Sunday, January 16, 2011

Celebrating and rediscovering a legend online: Nile Rodgers

Over the past few months, I've had the pleasure of following, and sharing an exchange or two on Twitter with Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers on Twitter). Reading what he tweets about and who he tweets to is like reading a who's who of music from the past 40 years. If most of you know him from his Chic days, you're only scratching the surface.

His tweets have been fascinating, containing musical observations, great photos and some amazing concert videos:

Last week, Nile's tweets revealed more than was expected. He told the world about his current struggle with cancer.

Cancer is one of those things that not only affects those who have hits loved ones around that person like nothing else. Nile is taking a fascinating approach with his battle...using Twitter to reach out to fans, collaborators and anyone else who follows him.

One look at his Twitter feed reveals a man with connections, close friends and an international support network. It's an immediate reminder of the impact he's had on music. Look at your music collection...take a good look at your music collection. Chances are you have music in your collection that Nile Rodgers played a part in that you don't even know about. Sure you may have Chic's Good Times in there. Nile's all over that one, you knew that, but did you know about these?

We Are Family - This song, which put Sister Sledge on the map, was co-written by Nile. Listen to him talk about it:

I'm Coming Out - This Diana Ross song put her career back on track in the early 80s... and Nile wrote it with Bernard Edwards. And let's not forget that P Diddy would be nowhere without sampling this song.

Let's Dance (Album) - One of David Bowie's most commercially popular album was produced by Nile Rodgers and to see Nile tweet about it, put Nile back on the map.

Bowie's support for Nile can be found here:

The Reflex/Wild Boys/Notorious - Duran Duran's career got a huge boost in the US thanks to Nile's work on Seven and the Ragged Tiger, Arena and Notorious. Duran Duran initally boasted that they aspired to be "Chic meets Roxy Music". Nile helped them achieve that goal.

Like A Virgin - Nile produced Madonna's second album, the one that clearly marked her as a superstar.

Route 66 - This cover by Depeche Mode showed that they were more than a synth band. Nile produced this, showing the world that Depeche Mode had a whole other dimension that would drive their music into future decades.

Original Sin - By 1984, INXS was already well known in their native Australia. With Original Sin, Nile helped INXS' sound reach the US and UK. As an added bit of trivia, Darryl Hall (the "Hall" in Hall and Oates) sang backup vocals on this track.

Cosmic Thing - One wouldn't naturally put Nile Rodgers and the B-52s together, but Nile brought some magic to this album, giving Fred and Co. one of their most memorable albums.

Coming to America - In the 90s and 2000s, much of Nile's production and songwriting work was on soundtracks. Without Nile, we wouldn't have this gem:

Nile, let your soul shine through and keep up the fight!

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