Chic - Good Times, I Want Your Love, Just Out of Reach and City Lights
May 25, 2013 11:17 PM   Subscribe


Posted in part because I loves me some City Lights -- that bass line is something else...

And Live at Budokan -- if I am not mistaken, that I Want Your Love was done on bass player Bernard Edwards's last day on Earth. He died, if I recall correctly, of undiagnosed pneumonia not long after that performance.

And that is his voice on Just Out of Reach...
posted by y2karl at 11:24 PM on May 25, 2013

Nile Rodgers (auto loading musics) has a consistently awesome twitter feed. Always posting diary links, memories, photos, and video.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:33 PM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

> The group regarded themselves as a rock band for the disco movement "that made good on hippie peace, love and freedom".

And ... The group endeavored to include "deep hidden meaning" in every song they wrote.

I love that. But I always thought of this as a sort of disco funk music with that deliciously twangy bass, not as rock.

Also liked Chic's song written for Diana Ross, I'm Coming Out.

Oh man, that sax riff is juicy in Just Out Of Reach.
posted by nickyskye at 12:12 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

The pornolicious insert in Good Times is just so damned sad, though.
posted by jrochest at 12:15 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

As I said in the last Daft Punk thread, if "Get Lucky" had been released around 1980, it would've been considered genius...
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:15 AM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bonus: Nile Rodgers improvising to Get Lucky.
posted by hellojed at 2:23 AM on May 26

Hot damn do I want to see that be a real thing. The way he feels out the tune and then starts throwing in those fantastic riffs... I'd love to see an actual collaboration there.
posted by ZaphodB at 12:50 AM on May 26, 2013

Want more Nile? Head over here.
posted by Wolof at 12:59 AM on May 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

I saw Chic some years ago as the headliners on an amazing bill for one of those 70s retro disco tours. The other acts were (and I might have left some out) Trammps, The Stylistics, The Weather Girls, Leo Sayer and The Village People. As someone whose halcyon days were the 70s, it was (disco) heaven.

The influence of Nile Rogers can't be underestimated, not least because the bass line of Good Times was used by The Sugar Hill Gang for Rapper's Delight which, if not the first ever rap record, was most certainly the first mainstream rap song.
posted by essexjan at 1:32 AM on May 26, 2013

Met Mr. Rodgers a few years ago, at the annual Pop Conference, Experience Music Project (EMP), Seattle. He said he was thinking about putting out a CD set of all the fluff-takes and in-studio swearing in Chic sessions. Maybe one day we'll have it...

Selected passages from the Wikipedia entry on "Le Freak":

This song commemorates Studio 54 for its notoriously long customer waiting lines, exclusive clientele, and discourteous doormen. Concerning the history of the song, guitarist Nile Rodgers later stated that the song was devised during New Year's Eve of 1977, as a result of him and bassist Bernard Edwards being refused entrance to Studio 54, where they had been invited by Grace Jones, due to her failure to notify the nightclub's staff. He said the lyrics of the refrain were originally "Fuck off!" rather than "Freak out!"[6]

"Le Freak" was the first song to score the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times. This record remained until 2008, when "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis became the second track to score number one three times. Later that same year rap artist T.I. tied this record twice with both "Whatever You Like" which he recorded by himself and "Live Your Life" which he recorded with Rihanna.
posted by dr. zoom at 1:32 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

ZaphodB: Hot damn do I want to see that be a real thing.

It is. Around 9:00 Rodgers starts talking about working with Daft Punk. And a really awesome interview in general.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 2:08 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I thought disco was dead!?!
posted by Mojojojo at 3:42 AM on May 26, 2013

"I was in the house band of the Apollo Theater when I was a kid..."

yet again, I vastly under-estimate how bone-shakingly cool real cool is.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:02 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you intone it in the right (ascending) way, then "aawwwwwww..." will, in the right company, be very quickly followed with "FREAK OUT!"

Thanks for dropping a link to your Nile Rogers FPP, Wolof, I had missed that!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:06 AM on May 26, 2013

This week's Bullseye had an interview with Rodgers from 2011 when he was promoting his memoir. He's a great interview.
posted by gladly at 5:57 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

PURE LOVE. You have unlocked this extended version of 'My Forbidden Lover'.
posted by mintcake! at 6:09 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nile Rodgers needs to be in every hall of fame there is.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:13 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, for a fact, I composed this post at a location other than home last night as I had found City Lights on YouTube just ten minutes before quitting time, hence its minimalist construction. Otherwise, I would have posted more links in support and given proper props to Wolof's Nile Rodgers post. But, for all the Nile Rodgers love here, well justified as it is, I was thinking more of Bernard Edwards when I made this, his extraordinary bass and his smoky voice, so fit to the penthouse funk Chic turned out. And, truly the combination of Edwards and Rodgers was so much greater than the sum of its parts. Theirs was a groove for the ages.

And I wish that he, Edwards, was still with us as I do with Johnny Guitar Watson and Bobby Charles and so and so on...
posted by y2karl at 7:30 AM on May 26, 2013

At Last I Am Free, Live
posted by ovvl at 7:57 AM on May 26, 2013

I went through a big Chic thing last year. The bass line to I want your love is possibly my favourite bass line of all time. So hypnotic and sexy. I prefer the heads down steady grove of the original recording to this live version, but damn they look good doing it.
posted by dobie at 8:35 AM on May 26, 2013

I love to sing the complete single version of Rapper's Delight in the interlude of Good Times.
posted by Tarn at 8:36 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Hitmaker Strat

"Mojo for days".

The best part is the description of his rig. (A DI box.)

