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Nile Rodgers' Ultimate Playlist


If you've never heard a Nile Rodgers song, then you've probably never listened to music.

The disco legend originally formed Chic with bassist Bernard Edwards in the 1970s, and between them they revolutionised the musical landscape, working with Sister Sledge and Diana Ross as well as forming the extensive Chic catalogue. Rodgers went on to produce and collaborate with, Madonna, INXS, Mick Jagger Duran Duran and - literally - too many more to mention, before being part of the biggest single and album in recent years in the form of Daft Punk's Get Lucky and Random Access Memories respectively.

But what of the music that the man himself loves? We spoke to Nile to discover his Ultimate Playlist - the songs which mean a lot to him, and the stories behind them. And he certainly has some good stories...

Listen to the whole playlist on Spotify


Favourite Song From Your Childhood

"I would have to say Blue Suede Shoes by Elvis. The reason why - it's not totally fair - because I got that on my birthday, I was 6 years old and I got the blue suede shoes to go along with the song! So my grandmother gave me a record and the blue suede shoes to wear - I guess I was into that fashion thing really early. I wore the blue suede shoes all the time, and she actually made me dance around the room with them!"


Favourite Movie Soundtrack Song

"It's from an Italian spaghetti western called The Good The Bad and the Ugly, and it's a cue. It's not a song per se...but it's the movie cue called Ecstasy of Gold. It's absolutely my favourite movie soundtrack song of all time. Not just because it's a brilliant piece of music but because what it does in the film, the way it makes the film mark - your heart is racing, it's just incredible."


Favourite Sad Song

"Wow, there's a million of em, but I have to say - when I say sad, it means something that makes me cry, so not just something that makes me think, but something that actually makes me cry and emote - and it would be Luther Vandross singing live, the Burt Bacharach song, A House Is Not A Home. Every single time I've seen him do it - which is at least 20 - I've cried every time and the very last time I saw him do it, shortly before his death, I actually even said to him backstage, I said, 'Tonight is gonna be the first time I don't cry' and I cried. It's only the live version, I'm not sure I feel the same way about the recorded version, but it's the live version - every time he sings it live."


Favourite Club Anthem

"That's really hard man, there's just way, way, way, way too many, so I'll put it in context! In context it would have to be Donna Summer Love To Love You Baby. It wouldn't be my favourite club anthem now - like, make me run to the dancefloor - but the reason why is because it changed my life. When I heard it, I'd never heard anything like that before and I had never been to this particular disco. And it was the first time I remember hearing what I call 'continuous music'. Now most people don't think like this, but I'm old enough where most of my clubs had jukeboxes and they didn't have DJs playing continuous music all the time. So I walked into this club and there was music playing from the moment I walked in until the moment I left. The music never stopped, and it was Donna Summer Love To Love You Baby playing when I walked in. If I could put two - the song that came on right behind it was Eddie Kendricks - Girl You Need A Change Of Mind, it came on right behind it - the DJ mixed it into it and I was like, 'Whoah! I've never heard anything like that, I'm dying!'"


Favourite Lyric From a Song

"Oh that's easy as shit - that's not hard at all! James Brown: "Thinking of losing that funky feeling, don't". And it's just amazing because I remember when I was a kid and I was reading James Joyce and I would look at the way he would structure sentences and there was - I can't remember what book it is now, maybe it's Finnegans Wake - but I think there's one of his books that the last sentence is, 'Away, along, alas, the'. And I hear it: 'Thinking of losing that funky feeling, don't'. 'Away, along, alas, the'!


Favourite Song That No-one Else Knows

"That's easy - a song I did with Al Jarreau, called (We Got) Telepathy. Because there have been two songs that I've done in my life that I got to play solos on and when I played the solos, I played them as if I lived in a different era. Even though (We Got) Telepathy was sort of about the future, I played the solos like one of my heroes Les Paul - I would play the solo with no blue notes and then harmonise it. And I did it that with (We Got) Telepathy and I did that with another song by David Bowie called Miracle Goodnight. Actually, you could put either of those songs, because not many people have heard Miracle Goodnight."


Favourite Wedding Song

"We Are Family! Every wedding plays it!"


Favourite Current Song

"Maybe, I hate to admit it, but it might by Fancy by Iggy and Charli XCX. Because I can't get the damn thing out of my head! 'Who that, who that, do that, do that!' I'm actually thinking about doing a track with Charli. I was listening to her album the other day and every song on it, I was like 'whoah I wanna get a song on there!'."


Favourite Song From Your Own Music

"Maybe the very first Chic record I ever wrote, it's called Everybody Dance. Because it was the very first Chic record, and it was the beginning of something that felt magical and you knew it, and everybody in that room knew it, and everybody in that room were all, sort of famous except for me, Bernard and Tony - the people who were the core nucleus of Chic. We were the unknowns, but everybody else was Luther Vandross... you know, famous jazz musicians - David Friedman - these were guys in New York that were big, y'know, these were people at the top of the game, and they were like 'holy shit', listen to what these kids are writing."


(Images: Rex)



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