received a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Heroes Award from the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.

In Winter of 2005, Rodgers will open Amanyara, a state-of-the-art recording studio on Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean.

Contents

Selected Discography

Chic

Solo

Production

Soundtracks

External links

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