Normally I wouldn't link to a daytime Fox show anything, but as it was early in the search results and the author showed appropriate reverence; I'll allow it.
posted by petebest at 8:37 AM on May 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

My Sunday is now musically complete.
posted by immlass at 9:06 AM on May 26, 2013

My antipathy to disco is well known, but I have respect for Nile Rodgers, both with Chic and as a producer.
posted by jonmc at 9:11 AM on May 26, 2013

Hell yes, 'Like A Virgin.'
posted by mintcake! at 10:17 AM on May 26, 2013

Boston based DJ/Producer Kon made a breathtaking edit of Good Times a few years ago. He has the hookup on the masters, and respectfully remixes them to sound fresh and modern. It, among other edits, won him some award for disco edits from BBC Radio 1. Really amazing stuff.
posted by SounderCoo at 10:29 AM on May 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

I have been listening to Chic while I drive this Spring. It's dreamy. Bernard Edwards was the bomb. Rodgers chunking guitar. The drummer! Most of these songs were done to a basic drum track, all real drums, no click track. All they want from you in return for this is ONE SIMPLE thing: get on the floor.

Rodgers explains the main idea of a Chic song thus: the verse is only an excuse to get to the chorus, which is itself only a reason to get to the break out.
posted by thelonius at 10:57 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Getting psyched about Glastonbury
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:19 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

...The group regarded themselves as a rock band for the disco movement "that made good on hippie peace, love and freedom".

And yet Donna Summer beat them into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Which, no disrespect to Donna Summer, doesn't seem quite right to me. In terms of influence, level of musicianship, as producers, flat out kick ass band and as a sound and groove, no matter how you slice it genre-wise, they were operating on a whole other level. Their induction is long overdue. That is, if induction in to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame means anything. Which I am far from convinced it does. Well, on the other hand, it is far less meaningless than, say, the Grammys -- I mean, of all the albums he ever cut, Bob Dylan got his one for Slow Train Coming. As they say in Pinball: TILT!
posted by y2karl at 1:04 PM on May 26, 2013

That Bullseye episode was great, a lot of stuff that I was used to hearing but never understood. Like I knew the word "breakdown" and what it sounded like but I didn't know what it actually meant. I love hearing about why things are good instead of just that things are good.
posted by bleep at 1:46 PM on May 26, 2013

The best part is the description of his rig. (A DI box.)

Yeah, Niles and his Strat are pure excellent, nothing more,
posted by ovvl at 4:02 PM on May 26, 2013

The influence of Nile Rogers can't be underestimated, not least because the bass line of Good Times was used by The Sugar Hill Gang for Rapper's Delight... [ etc. etc. ]

Upon re-reading,: this. Not to beat up on essexjam but when I saw this other night, I had a fit. So, to expand upon what was said above. Chic was, at its core, the music of two people. One of them played guitar. The other played the bass. And the groove they created between the two of them when they played, that was the heart of Chic. And the heart of that sound in support of Madonna, David Bowie and Diana Ross and so on when they played behind them.

That Rodgers still tours with a band called Chic, with Edwards dead and gone, it's like those doo wop groups on PBS, when a lead singer dies and then someone in the chorus dies until maybe one original guy is left. Thanks for the memories but it is not the living band that made those hits for themselves when they were young and fresh and inventing it all. To me, that clip from Chic in 2004 is not Chic anymore than the Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia is the Grateful Dead. And the Dead at least had the good grace to drop their name for any future lineups, because it wouldn't be the same band without that one man. The magic was gone.

But then, in either case, Dead or Chic, the magic was going, going gone long before anyone died. For Chic, long before they played that golden oldies show at Budokan in 1997. imho. And Slash on Freakout ? -- what a travesty....

But I always thought of this as a sort of disco funk music with that deliciously twangy bass, not as rock.

Quite so. I especially liked it when Chic dropped the strings, went to sax and horns and dialed up the funk on Stage Fright and Tongue in Chic -- Burn Hard, Flashback and Hangin' come to mind.

But on Believer, their last album together, to my ears the air had started to bleed from the balloon. Even on Tongue in Chic, while they have some ferocious grooves -- Hangin' goes on for several minutes -- but, really they went nowhere.

Unlike, say, My Feet Keep Dancing, from Risque, where the break untwines down to Rodgers, Edwards, Thompson to Edwards, Thompson and Fayard Nicholas's tap dancing. And Fayard Nicholas! What a class act they were to put him in the mix, what a nod to the heritage. And what an epic groove. And epic composition. And that was not Nile Rodgers on bass.

But Edwards is dead, Jim, with no twitter feed, no awesome guitar videos, no awesome discussions of his rig, no awesome interviews and no Behind the Music style tell all tale of epic talent epically squandered and then redeemed. And of the two solo albums they had out, before Edwards died and could make another, Edwards had more Chic to his sound than Rodgers first outing did. Because he had the bass and he had that voice. Man, dying was the worst career move Edwards could have made, because now one man, awesome in technique and invention, gets the all the credit for all what awesome music that two men made together.
PS. As to the pornolicious insert on Good Times, well, I did not review the whole video. And I was put off by what I saw, so antithetical to what the song was about. But it promised to be the highest qulaity in sound, so I went with it. My bad, evidently...
posted by y2karl at 12:29 PM on May 29, 2013

Well, I re-read the Independent interview linked above with Nile Rodgers about Edwards's last words to him about the music being bigger than the both of them, which it was, always, and why he began to play with other musicians as Chic in tribute to Edwards and the sound they created, so I was wrong in what I said and must apologize to him and all for being so harsh.
posted by y2karl at 1:28 PM on May 29, 2013

Live, back in the day:

1978: Chic - Freakout

1979: Chic - Good Times
posted by y2karl at 10:49 PM on June 1, 2013

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