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Nile Rodgers

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Nile Gregory Rodgers (born September 19, 1952 in New York City) is a musician, composer, arranger, guitarist and music producer, and co-founding member of the seminal multi-platinum hit R&B band Chic, with influential bassist, the late Bernard Edwards.

Rodgers began his career as a session guitarist in New York, playing with the Sesame Street band in his teens, and then working in the house band at Harlem’s renowned Apollo Theater, backing artists like Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, Nancy Wilson, and Parliament Funkadelic.

He met bassist Bernard Edwards in 1970. They formed a rock band called The Boys (later known as the Big Apple Band) and played numerous gigs around New York City, but despite interest in their demos, they could not get a record contract when the music companies discovered they were black; the discrimination of the day said black artists couldn’t play “rock”.

These experiences, in addition to activist tenor of the times, led to Rodgers’ active involvement in the Black Panther Party in New York City. The 1999 documentary film Public Enemy contains history and interviews with Rodgers about these times. Not the type to give up on their musical dreams, in 1977 Rodgers and Edwards joined forces with drummer Tony Thompson to form the funk/R&B/disco band Chic, and went on to score numerous top ten hits and helped propel disco to new levels of popularity. Their songs “Everybody Dance”, “Le Freak” and “Good Times” remain among the most sampled songs of the late 1970s/early 1980s R&B era.

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