5 Things You Might Not Know About Nile Rodgers
Today we celebrate the birthday of Nile Rodgers, whose work with Chic is legendary and whose skills as a producer have been utilized to great effect by everyone from Duran Duran to Sister Sledge. Still, for as much as you may already know about Rodgers and his work, weâd like to think that there are at least few things in this list that you werenât already aware of.
1. He once jammed with Jimi Hendrix.
Although he was all of 16 years old at the time, Rodgers had an encounter with Hendrix in Greenwich Village, one which he detailed in his autobiography. âWe moved and grooved like a flock of birdsâ¦ The studio was thick with cigarette and cannabis smoke,â wrote Rodgers. âWe were drinking from flasks filled with Almaden wineâ¦ I said, âThis is the greatest stuff Iâve heard in my lifeâ¦.â âHey man,â Jimi said, sheepishly. âDid anybody record that, man?â Weâd been so caught up in the moment â and of course so high â that no one had thought to roll tape!â
2. He produced an album for Johnny Mathis which has never been officially released.
Although a few tracks from the sessions for Mathisâs 1981 album I LOVE MY LADY have found their way onto various compilations over the years, the album itself remains in the Columbia Records vaults, but it should be noted that itâs nothing to do with Mathis. In a 2015 interview with Billboard, Mathis said that he was âvery proudâ of the album because it âgot me in a little different directionâ from where heâd been going musically. He also hasnât given up hope that itâll see release someday. âYou know, as long as those things are on vinyl or tape or what have you, the record companies are going to release them somedayâ¦probably before I'm dead!â
3. He helped Carly Simon explore her reggae side.
Okay, before you start bristling, we know as well as you do that âWhy,â which debuted on the soundtrack to the 1982 film Soup for One, isnât going to be mistaken for a lost Bob Marley track. Still, thereâs no question that this Simon song has some elements of reggae in its beat, and itâs also got a simple-but-insidiously catchy keyboard riff that you canât get out of your head. As for the lyrics, a great philosopher once wrote of this track, âIâve always said the best dance music comes from loss and pain, not happiness and joy, and this nearly forgotten, tucked away little gem proves that point.â #NailedIt
SPOTIFY: Listen here
4. He met David Bowie for the first time mostly because Billy Idol said, âHey, thereâs David Bowie!â
While that may not be precisely what Idol said, itâs effectively what he said, based on the story told by Rodgers in an interview with The Stranger. âI met David Bowie by accident,â said Rodgers. âI always meet people by accident. But I was hanging out with Billy Idol, and we went to the Continental [a storied East Village punk club that closed its doors the same year as CBGB, 2006]. Idol spotted Bowie and pointed him out to me. It was 6 a.m., so I was not shy at that moment. I'm usually shy. But with some help, I'm not. I approached him, and we began talking. That's how it happened. I also knew the people who were living at his building. They were the people on the YOUNG AMERICANS [album], like Luther Vandross, who I had worked with in the past. Not long after that, we started working together.â
5. He co-produced a song for Keith Urban.
This is probably common knowledge within the country music community, but one never knows how far info like this spreads, so we figured âSun Donât Let Me Downâ was worthy of inclusion. Rodgers isnât the only high-profile guest star on the track, either: it also features Pitbull. No, wait, come back and listen, itâs catchy as all get-out!
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