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

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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 apple.co/_EssentialsRadio. 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?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

source:
Sam Citron
[email protected]

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Beastie Boys, for First Time Ever, Licenses Song for Commercial Use…for Joe Biden (Watch Ad )

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B3844B20-0E87-4F2D-B93D-FEFF0299571F_4_5005_c

“The Blind Pig” campaign ad for Joe Biden

*The Beastie Boys had never before licensed any of their songs for an ad until this presidential election.

During Sunday’s Steelers/Browns game, their 1994 classic “Sabotage” was featured in a spot for the campaign of Democratic nominee Joe Biden. The ad focuses on how the COVID-19 shutdowns have decimated the live music industry. It highlights a club in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Blind Pig, that remains shuttered after a 50-year run as a pillar of the community. The owner blames its closing on what he considers Donald Trump’s shortsighted response to the coronavirus crisis.

According to Variety, a Biden campaign spokesperson said the Beastie Boys, who had “never licensed music for an ad until now,” agreed to the use of “Sabotage” in the spot “because of the importance of the election.

The song begins about 40 seconds into the 60-second spot, allowing the climactic appearance of Biden and running mate Kamala Harris in masks to appear as if they were part of the classic Spike Jonez video.

According to Variety,

The late Adam Yauch stipulated in his will that the music he was involved in creating could not be used for product advertising purposes. The group has sued Monster Energy and GoldieBox for using their songs in the past. They have allowed “Sabotage” to be used in trailers for “Star Trek” and the “Destiny 2” videogame.

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Kandy Apple Redd Raise Our Temperature with ‘Do Things’ Their Sexy Isotopia Records Debut

The Clinton Cousins take a bite of the Big Apple in a sleek new video in time for Autumn Central Park backdrop invokes memories of P-funk’s Cosmic Slop

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Kandy Apple Red DO THINGS SINGLE COVER ART1 1080x1080

*As Autumn comes and cooler weather prevails, Kandy Apple Redd, raise the temperature with with a new sexy sound on “Do Things” their Isotopia Records debut.

The video for “Do Things” helmed by award winning Director Gabriel ‘Video God’ Hart, depicts the seasons in New York City with the duo performing in many popular locations including Central Park and Times Square, celebrating the treasures of pre-pandemic New York – a ‘love letter’ of sorts to the beleaguered city in crisis. “Do Things” is streaming everywhere. [Via player above and http://lnk.to/DoThingsEL]

Cousins Tonysha Nelson and Patavian Lewis create melodic layers setting a mood that make lovers want to “Do Things” to one another.

The music video, produced by label head Constance Hauman, took a year to film and assemble in order to capture New York’s various moods.

MORE NEWS: Chadwick Boseman Died With NO Will – His Wife is Now Seeking to Administer Estate

Kandy Apple Red DO THINGS screenshot 5 1080x1080

Kandy Apple Red – screenshot

As the granddaughters of legendary Funk and R&B maestro George Clinton, the Clinton cousins’ gift for music came naturally, but not without effort and commitment.

Kandy Apple Redd has been on the road for the past decade honing their craft performing in concert with Parliament-Funkadelic over 200 nights a year. It was on tour where they met Isotopia magic maker, Constance Hauman who pledged to work to polish their proverbial apple.

“Working on our “Do Things” video was an exciting experience. Being in Central Park, filming in the same spot our grandfather (George Clinton of Parliament-Funkadelic) filmed “Cosmic Slop”was euphoric, and as the New Yorkers watched us we felt a scense of gratification knowing we were carrying on the legacy”  Tonysha Nelson, Kandy Apple Redd

Named to the Hip-Hop 100, Gabriel “Video God” Hart is known for his work with Kendrick Lamar, Migos, Ne-yo, and  George Clinton among many other notables. “Working with Gabriel is always an inspiring experience” says Tonysha adding, “He pushes us to our best and makes us look amazing. He’s a pioneer in the game, so it’s always a pleasure!”  “Do Things” was the second professional pairing for Hart and Hauman who were the creative forces behind the epic multi-continent clip “Phat Blunt ft. George Clinton” by Isotopia labelmates, Miss Velvet and The Blue Wolf.

