In a post-David Bowie world, is there a cooler musician alive than Nile Rodgers? I’m not certain there is. Aside from what he can do rhythmically with an electric guitar, there are the dreads, the sunnies, the beret, the suits and most crucially, the sense of being entirely comfortable in his own skin.
Turning 65 today, Nile Rodgers is one of the most successful and prolific songwriters, producers and rhythm guitarists of all time. Even just making a short list of artists he’s worked with is a tough ask because this is someone who’s collaborated with everyone from Diana Ross to Madonna, from Paul Simon to Duran Duran, from Daft Punk to Sister Sledge and of course, the previously mentioned Bowie.
Like Bowie, to really appreciate how cool Nile Rodgers is, you need to see him interviewed. I always thought he could’ve been a great radio announcer with that badass baritone, though he was probably too busy inspiring generations of music fans with his guitar. Particularly music fans who love to dance. Because if not for Nile Rodgers, his band Chic and the songs they created, there would also have been none of the songs he influenced. Whether it’s Another One Bites The Dust, Rapper’s Delight, Mo Money Mo Problems, Getting Jiggy With It or even songs like INXS’s Need You Tonight, the rhythms and stylings of this man are heard everywhere.
To celebrate Nile’s 65th birthday, seven of the 12 featured songs this week on my classic soul and R&B iHeartRadio station, Coast Soul, were written and produced by him. There’s the tight funk-pop of Upside Down and I’m Coming Out (Diana Ross), the ultra smooth disco anthem We Are Family (Sister Sledge), the mammoth hits he had himself with I Want Your Love, Le Freak and Good Times (Chic), the borrowed bass-line that helped give rise to hip-hop with Rapper’s Delight (Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five) and the biggest hit of 2013, Get Lucky (Daft Punk, Pharrell & Nile).
Tune in to hear the stories behind these songs, plus an interview clip with Nile as he explains the creation of Get Lucky – a song that sold almost 10 million copies and reached the top 10 in no less than 32 countries. Below is the link to listen online, plus don’t forget that a two-hour version of Coast Soul also plays every Sunday night on the station Coast. Thanks as always for listening!