|Nile Rodgers Edinburgh Book festival 2012|
one the most successful writers/ producers from the 70s. He wrote for Diana
Ross's major hit album Diana,
Madonna's Like A Virgin, David
Bowie's Lets Dance and produced many
hit singles such as - We are Family, Lost
in Music, Lets Dance, Le Freak and many more. He was originally in the band Chic who had
hits with Le Freak and Everybody Dance.
Nile gave a fun informal chat at the Edinburgh Book Festival's
Speigel tent in August, with many impromptu plays of the guitar when the audience enthusiastically sang along. Nile talked about his music. He said when he wrote songs – first came the words and he always started with the chorus or hook. He likes to use the jazziest chords and fuse concepts together. He talked about the level of pop culture and that Bowie was ‘disruptive’ and therefore stood out in the charts. He believed in the ‘artistic powers’ of music itself. He said that the people made Good Times a No 1 which he said was his favourite song.
Nile talked about his music. He said when he wrote songs – first came the words and he always started with the chorus or hook. He likes to use the jazziest chords and fuse concepts together. He talked about the level of pop culture and that Bowie was ‘disruptive’ and therefore stood out in the charts. He believed in the ‘artistic powers’ of music itself. He said that the people made Good Times a No 1 which he said was his favourite song.
He learned flute and clarinet at school and later taught himself guitar. At 18 he
auditioned for the children’s tv show Sesame
Street for which he wore a crazy green wig!. He
then worked at the Apollo theatre in New
York with Screaming J Hawkings.
On a trip to London he saw Roxy Music at the Roxy theatre! Which he thought was so unique. He thought
they should be the black version of Roxy Music and be a ‘totally immersive experience in music’ and they called themselves
the Big Apple Band
sophisticated funk and their track ‘Everybody
Dance’ was a big success in the dance clubs but there was little interest
in a black rock band at that time. Jazz bands often went to France to make it then (Nina Simone and others)
so they pretended that they were from France! Chic was born and they had a hit with ‘Le Freak’ – which has been the biggest
selling song for Atlantic Records and has such an awesome guitar riff!
They then wrote hit songs for Sister Sledge – We are Family and Lost in Music. He wrote for Diana Ross – who he interviewed for three days firstly – Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie and many more. He has jammed with Hendrix. Madonna's Like Virgin sold more than 20m records and Nile wrote David's Bowie's best-selling album Let's Dance in just 17 days.
out of fashion and in the late 70s disco suddenly sucked – and so Nile went into producing for others. Yet he said if you
look at the biggest chart hits for artists at that time their hit songs were
disco influenced – for example Rod Stewart (Do
You Think I’m Sexy) , Queen ( Anther
One Bites the Dust), Rolling Stones (Miss
and go and by the late 70s many rock bands had become flashy (or trashy!) with
over the top, overblown sounds and productions and in reaction punk was born in
the 80s. The good thing about punk music was it 'let go' and simply went for
it! Never mind the rules, who cares -
lets just be nuts and the more off the edge the better - punk was raw and
raucous! Sometimes art needs to be rough edge.
So why did disco suck? Well there is that macho element in some music critics who can't accept that not all of us enjoy heavy rock. The uniformity of the mainstream plays it safe
and we can only move forward when we question and challenge the accepted and
that's what punk, the 60s, the revolution were all about.
|Nile Rodgers Edinburgh Book festival 2012|
Nile has written his autobiography “Le Freak
– An Upside Down Story of Family”,
Yes there was an anti-disco movement but lets not forget at the start disco had much to offer.
Some of my favourite Disco tracks - Diana Ross Upside Down, BeeGees Grease, Chic Le Freak, Michael Jackson Billie Jean, Stevie Wonder Superstition.
He was also in conversation a couple of nights later at the festival with renowned Scottish writer Irvine Welsh. This was quite a contrast with Welsh in his white t shirt and bald head and Nile with his long dark dreadlocks
Nile Rodgers – sometime actor for Sesame Street,
songwriter, musician, producer, arranger and guitarist. Le Freak, Everybody
Dance, We are Family, Let’s Dance, Like a Virgin, The Reflex.
Disco is a genre of dance music.
Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked
during the late 1970s. Its initial audiences were club-goers from the African American, Latino, gay, and psychedelic
communities in New York City and Philadelphia
during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Disco also was a reaction against both
the domination of rock music and the stigmatization of dance music by the counterculture during this period. Musical influences include funk, Latin
music. The disco sound has soaring, often reverberated vocals over a steady
"four-on-the-floor" beat, an eighth note
(quaver) or 16th note (semi-quaver) hi-hat pattern with
an open hi-hat on the off-beat, and a prominent, syncopated electric
bass line sometimes consisting of octaves. The "disco sound" was more costly to produce than
many other genres - disco music included
a large pop band, with several chordal instruments (guitar, keyboards,
synthesizer), several drum or percussion instruments (drumkit, Latin
percussion, electronic drums), a horn
section, a string orchestra, and a variety of
"classical" solo instruments (for example, flute, piccolo, and so
on). Disco songs were arranged and composed by arrangers and orchestrators,
and producers added creative touches.
Recording complex arrangements required a team that included a conductor, copyists, record
producers, and mixing engineers.
Disco songs used as many as 64 tracks of vocals and instruments. Mixing engineers compiled these tracks into a fluid
composition of verses, bridges, and refrains, complete with orchestral
builds and breaks. Mixing engineers helped to develop the
"disco sound" by creating a distinctive-sounding disco mix.
With the advent of punk rock music an anti-disco sentiment
developed. Many groups that were popular
during the disco period subsequently struggled to maintain their success. The Bee Gees
never had a major hit in the United
States after the 1970s—even though later songs they wrote and had others perform were successful.