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Nile Rodgers

Nile Rodgers

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stonishing string of hits for a wide variety of pop artists. He brought groove and soul to such rock and New Wave acts as INXS and Duran Duran, for whom he produced the latterâ¿¿s highest-selling single, "The Reflex," in 1983. His next record, Madonnaâ¿¿s Like a Virgin (1985), surpassed both efforts in both popularity and sheer impact on the national zeitgeist.For much of the 1980s, Rodgers lent his Midas touch to such performers as Robert Plantâ¿¿s Honeydrippers side project, Peter Gabriel, Mick Jagger, Bryan Ferry, Jeff Beck and the Thompson Twins. By 1985, Billboard had named him the No. 1 Singles Producer in the World, but he refused to rest on his laurels, overseeing Duran Duranâ¿¿s Notorious (1986) while performing similar duties for Grace Jones and Al Jarreau. His flawless guitar work was also heard on dozens of hits from the decade, from Steve Winwoodâ¿¿s massively popular "Higher Ground" single to material by Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson and many others. Rodgers closed out the decade by composing the orchestral score for Eddie Murphyâ¿¿s smash hit "Coming to America" (1988), which led to more soundtrack work, including "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988). The following year, he revived...

stonishing string of hits for a wide variety of pop artists. He brought groove and soul to such rock and New Wave acts as INXS and Duran Duran, for whom he produced the latterâ¿¿s highest-selling single, "The Reflex," in 1983. His next record, Madonnaâ¿¿s Like a Virgin (1985), surpassed both efforts in both popularity and sheer impact on the national zeitgeist.

For much of the 1980s, Rodgers lent his Midas touch to such performers as Robert Plantâ¿¿s Honeydrippers side project, Peter Gabriel, Mick Jagger, Bryan Ferry, Jeff Beck and the Thompson Twins. By 1985, Billboard had named him the No. 1 Singles Producer in the World, but he refused to rest on his laurels, overseeing Duran Duranâ¿¿s Notorious (1986) while performing similar duties for Grace Jones and Al Jarreau. His flawless guitar work was also heard on dozens of hits from the decade, from Steve Winwoodâ¿¿s massively popular "Higher Ground" single to material by Gabriel, Cyndi Lauper, Laurie Anderson and many others. Rodgers closed out the decade by composing the orchestral score for Eddie Murphyâ¿¿s smash hit "Coming to America" (1988), which led to more soundtrack work, including "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988). The following year, he revived the B-52â¿¿s dwindling fortunes by co-producing their comeback record, Cosmic Thing, which featured their hits "Love Shack" and "Roam," among others.

Rodgersâ¿¿ career showed no signs of slowing down in the 1990s, with stellar work on Family Style (1990), the posthumous collaboration between brothers Stevie Ray and Jimmy Vaughn, as well as hits for David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Ric Ocasek, Cathy Dennis and scores of other artists. In 1992, he and Edwards performed some of their greatest hits as Chic at a birthday party, which received overwhelmingly positive response from the attendees. Both men decided to re-launch the group with new vocalists and session musicians standing in for Thompson, who had joined the super group The Power Station. The new lineup released Chic-Ism in 1992 which spawned two Top 5 club singles in "Chic Mystique" and "Your Love," as well as a substantial world tour. Two years later, Rodgers gained control of a cocaine habit that had spiraled out of control for the better part of the previous two decades.

In 1996, Rodgersâ¿¿ exceptional career was feted by a concert in Japan featuring some of his most successful collaborators and admirers, including Edwards, Sister Sledge, Steve Winwood and Slash. The celebration, however, was cut short when Edwards died of pneumonia shortly after the show. After mourning his longtime partner and friend, Rodgers returned to a busy schedule that soon included his own record label and distribution unit, Sumthing, which produced soundtracks for top-selling video games like the "Halo" (Bungle, 2001-2010) and "Resident Evil" (Capcom, 1996- ) franchises. The September 11, 2001 attacks prompted Rodgers to launch the We Are Family Foundation, which encouraged cultural diversity and respect. With the help of Tommy Boy Records president Tom Silverman, Rodgers organized a new version of the Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family" that featured over 200 musicians and celebrities and a music video directed by Spike Lee. A subsequent documentary, "The Making and Meaning of We Are Family," played the Sundance Film Festival in 2002. The new millennium was also marked by Rodgersâ¿¿ receipt of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences New York Chapter Governorâ¿¿s Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as induction with Edwards into the Dance Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

In 2010, Rodgers was diagnosed with cancer, which became the focus of a blog on his official website, nilerogers.com. The announcement did little to slow down his prodigious workload, which soon included a remarkably frank autobiography, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny in 2010. The following year, he collaborated with Adam Lambert on the single "Shady" from his chart-topping album Trespassing (2012). That same year, Rodgers announced that he was collaborating with the electronica band Daft Punk on their latest release, despite still waging an ongoing battle against cancer.

