BBC Radio 2’s hour-long documentary on Nile Rodgers, originally broadcast last Monday January 1st is now (finally) available online.
This last show is the latest installment in their ‘Record Producers’ series, hosted by Richard Allinson and Steve Levine. I’ve been listening to it for the last couple of days and for anyone else out there who's a Chic fan, like myself, it's well worth a listen or two, or three..
For this program, Nile Rodgers had given the BBC exclusive access to some of his multitrack masters here, most notably for Chic’s “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” They then proceeded to deconstruct the masters, analyzing and isolating some of those small, but key elements which made those records as classic as they are.
BBC Radio 2 - The Record Producers: Nile Rodgers
Just being able to hear them isolate the drums and bass of “Le Freak” alone was worth the price of admission (which in this case is free, but certainly feels much more exclusive). Listening to Nile talk about the concept behind “Good Times” while hearing it's string, guitar and bass parts by themselves only affirms why "Good Times" is one of their most, if not one of the most iconic records of that time.
If I'm not mistaken, this is possibly the first time the Chic sound has been taken apart, analyzed and put back together in this way. After 1979/1980, being one of the biggest victims of the disco backlash, hearing a program like this certainly speaks to the respect and credibility they’ve gained over the past 30 years or so.
Although I’m focusing on Chic, Nile Rodgers’ career, of course, went well beyond; recovering from the disco backlash to become one of the hottest producers of the 1980s. The last part of the program goes past his 'Chic Organization' work with Bernard Edwards and into many of those landmark solo productions, like David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” Duran Duran’s “Notorious,” and naturally, Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.”
Music aside, hearing Nile’s commentary and his many personal anecdotes was the other major highlight of the program. Hearing him tell his tales of working on the Sheila & B. Devotion album as well as his own personal interactions with Diana Ross and David Bowie is just about as entertaining as the songs themselves.
For anyone wants to hear more, Nile Rodgers was previously interviewed by BBC in January 2005, for Radio 4’s “Front Row.” On this particular show, they touched on some other elements of “Good Times” and the Chic sound which weren’t discussed on this latest ‘Record Producers’ program. The Front Row broadcast is still available for listening on the Front Row website (fast forward to 13.10 on the Real Media file).
BBC RADIO 2 - THE RECORD PRODUCERS: NILE RODGERS (JANUARY 1, 2007)
BBC RADIO 4 - FRONT ROW: INTERVIEW WITH NILE RODGERS (JANUARY 6, 2005)
WIKIPEDIA - NILE RODGERS
DISCOGS - NILE RODGERS
ALL MUSIC GUIDE - NILE RODGERS
ALL MUSIC GUIDE - CHIC THE CHIC TRIBUTE
WIKIPEDIA - CHIC
CHIC INTRODUCTION AND PICKS
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CATEGORIES: INTERVIEWS, DISCO NEWS