Chic formed in New York in 1977, primarily as a working unit for guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards who had started out working together as studio session musicians. Their 1978 single Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah) was a Top 20 UK hit.
Chic followed it up with a string of disco hits – Everybody Dance (1979), Le Freak (1979), I Want Your Love (1979) and Good Times (1980) – and a run of slick, danceable albums, including Chic (1978), C’est Chic (1979), and Risqué (1979).
Good Times featured the most loved, sampled and shamelessly plagiarised bassline of all time, courtesy of Bernard Edwards: Begin at Rapper’s Delight, Another One Bites The Dust and the first Grandmaster Flash hit, and continue on with any bass riff that slides from three insistent notes into an ascending rumble.
Le Freak, meanwhile, topped the US Hot 100 for six weeks, and with five million copies sold, it became the biggest-selling single in the history of Atlantic Records.
By 1979, Chic’s disco reign was nearly over, when they put out their weirdest single yet – My Feet Keep Dancing. The usual funky Chic elasticity is dumped for a monotonous staccato so insistent it becomes a hypnotic drone.
Disco fans found it too uncomfortable to dance to, and although Chic made a few more increasingly grim, formulaic albums, they had effectively finished themselves.
Rodgers and Edwards began working as a production team and enjoyed early successes with Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. As a producer, Nile Rodgers’ credits eventually ran from Madonna to David Bowie to Daft Punk.
Bernard Edwards died from pneumonia in a Tokyo hotel room during a Japanese tour on 18 April 1996. He was just 43.
Thompson died on 12 November 2003 within a month of being diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer).
Norma Jean Wright