With the release of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, Nile Rodgers finds himself back in the forefront of pop music culture. Not that he’s ever been too far away.
New York native Rodgers, along with bassist Bernard Edwards, drummer Tony Thompson and a succession of vocalists, revolutionized the late Seventies with Chic, scoring #1 smashes with “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” In the following decade, he reinvented himself as a producer, working with everyone from Grace Jones to Duran Duran and David Bowie.More recently, he released one of the more intriguing rock star biographies.
Although Rodgers hasn’t produced or played on a number of hits over the past 15-20 years, his sound has not gone away. From the dance-rock sounds of Franz Ferdinand and The Killers to the neo-disco of the aforementioned Daft Punk, there are constant reminders of Chic’s legacy (and why aren’t they in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame yet?)
Of course, sampling has also helped keep the Chic sound alive, and here are five songs (all awesome) that sample tunes from this pioneering band.
Modjo “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)”
Sample: “Soup for One” (1982)
I was at Disneyworld over Valentine’s Day 2001 when I heard this song for the first time. I don’t think it’s possible to hear “Lady” pumping over the speakers without dancing. I’m pretty sure I bopped all over Treasure Island that night. “Lady” fits right in line with the retro-sounding dance music that Daft Punk specializes in. Would you believe that Modjo is also an electronic music duo from France?
Luther Vandross “Shine”
Sample: “My Forbidden Lover” (1979)
This summer-y track was the first of the two single releases from the posthumous compilation The Ultimate Luther Vandross. Despite some regrettable slang usage, “Shine” is one of Luther’s most effervescent tracks. The sample is from Chic’s minor hit “My Forbidden Lover”-which Luther sang backup on. Full circle, y’all.
Mary J. Blige “No More Drama (Puff Daddy remix)”
Sample: “Just Out of Reach” (1981)
In light of her recent tax troubles, I can’t imagine MJB is singing this song much. Nevertheless, her early 2002 reunion with Sean Combs (who worked closely with Mary on her first two albums) pointed the way towards exciting future collaborations between the two. Puff laid off his typical Top 40 beat jacking style slightly–only hardcore music fans were aware of the sample source and Mary J. sounds jubilant. However, the album-length teamup, Love and Life, didn’t exactly set the world on fire. Maybe they should have used more Chic samples.
Faith Evans “Love Like This”
Sample: “Chic Cheer” (1978)
Speaking of Puffy, he’s reached into the Nile/’Nard well several times. The most successful jack was the “I’m Coming Out” sample on BIG’s #1 smash ‘Mo Money, Mo Problems,” but the dance floor favorite “Love Like This” earned Biggie’s widow Faith Evans her first top ten pop hit. A club favorite to this day, it utilizes a hearty portion of “Chic Cheer,” the opening track on Chic’s best selling album, C’est Chic.
Sugarhill Gang “Rappers’ Delight”
Sample: “Good Times” (1979)
Before sampling even really existed, The Sugarhill Gang scored rap’s first commercial success with the immortal “Rappers Delight.” The source material? The instrumental version of Chic’s #1 smash “Good Times,” which had barely peaked at the top of the charts when “Delight” kicked the door open for hip-hop. You all know the words: “Now what you hear is not a test…”
What are your favorite songs that sample Chic?