Chic (band)

Chic (band)
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Genres Disco, soul, R&B, funk
Years active 1976–1983, 1990–1992, 1996, 1998–present
Labels Buddah, Atlantic, Warner Bros., Sumthing Else
Associated acts Sister Sledge
Diana Ross
Sheila B. Devotion
Deborah Harry
Luther Vandross
Carly Simon
The Honeydrippers
Power Station
Nile Rodgers
Sylver Logan Sharp
Richard Hilton
Gerardo Velez
Omar Hakim
Jessica Wagner
Jerry Barnes
Bill Holloman
Cherie Mitchell
Curt Ramm
Past members
Bernard Edwards
Tony Thompson
Alfa Anderson
Raymond Jones
Sammy Figueroa
Andy Schwartz
Robert Sabino
Norma Jean Wright
Luci Martin
Karen Milne
Cheryl Hong
Marianne Carroll
Fonzi Thornton
Michelle Cobbs
Karen Karlsrud
Valerie Haywood
Jocelyn Brown
Lenny Pickett
Dolette McDonald
Marty Celay
Brenda White
Curtis King
Nathaniel S. Hardy, Jr.
Dave Weckl
Dennis Collins
Jenn Thomas
Tawatha Agee
Sonny Emory
Sterling Campbell
Andreas Levin
Tanya Ramtulla
Suzette Henry
Audra Lomax Parker
Christine Gordon
Christopher Max
Chazz Oliver
Jill Jones
Philippe Saisse

Chic (pronounced /ˈʃiːk/ "sheek", sometimes capitalized completely as CHIC) was an African American disco and R&B band that was organized during 1976 by guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards. It is known best for its commercially successful disco songs, including "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" (1977), "Everybody Dance" (1977), "Le Freak" (1978), "I Want Your Love" (1978), "Good Times" (1979), and "My Forbidden Lover" (1979).



1970–1978: Origins and early singers

Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards met during 1970, as fellow session musicians working in the New York City area. They formed a rock band named The Boys and later The Big Apple Band, playing numerous gigs around New York City. Despite interest in their demos, they never got a record contract.

During 1977, Edwards and Rodgers had former LaBelle and Ecstasy, Passion, & Pain drummer Tony Thompson join the band, performing as a trio doing cover versions at various gigs. Thompson recommended keyboardist Raymond Jones, 19, to join the band, they had worked together with the hit group Ecstasy, Passion & Pain previously. Needing a singer to become a full band, they engaged Norma Jean Wright by an agreement permitting her to have a solo career in addition to her work for the band. Using a young recording engineer Bob Clearmountain, they created a demonstration tape which included the tracks "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" and "Everybody Dance". As a result, Chic became a support act.

Now contracted with Atlantic Records company, during 1977 they released the self-titled debut album Chic which was an extension of the demonstration tape. But Edwards and Rogers were now convinced that to replicate the bands recording studio sound live with sound and visuals, they needed to add another female singer to front the band. Wright suggested her friend Luci Martin, who became a member during late winter/early spring of 1978.

Soon after the sessions ended for its debut album, the band members began to work on Wright's self-titled debut solo album Norma Jean, released during 1978. This album contained the successful nightclub song "Saturday." To facilitate Wright's solo career, the band had agreed to contract her with a separate record company. Unfortunately the legalities of this contract eventually forced Wright to end her relationship with the band during mid-1978, but not before she participated with the sessions for Chic-produced Sister Sledge album We Are Family. She was replaced by Alfa Anderson, who had done back-up vocals on the band’s debut album. For the Sister Sledge project, Edwards and Rogers wrote and produced "He's the Greatest Dancer" (originally intended to be a Chic song) in exchange for "I Want Your Love" (intended originally to be performed by Sister Sledge).

1978–1979: "Le Freak" and "Good Times"

During late 1978, the band released the album C'est Chic, containing one of its best-known tracks, "Le Freak." Created from a jam session in Edwards's apartment, after they had failed on New Years Eve of 1977 to meet with Grace Jones at New York's exclusive nightclub Studio 54. The original refrain "Aaa, fuck off", intended for the doormen of Studio 54, was replaced that night with "Aaa, freak out" after trying a version with "Aaa, freak off."[1] The resultant single was a great success, scoring #1 on the US charts and selling more than 6 million copies. It was the best selling single album ever of Atlantic's parent company, Warner Music, until replaced by Madonna's Vogue during 1990.

The next year, the group released the Risqué album and the lead track "Good Times", one of the most influential songs of the era. The track was the basis of Grandmaster Flash's "Adventures on the Wheels of Steel" and the Sugarhill Gang's breakthrough hip-hop music single, "Rapper's Delight", and it has been sampled since by many dance and hip-hop acts, as well as being the inspiration for Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust", Blondie's "Rapture", and the bass line for Daft Punk "Around the World".

At the same time, Edwards and Rodgers composed, arranged, performed, and produced many influential disco and Rhythm & Blues records for various artists, including Sister Sledge's albums We Are Family (1979) and Love Somebody Today (1980); Sheila and B. Devotion's "Spacer"; Diana Ross's 1980 album Diana, which included the successful singles "Upside Down", "I'm Coming Out" and "My Old Piano"; Carly Simon's "Why" (from 1982 soundtrack Soup For One); and Debbie Harry's debut solo album KooKoo.

