You Say It's Your Birthday: Nile Rodgers of Chic

Celebrating his 45th birthday today is famed Chic guitarist and record

producer Nile Rodgers. Rodgers first met up with Chic co-founder Bernard

Edwards in New York while they were both playing with a variety of local

soul groups. When the duo met former Patti LaBelle drummer Tony Thompson,

they formed a rock-fusion group named the Big Apple Band. When Walter

Murphy and the Big Apple Band hit #1 in 1977 with "A Fifth Of Beethoven,"

the boys changed their name to Chic. The group immediately started fresh by

adopting the disco sound that was beginning to sell like hot cakes and

adding female vocalists Alfa Anderson and Norma Jean Wright. In late 1977

they got a record contract with Atlantic and hit #6 with "Dance Dance Dance

(Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)," the first single from their self titled debut.

In 1978 C'est Chic put the group into the forefront of the disco

scene, powered by such singles as "I Want Your Love," "Good Times" and

their biggest hit "Le Freak." Queen blatently ripped off the bass line from

"Good Times" for "Another One Bites The Dust" and the Sugarhill Gang

appropriated the song as a basis for the influential rap single "Rappers


As the disco era rolled to a close in the late '80s, so did Chic's

popularity. Chic released an album a year from 1980-1983, but Real

People, Take It Off, Tounge In Chic and Believer

failed to match their previous accomplishments. The group disbanded in

1983 and Rodgers quickly released two solo albums that failed

to inspire audiences, 1983's Adventures In The Land Of The Good

Groove and 1984's B-Movie Matinee. He did, however, have much

greater success when he stayed behind the mixing consoles. Rodgers became

one of the '80s greatest producers, with credits including Madonna's

Like A Prayer, David Bowie's Let's Dance and the B-52's

Cosmic Thing. He has also produced albums for such artists as David

Lee Roth, Duran Duran, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger. He continues

producing today, seemingly passing on his gift of powerful music with sonic

clarity to each artist he works with.

Other birthdays: Billy Ward (Dominoes), 76; Nick Massi (Four Seasons), 62;

Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers), 57; Freda Payne, 52; Lol Creme

(10cc/Godley & Creme), 50; Rex Smith, 45; Lita Ford, 39 and the late Mama

Cass Elliot (The Mamas & The Papas) would have been 54.