Premiering Monday October 19th at (AM PST / Noon EST) on YouTube, Kandy Apple Redd wants you to watch and decide who you want to “Do Things” to this cuffing season. [http://bit.ly/KARDoThings]

Connect with KAR
www.kandyappleredd.com
IG @kandyappleredd

 

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Steven Ivory: That Day I was Peggy ‘Mod Squad’ Lipton

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Peggy Lipton (Getty)

Mod Squad season 1 poster

*I didn’t care for Derek.  He had the kind of nervous energy grown-ups attributed to kids who ate too much sugar.

He talked too much, laughed too loud, and despite  Melvin’s mom’s  edict  for us to keep our  13 year-old selves   close to  home on that still, humid, lazy Oklahoma  City   Saturday afternoon—she said Melvin’s uncle was driving up from tiny Seminole, about 50 miles away  from us—Derek kept insisting the three of us abandon our perch on the peeling white banister along the front porch of Melvin’s family’s faded lemon clapboard house and go hang out at Washington Park.

When it was clear we weren’t budging, Derek introduced   another idea.

“Let’s play Mod Squad!”

“Cool,” said Melvin.

Before  he  or I could say anything else, Derek blurted,  “I’m Linc!”

Like most children, those in my predominantly Black, Eastside neighborhood played  pretend. You know—pretend to be someone or something you’re not: a cowboy,  fireman,  policeman,   soldier.  When we got older but still kids, we pretended to be characters from our favorite TV shows.   After it  made its premiere on ABC-TV in 1968,  one of our favorite things to play was  “The Mod Squad.”

The drama, starring 20-something white unknowns Michael Cole, Peggy Lipton and black newcomer Clarence Williams III, about a trio of young, hip undercover cops (“One Black, One White, One Blonde,” went the show’s catchphrase), might have seemed unbelievable, but in 1968, we  desperately  needed the escape.

MORE NEWS: This Fool (Catrell Walls) Charged with Sexually Assaulting 7-Yr-Old Cousin During School Livestream!

Martin Luther King (Getty)

Martin Luther King (Getty)

Think things are crazy today?  Consider 1968: On April 4th, six months  before  “Mod Squad”’s  debut,  the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.  It was one of the few times I saw mama  cry.  King’s murder cast a pall of anger, fear and hopelessness over black America, where, in several major cities,  riots broke out.

That  June, Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy,  younger brother of President  John F. Kennedy and the man on whom Black America hung its  last, anguished   political hope, was gunned down during a campaign appearance at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.  Meanwhile,  the Viet Nam war,  under the direction of President   Lyndon Johnson,  raged on.

At least  “The  Mod Squad”’s  cool “counter culture” cops  took  a smidgen of edge off  how Blacks felt about law enforcement.  After all the horrific evening news images of Blacks being beaten water hosed and shot during  the nation’s civil unrest,  young  Black America was more than ready to see a Soul Brother like Williams’s Lincoln “Linc” Hayes character, with his together ‘fro, dark glasses and super cool demeanor, sock it to white crooks.  Clarence Williams would go on to an acting career of varied roles, notably, almost two decades later, as father to Prince‘s character  in “Purple Rain.” But in ’68, he was Linc, whose dramatic running dive while chasing down a bad guy became the trademark move every young, male black “Mod Squad”  fan imitated at least once.

But I’d never played “Mod Squad.” How could you,  with no  female around to be Lipton’s Julie Barnes?   See, when it came to pretend, I was adamant  about authenticity.  Some  people  have an aversion to different foods on their plate touching;  it was the same with me and playing pretend.  It had to be right.

I remember attending a boy’s birthday party, where, in the backyard, some of the kids were playing pretend.  There was  Superman, “Kato” ( the sidekick to TV’s “Green Hornet,” portrayed on the show by a young unknown martial artist named Bruce Lee), the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch, somebody pretending to be Greg Morris’ character  on “Mission Impossible”  and  60s’ TV private eye, “Mannix.”