By Paul Gaitabrief stint as a New Wave act called Allah and the Knife Wielding Punks, the pair returned to their R&B roots, enlisting former LaBelle drummer Tony Thompson and singers Norma Jean Wright and Alfa Anderson in a group they dubbed Chic.

Rodgers and Edwardsâ¿¿ vision for Chic was a sleek, stylish and polished group like the Motown acts of the past, with harmony vocals and Rodgersâ¿¿ stinging funk guitar riding the fluid, propulsive rhythm section of Edwardsâ¿¿ complicated bass line and Thompsonâ¿¿s flawless dance beats. Their tight arrangements allowed them to execute a flawless take on the breakdown, a musical flourish by which each of the instruments would drop out of the track, leaving only the rhythm section, before rebuilding to full strength. But Chicâ¿¿s first single, the Rodgers/Edwards-penned "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," failed to generate any label interest. The small Buddah label, which had scored hits for the Isley Brothers, Curtis Mayfield and Bill Withers, eventually, released the song in 1977, which exploded on the burgeoning disco scene. Atlantic Records swiftly moved in to sign Chic to their roster and reissue the song, which shot to No. 6 on the pop charts. A quickly assembled, self-titled debut soon followed, as well as a second hit, "Everybody Dance," in early 1978.

Chicâ¿¿s sophomore album, Câ¿¿est Chic (1978), truly established the group as superstars with the single "Le Freak," which shot to No. 1 on the Billboard pop, dance and R&B charts at the same time, making it the first single in Atlanticâ¿¿s storied catalog to do so. The success of the song and its follow-up, "I Want Your Love," which reached No. 7 on the Hot 100, made Câ¿¿est Chic one of the first disco albums to achieve platinum status. The following year, Rodgers and Edwards scored again with Risque (1979), which produced another chart-topping hit with "Good Times." Though not quite the history-making success as "Le Freak," the song would send seismic ripples throughout the music industry off and on for years. Established rock acts would add elements of funk and disco to their material, most notably the Rolling Stones with "Miss You" and Queenâ¿¿s "Another One Bites the Dust," which was almost a note-by-note remake of "Good Times." More importantly, the song would serve as the backing track for the Sugarhill Gangâ¿¿s "Rapperâ¿¿s Delight," one of the first hip-hop songs to achieve national airplay and a cornerstone of the rap genre as a whole.

Rodgers and Edwards were soon in-demand producers for other acts, most notably Sister Sledge, who scored back-to-back No. 1 R&B hits with "Heâ¿¿s the Greatest Dancer" and the monster hit "We Are Family" in 1979. The following year, they refashioned Diana Rossâ¿¿s career for the disco era with "Upside Down" and "Iâ¿¿m Coming Out" from her 1980 album Diana for Motown, and oversaw Blondie singer Deborah Harryâ¿¿s solo debut, Koo Koo, in 1981. But as they rose in prominence as producers, Chic had begun to suffer from the backlash against disco that surfaced in the early 1980s. Their fourth LP, Real People (1980), failed to reach gold sales status, and subsequent releases followed a similar downward trajectory. After completing the soundtrack to the movie "Soup for One" (1982), Chic would finish out their contract with Atlantic with Believer in 1983 before calling it quits that same year. Rodgers released his own solo album, Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove in 1983, but the album found few listeners. That same year, he teamed with David Bowie to produce Letâ¿¿s Dance (1983), which revitalized the British rockerâ¿¿s flagging career. Its success minted Rodgers as a producer with a Midas touch, and led to an a

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CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
 Diva's Christmas Carol, A (2000) Himself
3.
 Public Enemy (1999) Himself
4.
 I Love the '70s (2003) Interviewee
5.
 VH1 Presents the '80s (2001) Interviewee ("Rock In The Video Age") ("New Wave/Alternative Rock")
7.
 Dance Crazy (2000)
8.
 100 Greatest Dance Songs, The (2000) Interviewee
10.
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