Its commercially successful disco songs include “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).
During 1977, Edwards and Rodgers recruited drummer Tony Thompson, formerly with LaBelle and Ecstasy, Passion, and Pain, to join the band; they performed as a trio doing cover versions at various gigs.
Thompson recommended keyboardist Raymond Jones, 19, to join the band, as he had worked with him in the hit group Ecstasy, Passion and Pain.
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 the tracks “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”.
As a result, Chic became a support act.
Soon after the sessions ended for the debut album, the band members began to work on Wright’s self-titled debut solo album Norma Jean, released during 1978.
This album included the successful nightclub song “Saturday.”
To facilitate Wright’s solo career, the band had agreed to contract her with a separate record company.
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.
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.
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.
As the co-founder of CHIC, Rodgers pioneered a musical language that generated chart- topping pop hits like “Le Freak,” sparked the advent of hip-hop with “Good Times,” and won CHIC nine Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominations.
His work in the CHIC Organization and his productions for artists like David Bowie and Madonna have sold over 200 million albums and 50 million singles worldwide while his innovative, trendsetting collaborations with Daft Punk, Avicii, Disclosure, and Sam Smith reflect the vanguard of contemporary music.
If 2015 is any indication, Nile Rodgers is about to set more precedents in his own illustrious career. While “Le Freak” will be inducted into the 2015 Grammy Hall of Fame, Rodgers will receive the President’s Merit Award during the Recording Academy’s 8th Annual Grammy Week Celebration for the Producers & Engineers Wing of NARAS.
He’ll also appear on the new PBT series Speakeasy for a 60-minute interview with Valerie Simpson. Signed to Warner Bros.
Records, Rodgers is currently preparing the first new CHIC album in nearly 25 years.
It’s an historic undertaking that bridges two generations of CHIC, including late co-founder Bernard Edwards, drummer Tony Thompson, and Luther Vandross.
The first single “I’ll Be There” is slated to drop in March 2015 and will be followed by an album release later in the year.