I  found it all disgusting:  Not in a million years would Mannix have  ever been acquainted  with the Human Torch.  Ever.

I’d bully  Tonymy younger brother,  into joining  me and our  friend  Donnie Minnis  in pretending to be the Beatles: Would it kill you to stand here,  hold that broom  and be George Harrison?  I’d assign Donnie to be John Lennon.  I was always Paul.  We didn’t have a Ringo.  Okay, so I wasn’t always consistent in my insistence on authenticity.

Peggy Lipton - Getty - 60247150_2531490486895688_1340044906046947328_o

Peggy Lipton

After Derek jumped on being “Linc,” Melvin  immediately  said he’d be “Mod Squad”’s Cool White Boy, “Pete Cochran.”   Then they  looked at me.  Uh uh.  No way  am I going  to be the chick. I’m not a girl.

“But we just playin’,” Derek coyly pushed back.  “You know I  ain’t really Linc.  Melvin ain’t that white cat.  We just playin’.”

“Yeah,  but…I ain’t  doin’  it.”

We went back and forth about this, before Derek tossed a grenade into the mix:  “…And we was gon’ play Mod Squad all the way to Grady’s,” he said, referring to the mid-sized trailer a few blocks away that had been permanentized by a cement foundation and plumbing into an air conditioned, counter seating-only diner serving  burgers and hot dogs.  “I was going to  treat.”  Melvin’s eyes widened.  Again, he looked at me.

Shoot. I did not want to do this.  I suspected  Derek simply wanted me to be Julie Barnes in the name of humiliation.

chilli-dog

But the stakes were high.  A  Grady’s hot dog, smothered in chili and onions,  accessorized  by a  bag  of Lay’s potato chips, all of it washed down with an ice cold  grape  Nehi pop, was no joke.

So I relented to being Julie Barnes.  But I had rules. For one, they  couldn’t call me Julie Barnes.  No yelling out,  “Let’s get outta here, Julie!” or “Duck, Julie, it’s a bomb!” None of that.  Melvin’s  mother agreed that he could go to Grady’s.  However,  coolness had its limits: she gave him some change and instructed him to at some point Mod Squad himself into Safeway and  return with a bottle of Clorox.

 Playing Mod Squad involved what playing pretend usually entailed: a lot of stylized running, peeking around the corners of trees, cars, buildings, and socking it out with imaginary crooks.

As Julie,  I merely walked with the guys.  Thanks  to God’s divine mercy, on TV Julie Barnes never sashayed  or  was purposefully “sexy.” Indeed,  Lipton’s character, which appeared perpetually contemplative and  seldom smiled, was the first woman in a man’s world that I remember watching on TV who didn’t exist simply for the pleasure of men.  She was a human being.  Quiet, introspective.

We fought crime all the way to Safeway ’s massive parking lot,  where we ran into  Joseph  Weeks.  Fifteen,  JW, as we called him, seemed even older, his maturity the result of stunning circumstances.

When his mother passed away suddenly,  with no father in the house and apparently no extended family to speak  of, JW and his two siblings–Pam and Jonathan, thirteen and fourteen, respectively–all working various jobs after school (where they  made good grades), simply continued living in the ramshackle  house on their own.  They raised themselves.

Jimmy Stewart - gettyimages-3169699-2048x2048

Jimmy Stewart (Getty)

Tall, lanky, handsome, smart, resourceful and dignified for a kid, JW  always reminded me of  a mashup of actor Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life,” and Gregory Peck in “To Kill A Mockingbird” were the combination  Black and teenaged.  JW’s dry humor could strike like a cobra. He didn’t suffer Derek’s silly antics easily, often putting Derek in his place, even when Derek didn’t always know it was happening.

“Wha’ chall doin.’”

“Playing Mod Squad,” said Melvin.

“Oh yeah?  Who’s Linc?”

“I am,” Derek said proudly.

I’m the white boy….” Chimed Melvin.

“Just two Mod Squad?” JW asked. “Where’s the chick?” He looked at me.  I looked away.

“We’re going to Grady’s,” Derek interjected, attempting to impress  JW.  “Wanna come? I’m buyin’….”

