Single Of The Week: Nile Rodgers & Chic – Sober (Album Version) (Virgin)
The least we can say is that we’ve remained sober editorially speakin’ during all these weeks. Even tough that’s supposedly for a good reason we’re currently workin’ on.
No matter whatever you might be doin’… Things happen at times in such a way that it feels like you gotta react instantly though. And no need tellin’ as to how the perspective of the release of a new album by the likes of Chic also belongs to that category. In other words, significant enough for us to put once again our period of final maintenance on hold. This after the release of a new single – ‘Keep Reachin’ – by the likes of Quincy Jones & Mark Ronson along with Chaka Khan. Then also give Nile Rodgers and cohorts a big shout.
Damn it, 26 years have gone since the release of an album by the likes of Chic. With the latter givin’ us the opportunity to meet both Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards for an interview in Paris. And needless to say we can’t wait to see what Chic‘s new delivery will be about. Even though Bernard Edwards has sadly left us along the way back in 1996.
Needless to say how Chic have been the most sober one could think of, remaining silent for more than 15 years as a matter of fact…
I guess none of those of you familiar with Chic have forgotten about ‘Get Lucky’ along with Daft Punk back in 2013. No more than the firing ‘I’ll Be There’ two years later. With the perspective of a new album that never saw the light at the time. But now the wait is at last over. With ‘Sober’ comin’ up as an excting appetizer to this awaited edifice. The latter, after already been delayed a few times, comin’ up this Sept. 28, 2018. This with a title that says a lot for the Chic‘s fans… ‘It’s About Time’!
Now what is this ‘Sober’ single about? Most likely R&B with a street beat speakin’ of its rhythmic flow. And R&B with a street edge as for its overall feeling. This with the circumstancial Rap verse courtesy of English Rapper Stefflon Don. In other words, in the vein of those late 80’s productions by the likes of L.A. & Babyface (somehow reminding of Bobby Brown‘s ‘Don’t Be Cruel’) and Teddy Riley. With the latter delivering a remix of ‘Sober’ as a part of the album. Meanwhile late 90’s UK R&B sensation Craig David takes the centerstage in a convincing way.
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Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards first met as fellow musicians in NYC in 1970. Back then, they eventually formed a Rock band by the likes of The Boys which later on became The Big Apple Band. Despite playing on countless gigs and interest in their demos, they didn’t get any offer for a recording contract though. They soon after collaborated with New York City who delivered the memorable ‘I’m Doin’ Fine Now’ back in 1973. A cut which British band The Pasadenas covered 19 years after, scoring one of their biggest hits with it.
With the idea of creating a band slowly maturing in their minds, Nile and Bernard came to recruit Tony Thompson. A drummer remembered for his work along with LaBelle and Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. The latter suggesting them to recruit keyboardist Raymond Jones. Needing a singer then, they hooked up with Norma Jean Wright, then soon after with the then up and coming sound engineer Bob Clearmountain. Eventually releasing their debut-single – ‘Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah!, Yowsah!, Yowsah!)’ – on Buddah Records with backup vocals courtesy of Luther Vandross. And Chic was born. Eventually releasing their eponymous debut-album soon after on Atlantic and droppin’ in the meantime another infectious gem by the likes of ‘Everybody Dance’.
Nile and cohorts soon after recorded Norman Jean Wright‘s album, filling it with extra boiling cuts such as ‘Saturday’, ‘Having A Party’ and ‘Sorcerer’. Then soon after recruited another female singer by the likes of Luci Martin. Meanwhile Alfa Anderson came to replace Wright for contractual reasons.
‘C’est Chic’, the band’s second album saw the light by the end of 1978. It featured ‘Chic Cheer’ which Faith Evans sampled back in 1998 on ‘Love Like This’. But also ‘I Want Your Love’ and ‘Happy Man’. Not to mention the multi-million selling ‘Le Freak’…
1979 was a quintessential year in the history of contemporary music as for the one of Chic. This with the release of their ‘Risqué’ album as highlighted by the seminal ‘Good Times’. A cut which influenced countless artists. From Sugarhill Gang on ‘Rapper’s Delight’ to Grandmaster Flash. But also Vaughan Mason & Crew (‘Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll’). Not to mention Queen (‘Another One Bites The Dust’), Captain Sensible (‘Wot’). Or Blondie (‘Rapture’). Nile & Nard producing Sister Sledge‘s ‘We Are Family’ album the same year. An offering that spanned the classics ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’, ‘Lost In Music’, ‘Thinking Of You’ and its title track. This in addition to ‘Got To Love Somebody’, from their ‘Love Somebody Today’ follow-up album.
This period most likely marked Chic‘s absolute peak, with productions of them all over. From Sheila B Devotion‘s ‘Spacer’ to Diana Ross‘ ‘Upside Down’ to name a few. Not to mention Carly Simon‘s ‘Why’. As many tracks you might find in our 10 essential Chic productions. Be they together as on their respective owns. Sadly, the infamous Disco Demolition Night engendered bad consequences for Chic. The guys most likely missing to catch up with the electronic trend that appeared soon after in the production, as Nile said it in an interview we had back in March 1992.
With the group soon after disbanding, Nile and Bernard met various successes on their respective sides. But a part of the magic had gone. They nevertheless made a come back, 9 years after the release of their 1983 ‘Believer’ album. This with a single ‘Chic Mystique’ with remixes courtesy of Masters At Work, Roger S and Brothers In Rhythm. But also an album – ‘Chicism’ – which would be the very last together. An album which featured the infectious ‘Your Love’ with remix by the likes of Nellee Hooper (Soul II Soul).
Although sick while touring in Japan back in 1996, Bernard did his thing against all ods on stage. Eventually blackin’ out for a while, with his partner assuming the absence of bass being like an improvisation. Edwards retired to his hotel room after the concert where he was later found dead by Nile. The cause of death was ruled to be pneumonia. He was 43…
It was announced that Nile Rodgers had signed a new record deal with Warner Bros. by the beginning of 2015 with a release of a new Chic album for the first time in more than 2 decades. The album will be titled ‘It’s About Time’. The lead single from the record – ‘I’ll Be There’ – hitted the streets back on March 20, 2015. Former band singer Alfa Anderson brilliantly responding to it with ‘Perfectly Chic’ in 2017. Eventually getting some remix treatment courtesy of Boomtang and 83 West the year after…
More than three years have gone since. And the ‘It’s About Time’ album has finally landed on Sept. 28, 2018 although it doesn’t include ‘I’ll Be There’. Featuring a cohort of guests. From Lady Gaga on ‘I Want Your Love’ to Philippe Saisse on ‘State Of Mine (It’s About Time)’. But also Emeli Sandé and Elton John on ‘Queen’ in addition to Craig David and Stefflon Don on ‘Sober’ among others. A cut eventually retitled ‘New Jack Sober’ after New Jack Swing mogul Teddy Riley remixed it…