The Band Chic’s Good Times [VIDEOS]
“Good Times” and “Le Freak” are amongst “Jersey’s Favorite Hits.” But there’s more to this “minimalist disco” group!
Nile Rodgers (guitar & vocals) and Bernard Edwards (bass & vocals) met in New York City in 1970, as session musicians on other bands’ recording sessions. They soon formed their own band, “The Boys,” and later “The Big Apple Band” (NOT to be confused with “Walter Murphy & The Big Apple Band/A Fifth Of Beethoven”). While they played various venues around the city, a record contract remained out of reach.
In 1977, fomer LaBelle ( ) drummer Tony Thompson joined the band. As a trio, they continued to play cover versions of hit records at clubs around the Big Apple. Then, Thompson recommends that keyboardist Raymond Jones join the growing band. Now, all that was needed was a singer: solo artist Norma Jean (Wright) was signed to the band, and “Dance, Dance Dance (Yowash, Yowsah, Yowsa)” was recorded.
The self-titled “Chic” album was realeased on the Atlantic Records label. And, to replicate their album sound in concert, Edwards and Rodgers wanted to add another female singer to the band. Norma Jean’s friend Luci Martin joined Chic in early 1978.
Due to record company contractual conflicts, Norma Jean left Chic in 1978, and was replaced by Alfa Anderson, who had sung backup on the debut Chic album. During this time, the band worked on albums for Norma Jean, and more memorably, Sister Sledge (“We Are Family”/#1, 1978).
For Sister Sledge, Rodgers and Edwards wrote and produced “He’s The Greatest Dancer” (originally to be a Chic song) in exchange for “I Want Your Love” (originally a Sister Sledge song)!
It is said that Chic wanted to include a deep, hidden meaning in every song. “Le Freak,” off the “C’est Chic” album, is a great example. Its the result of a late-nght jam session in Edwards’ apartment, after the band failed to meet with Grace Jones at “Studio 54″ on New Year’s Eve 1977. They weren’t cool enough…and the doorman wouldn’t let Chic in!
The song’s original refrain “Aah (rhymes with truck) off!”–intended for 54’s doorman–was replaced that night by “Aah freak out” after discarding “Aah freak off!”
“LeFreak” was an instant success, reaching #1, and selling over 6 million copies. It was the biggest selling single for Atlantic (Warner Records) until Madonna’s “Vogue” in 1990! And, needless to say, “Chic” was forever cool enough to get into “Studio 54.”
The album “Risque” followed, with the single “Good Times.”
Chic–the band that considered themselves a rock for the disco movement–suffered during the disco backlash of the early 80s, and disbanded in 1983. However, Rodgers and Edwards continued working (solo and together), writing, producing and playing for such varied ’80s artists as Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, The Honeydrippers, ABC, The Power Station, Robert Palmer, INXS, Duran Duran, and many others!
In 1989, Chic reunited, realeasing the single “Chic Mystique” and the album “Chic-Ism.” The band played all over the world to audience and critic’s acclaim!
In 1996,”Billboard Magazine” recognized Nile Rodgers as “The Top Producer In The World.”
Sadly, Bernard Edwards died in 1996, and Tony Thompson died in 2003.
Since 2000, four Chic albums have been released: three “Best Of” compilations, and a live album.
Chic has been nominated for inclusion in the “Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame” seven times! Isn’t it time?!
Nile Rodgers and Chic continue to tour.
Rodgers, who is now battling a form of prostate cancer, released his autobiography: “LeFreak: An Upside Down Story Of Family, Disco And Destiny” last October.
What are Nile Rodgers and Chic up to now? Click here for the official website!
Be sure to click on Nile Rodger’s video biography at the top of the site! Its a fast-paced 2 minutes you won’t regret!!