Chic also helped introduce the world to a young vocalist named Luther Vandross, who sang for several of Chic's albums.

1980s–1990s: Disbanding, other projects, a brief reunion

After the anti-disco reaction, the band struggled to obtain both airplay and sales, and during the early 1980s they disbanded. Rodgers and Edwards produced records for a variety of artists together and separately. The Chic rhythm section of Rodgers, Edwards, and Thompson provided instrumental back-up for the successful album Diana for Diana Ross during 1980, with Rodgers and Edwards producing. It yielded the number-one single "Upside Down" and the top ten song "I'm Coming Out." "My Old Piano" was also a top ten single for Ross in the United Kingdom. Rodgers co-produced David Bowie's 1983 album Let's Dance and was also responsible largely for the early success of Madonna during 1984 with her Like a Virgin album, which again reunited Rodgers, Thompson, and Edwards, with keyboardist Rob Sabino and collaborators Jeff Bova and Jimmy Bralower. During 1984, Rodgers was involved with a project of the band The Honeydrippers and helped produce that band's only EP. Thompson and Edwards worked with the group Power Station on its successful 1985 album, as well as Power Station main singer Robert Palmer's solo success Riptide that same year, both of which Edwards produced. During 1986, Rodgers produced the fourth album from Duran Duran, Notorious. Bernard Edwards later gave Duran Duran's bassist John Taylor the bass guitar he'd played during on many of Chic's songs. Taylor had long been a Chic fan, his style influenced greatly by Edwards' playing.

After a 1989 birthday party where Rodgers, Edwards, Paul Shaffer, and Anton Fig played old Chic songs, Rodgers and Edwards organized a reunion of the old band. They recorded new material—- a single, "Chic Mystique" (remixed by Masters at Work) and subsequent album Chic-Ism, both of which charted—- and played live all over the world, to great audience and critical acclaim.

During 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. His longtime musical partner Edwards died of pneumonia at age 43 during the trip on April 18, 1996. His final performance was recorded and released as Live at the Budokan. Chic continued to tour with new musicians.

Thompson died of kidney cancer on November 12, 2003 at age 48.

2000-present: Compilations, Nominations, and Venues

Chic has released four new albums during the 2000s (3 compilations, 1 live album): The Very Best of Chic, Good Times: The Very Best of the Hits & the Remixes, A Night in Amsterdam, and The Definitive Groove Collection. A box set, Nile Rodgers Presents The Chic Organisation, Vol.1: Savoir Faire was released in 2010, covering Rodgers and Edwards' productions both for Chic and for other artists up to the original break-up of the partnership in 1983.

Chic has been nominated for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seven times: 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and again for 2011. Rodgers and Chic continue to perform to major audiences worldwide.

In October, 2010 Nile Rodgers was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, for which he has undergone radical, life-saving surgery. He is currently recovering from this operation.

Influences and awards

Chic influenced the vocal and music style of the Italian-American disco band Change, which had a series of successes during the early 1980s.

In addition to refining a relatively minimalist disco sound, Chic helped to inspire other artists to create their own sound. For example, The Sugarhill Gang used "Good Times" as the basis for its success "Rapper's Delight", which helped initiate the hip hop recorded music format as we know today. Later that year, Vaughn Mason and Crew sampled "Good Times" on its song "Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll." "Good Times" was used also by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five on its hit "..On the Wheels of Steel," which was used in the end sequence of the first hip-hop movie, Wild Style, from 1982. Blondie's 1980 US number-one song "Rapture" was not only influenced by "Good Times" but was a direct tribute to Chic, and main singer Deborah Harry's 1981 debut solo album Koo Koo was produced by Edwards and Rodgers.

Chic was cited as an influence by the majority of successful bands from Great Britain during the 1980s. John Taylor, the bassist from Duran Duran claims the bass part of their top 10 single "Rio" was influenced by Edwards' work with Chic.[2] Even Johnny Marr of The Smiths has cited the group as a formative influence. Rodgers guitar work has been so emulated as to become commonplace, and Edwards' lyrical bass is also much-cited in music circles, as is Thompson's recorded drumwork. Queen got the inspiration for its single "Another One Bites the Dust" from Bernard Edwards' familiar bass guitar riff on "Good Times" after John Deacon met the band in The Power Station recording studio. (Source: "Everybody Dance: Chic and the Politics of Disco")

The French duo Modjo used the guitar sample from Chic's "Soup for one" as the basic theme for its most famous single Lady (Hear Me Tonight).

On September 19, 2005, the group was honored at the Dance Music Hall of Fame ceremony in New York when they were inducted in three categories: 1) Artist Inductees, 2) Record Inductees for "Good Times," and 3) Producers Inductees, Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards.

Currently (2011), the song "Funny Bone" can be heard quite often as the bumper music on the Rush Limbaugh show daily. Bumper music is snippets of songs to segue commercial slots.

Chic have been nominated for 2009 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.[3]

Line up

Core band:

The Chic Strings:[4]

  • Karen Milne
  • Marianne Carroll
  • Valerie Haywood
  • Cheryl Hong
  • Karen Karlsrud
  • Gene Orloff

Additional personnel:


See also


  • "Everybody Dance: Chic and the Politics of Disco", book by Daryl Easlea, Helter Skelter Publishing (24 Oct 2004), ISBN 1-900924-56-0 [1]


External links

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