Thursday, October 6, 2022

Nile Rodgers Tells Apple Music About the Influence of Chic’s ‘Good Times’ and More

Nile Rodgers essentials radio

*On the latest episode of Essentials Radio on Apple Music Hits, Zane Lowe welcomes the legendary Nile Rodgers for a dive into his extensive catalog and notable collaborations. Nile tells Apple Music about working with David Bowie and Madonna, how Chic’s “Good Times’ influenced hip hop, and more.

Audio clips and key quotes previewing the episode are below — feel free to use and credit Essentials Radio on Apple Music Hits.

Tune-in to the episode in full this Sunday (9/20) on Apple Music Hits at Listen to the Nile Rodgers Essentials Playlist on Apple Music HERE.

Nile Rodgers Tells Apple Music About Working With David Bowie on ‘Let’s Dance’ and “Modern Love”…

Nile: When I finally was working with Bowie and he told me that he wanted me to make an album of hits, I was like, ‘Whoa, really?'”…

Zane: And by the way, Bowie was not synonymous with hits at all.

Nile: No, not at all. I mean, he had been looking, even though he says that he wasn’t, but trust me, he was because he was honest as hell with me when he told me that he wanted a hit. It’s funny. He said to me, ‘Nile darling, if you come from art, you’ll always be associated with art.’

Nile: He specifically said to me that he wanted an album of hits, not just one hit, he wanted an album of hits. You have to remember, we come from the era where you wanted to drop the needle down on the first song and listen to side A and flip it over and listen to side B at some point in time. And if you notice the format of the Let’s Dance album is just like Chic album or Sister Sledge. The longest song, the big single is “Let’s Dance.” It’s the 12 inch version of “Let’s Dance.” Same thing. The 12 inch matches the same as the album. So I wanted “Modern Love” to be hooky and catch you, I wanted “China Girl” to be hooky and catch you. I wanted everything to catch you. And then we’d have that one or two artistic moments as we had on Chic albums, we had everything. Diana Ross does the same thing, has the great pop stuff, but then there’s that arty moment of “Friends to Friend” in six, eight and all that kind of stuff.

Nile: So when it came to “Modern Love,” I knew that that that was going to be a smash. I knew that we were going to have a chance to get our Rock and Roll chops off, but still wanted it to appeal to this new Black audience that David loved appealing to. I don’t know if you ever remember, but David went on Soul Train, and was one of the few artists that Don Cornelius let play live. So David loved being part of the whole R&B scene young Americans that.. So “Modern Love” was our chance to say, you know what? We were a black Rock and Roll band before we got the record deal to be Chic. We were actually trying to be, I guess, a reworking of Journey, because we had heard Journey at that time, and we were blown away by that sound. And we figured, “Well, okay, our band has got this vibe.” So anyway, when we got to do “Modern Love,” that was a time where we could say there can be Rock and Roll that also has a soul element.

Nile Rodgers Tells Apple Music About Working With Madonna…

Nile: She was wonderful. Man, it’s so interesting for me to look at the Madonna that we see in today’s world and compare her to the Madonna that I met in my world, because the Madonna from my world was playing what we used to call electro modern, it was called the same style of music had three names. It was called Latin hip hop or electro, like when she did things like everybody dancing, singing, and it was like Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam kind of vibe, where you dance the waybill. And so that was Madonna’s thing. And when she came to me with her original demos and they were all electronic, they were … I said to her, I said, “Madonna.” This is word for word, the conversation. She said to me, “Nile, these are the songs that are going to be on my next album, and if you don’t love them, you can’t produce me.” So I listened to all the songs down and I said, “Well, Madonna, I don’t love them all, but here’s the truth. By the time I finish with them, I will love them.” And I guess I didn’t get fired, so she went along with it…

Nile Rodgers and Zane Lowe On The Influence of “Good Times” on The Hip Hop Genre…

Zane Lowe: You know what Nile Rodgers, “Good Times,” I want to start there, because a friend of mine, Eddie James Francis Jr, said to me today, when that song was flipped, and the opening lyric is, “I said a Hip Hop.” Which invented Hip Hop, which was inspired by “Good Times,” you gave us Hip Hop, the tune. It’s facts.

Nile Rodgers: I’ll tell you my experience, and this is 100% true. So Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie, called me up one day and says, “Nile We want to take you to a Hip Hop.” That was the exact language. And I said, “What’s a Hip Hop?” She says, “Well, we’re going to take you and show you.” So they took me to a playground, a school yard playground, and there’s a DJ setup, and he had two turn tables, and on both turn tables was “Good Times.” And there was a line of MCs. I’m being honest, I didn’t understand it. There was a line of MCs, they all were just spitting to “Good Times.” And everybody had their own little rhymes to go with “Good Times.” And I just watched this, I was like, ” What is this?”







Sam Citron




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