Chic is an American band that is best known for a string of disco hits in the 1970s 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). Signing to Atlantic Records in 1977, the group is regarded as one of the most influential bands of its generation, crafting a unique disco funk sound that continues to dominate the airwaves today.
Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards met and formed a band in 1970 while working as hired musicians in New York City. After struggling to break as a rock fusion band, the pair decided to produce disco songs in an attempt to cater to the changing sound of popular music. Forming Chic, they released "Everybody Dance", which became the band’s first commercial success.
“I think [Nile and Bernard] are one of the most brilliantly devised guitar/bass...situations in music period. The two of them are like a rhythm machine.” - John Taylor, Duran Duran
After the success of “Everybody Dance”, Chic enjoyed a number of hit singles on Atlantic Records. Most notably, the band’s 1978 smash “Le Freak” was the group’s first #1 chart topping single, selling over $7 million copies worldwide. At that time it was the most successful single in Atlantic Records history. Each Chic recording featured the signature rhythm section, which included Nile Rodgers on guitar, Bernard Edwards on bass and Tony Thompson on drums. After working with Nile and Bernard, John Taylor of Duran Duran once remarked, “I think [Nile and Bernard] are one of the most brilliantly devised guitar/bass...situations in music period. The two of them are like a rhythm machine.” Their tight grooves have been described as the “special sauce” of the Chic sound.
In 1979 at the height of the “Disco Sucks” movement, many disco bands suffered from the changing times and a growing dissatisfaction with disco records and the associated subculture. Consequently, Chic’s popularity began to wane. However, Nile and Bernard continued to experience success as songwriters and producers for various artists. The pair delivered hit albums for artists like Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, Debbie Harry, David Bowie and many more.
“I turned to Bernard and said, ‘Where the hell did you get that bass line from...that’s like one of the most amazing things I’ve ever recorded or ever heard come out of a bass.’” - Bob Clearmountain, Chic Engineer
Today, Nile Rodgers is the last surviving member of the famed Chic rhythm section, but their sound continues to be in hot demand. For example, the bass line from “Good Times” is prominently featured on “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, a record credited with being the first commercially successful hip hop single. Bob Clearmountain, the sound engineer who recorded “Good Times”, once recalled: “I turned to Bernard and said, ‘Where the hell did you get that bass line from...that’s like one of the most amazing things I’ve ever recorded or ever heard come out of a bass.’”
“I can depend on somebody finding a gem in a Chic record. There’s gonna be some kid who comes along and...samples it and comes with a big hit.” - Nile Rodgers
Chic records have been consistently sampled by a myriad of music producers across various genres of music. Nile Rodgers once commented, “I can depend on somebody finding a gem in a Chic record. There’s gonna be some kid who comes along and...samples it and comes with a big hit.” In 2013, Nile teamed up with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams to produce the #1 hit single “Get Lucky”. The Chic “special sauce” is ever present on this track as performed by Nile in a way that’s nearly identical to his form on classic Chic recordings.
Chic’s influence on pop music is a testament to the group’s everlasting appeal. Click here to visit the Chic artist page of Spotify and listen to some of the band’s classic hits. You will be sure to find some compositions that have served as instrumentals for some of the greatest hip hop recordings of all time. Also check out Chic’s bandpage on iTunes.