“Naw, I just ate.”

“Where you headed,’” I asked.

JW said he was going over to Darvin Bennett’s house, who, under the guidance of his dad,  owned a monster Lionel train set, legendary in the neighborhood,  that nearly  took up  their whole  garage.  “You wanna come?”

I looked at the Mod Squad. “I’m goin’ to Grady’s,” Melvin insisted, as if to say, no train set can compete with a  hotdog smothered in chili  and onions.  And cheese.  Melvin liked grated cheddar  on his.

Derek’s covert glare at  me said, Ima tell JW you’re Julie Barnes.  Nervous,  I braced  myself  for  the  ridicule…that never came.  Derek didn’t say boo  about me being Julie.  I bailed on the Squad for JW and the train set, but not without finding new  love for Derek that day, for keeping his mouth  shut.

While taking an alley shortcut to Darvin’s, we came upon a group of kids I didn’t know.  Turns out, they were playing Justice League of America, D.C. Comics’ collective of superhero crimefighters, the comic book’s original version of which included, among others,   Superman, Batman, Aquaman and The Flash.  JW knew the kid who, as Green Lantern, seemed to be running things.

Unlike the usual pretend-play, where the enemy is imaginary, these kids were about to head over to the grounds of Woodson Elementary, where another group of kids—evil space invaders—were waiting to do battle.  At stake was dominion of the Universe.

JW’s buddy said that, were we interested, we could round out the League.  “We could use a Batman,” the kid said matter-of-factly.  “We had one, but he had to go home and cut the grass….”

“I’ll be Batman,” I perked up.

“No, I’ll be Batman,” said JW.

“Nope, I said it first.  I’m Batman.”

JW waited until his friend walked away and then turned to me.  “Now, niggarito,” he undertoned firmly, “I just rescued yo’ Black ass from being a white woman.   I’m GON’ be Batman, motherfucka.”

So JW was hip all along.  That he knew I was Julie Barnes back there  and never said anything  made him my real life hero.

Robin the Boy Wonder  wasn’t in the  original Justice League, but what’s a small discrepancy  among super friends?

Quincy Jones & Peggy Lipton (Getty)

Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones (Getty)

Fast forward  nine years  to Los Angeles, 1977.  I’m standing in the lobby  of  the  Music Center downtown swigging  Heineken with Ed Eckstein, then running Quincy Jones Productions.  We’re awaiting the start of a concert for jazz-rock band Return To Forever, when Ecktein’s famous boss, with whom I’d become acquainted through my young career as a music journalist,  suddenly appears.  He’s not alone.

“Steve, have you met Peggy?” Quincy  asks,  just as she walks up. It’s…it’s Julie Barnes!  Only it’s not Julie Barnes,  it’s Peggy Lipton.  Casually chic in a flowing white summer dress and immediately personable,  the  actress is nothing like her old Mod Squad character.  For one thing, Lipton smiles. “Hi ya doin,’” she says, extending a small  hand that executes a firm handshake.

So  taken was I to meet Lipton that I’m sure I didn’t give proper respect to another introduction Quincy made to me right after Lipton: his runnin’ buddy standing right there, legendary composer Henry Mancini, with his wife, singer Virginia  O’Connor-Mancini.

It was all over in a matter of minutes, the surreal  encounter.  Soon, Eckstein and I were in our seats digging the ferocious musicianship of RTF’s Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Lenny White and Al Di Meola.  The concert climaxed with an encore  of Stevie Wonder being led onstage to join the quartet for a perfunctory rendition of  Wonder’s “Superstition,”  made exciting only by the unexpected presence of Wonder  himself.

I enjoyed it all immensely. But even before Wonder’s arrival,  in my mind,  the night’s music  had been relegated to serving as soundtrack to sentimental memories. All I could think about was childhood buddies Melvin, Derek and JW, and the fact that I’d just met Ms. Mod Squad.  After the concert Eckstein and I headed into Hollywood for Greenblatt’s deli, when what I really craved was a Grady’s hot dog with  chili.  And plenty onions.  END

Steven Ivory

Steven Ivory

Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via [email protected]

 

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