Vicki Wickham in conversation with

Nile Rodgers

BBC Radio 2

Nile Rodgers' Good Times


TX: Programme 1: 3 January 2018 10pm BBC Radio 2

 

TX: Programme 2: 10 January 2018 10pm BBC Radio 2

 

TX: Programme 3: 17 January 2018 10pm BBC Radio 2

 

TX: Programme 4: 24 January 2018 10pm BBC Radio 2

 

Presenter: Vicki Wickham

Producer/Executive producer:

Sue Clark

Sound Designer:  Peregrine Andrews

Specialist Research & Camera :

Christian John Wikane

Studio Engineer:  Anne Pope

Transportation:  Sharon Heyward

Over 4 x 1 hour programmes in an intimate conversation with music aficionado Vicki Wickham, Nile Rodgers, guitarist, song-writer, producer and co-founder of Chic. He reveals his all-time favourite playlists: covering his musical influences and inspirations, to the songs that have made his career, as well as simply music that he loves. This will be a musical voyage like no other; a revealing story of a creative genius told by the man himself and complimented by a fantastic sound track.

 

The conversation takes place in Le Crib, Nile’s home studio in Westport, Connecticut. Nile Rodgers says: ‘It was great to catch up with Vicki, who I’ve known since the 70s when as young session musicians Bernard Edwards and I would hang out in the studio with Labelle – Patti Labelle, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash, the group she managed. Hey we even pinched their drummer Tony Thompson when we started Chic! These programmes will be a musical journey like no-other. Freak Out!’

 

Programme

1

 

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST

Wednesday 3 January 2018

 



Nile reflects on his childhood in New York and his early musical influences.

 

Born to parents who were both heroin addicts – times were hard, but music especially jazz played an important role in the family home. His mother gave birth to him when she was only 14 years old, and he was quite a weak child health-wise and attended a special hospital school. The upside of which was that from an early age he was educated with other children much older and he developed fast, becoming a prolific reader, and then turned his hand to music.

 

He was shipped off to California to live with his paternal grandmother who hoped to save him from the beatnik life style of his parents; she sent him to Catholic school which he hated and he proudly set the record for playing truant in extraordinary ways. While learning classical clarinet and playing in the school orchestra, he also developed a fondness for cinema and roller skating. An amazing coincidence led him at age 15 to a party in the Hollywood Hills with Timothy Leary present and Nile’s first acid trip with accompanying hippy soundtrack! Despatched back to his mother’s care in New York, he soon became a run-away and session musician in the clubs in Greenwich Village.

 

This was where he first met Bernard Edwards and a friendship and music partnership began in the Big Apple Band, which would lead to the formation of the Chic Organization.

 

Programme 1 playlist

Programme 2 playlist

Chic

Good Times

 

Chic

Strike Up the Band

 

J McLaughlin & the Mahavishnu Orchestra

Meeting of the Spirit

 

New York City

Quick, Fast in a Hurry

 

Jimi Hendrix

Born Under a Bad Sign

 

Daft Punk, featuring Nile Rodgers on Guitar

Lose Yourself to Dance

 

Steve Winwood

Higher Love

 

Chic

Chic Cheer

 

Chic

Dance, Dance, dance

 

Sesame Street Band

Sesame Street Theme

 

Jackson Five

Never Can say Goodbye

 

Chic

I Want Your Love (live at Budokan theatre,  Japan)

 

Chic

Everybody Dance (live at Budokan theatre,  Japan)

 

James Brown

Sex Machine

 

David Bowie

Lets Dance

 

Paul Simon

Call Me Al

 

James Brown

Hot Pants Part 1

 

Hailee Steinfeld

Most Girls

 

Sigala featuring John Newman

Give Me Your Love

 

Sister Sledge

Lost in Music

 

All Stars We Are Family Foundation 2001

We Are Family

 

 

 

Programme

2

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 10 January 2018

 

 


Nile Rodgers talks in more detail about his musical partnership with Bernard Edwards.  They met at a club in the Bronx called the Fairtree Lounge, and they hit it off straight away complimenting each other on guitar and bass.  Bernard had a wonderful personality and was a great band leader, and could get you to do things you hadn’t thought of and he persuaded Nile to switch from his big jazz guitar to a Fender Stratocaster – now known as the famous Hitmaker that Nile still plays today.

 

Nile has had insomnia since he was a small child so he gets by on 2 or 3 hours a night and Bernard had a wife and kids and slept all the time so Nile did the bulk of writing, and Bernard would do the editing.  Nile could spend hours working on a lyric and a complicated jazz piece of music, and Bernard would come in and edit things – saying ‘get rid of this and get rid of that, and just say Dance, Dance, Dance!’.  Luther Vandross then added the background vocals with ‘Keep on Dancing’ – and that became Chic’s first hit. It got them a record deal – and Nile thought - I’m never going to write another song without this dude taking a look at it first!

 

Also because Nile was a wacky hippy type with a ‘green afro’ and weird clothes, Bernard kind of protected him from getting stick from other musicians when they were doing sessions.  His crazy hairstyle probably got him the job playing for the Sesame Street Band.  During the 70s they were supporting act for the Jackson Five and were on the tour bus with the Jacksons.  Michael’s father Joe was a strict disciplinarian and would shout at them, and Nile got very close to Michael as he was always a rebel and would do the opposite to what Joe was ordering.

 

Nile talks about the sudden death of his friend Bernard which happened while they were doing a television special in Japan.  Nile was being honoured as producer of the year in 1996 and Chic played a series of concerts the final one was at the Budokan in Tokyo.  Bernard had felt unwell at the start of the evening and a doctor was called and advised rest and to postpone the concert, but Bernard persuaded him that the show must go on and that he would rest straight after.  The show was a great success and included special guests Sister Sledge, Slash and Steve Winwood.  The following morning when Bernard failed to join everyone for breakfast Nile discovered that he had died during the night.  He was only 43 years old and he and Nile had been musical partners for over 25 years.

 

To honour Bernard’s memory the re-constituted Chic Organization went back to Japan the following year and played a Tribute concert in memory of Bernard.  Nile also talks about We Are Family the Foundation he set up in the wake of 9/11 and its work with underprivileged children who want to pursue a music career.

 

BBC Radio 2 Trailer

Programme 3 playlist

Sister Sledge

We Are Family

 

Sister Sledge

He’s the Greatest Dancer

 

Norma Jean

I Like Love

 

Chic

Le Freak

 

Diana Ross

Upside Down

 

Diana Ross

I’m Coming Out

 

Diana Ross

My Old Piano

 

Carly Simon

Why

 

Blondie

Backfired

 

David Bowie

Young Americans

 

David Bowie

Moon-age Daydream

 

David Bowie

Cat People

 

David Bowie

Let’s Dance

 

David Bowie

Criminal World

 

David Bowie

China Girl

 

 

 

Programme

3

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 17 January 2018 - 10 pm

 

 


Nile At his home in conversation with Vicki Wickham, Nile Rodgers talks about writing for other artists and about Chic’s most successful period from 1977 – 1979 when everything they touched went platinum, double and triple platinum.  Atlantic Records - their record label wanted him & Bernard to write for other artists and offered them the Rolling Stones and Bette Midler.  They said it would be better to work with a group who were fairly unknown, and so they were introduced to Sister Sledge and the rest as they say is history...although Nile admits they were winging it as they wrote the lyrics for We Are Family! They also didn’t realise that lead singer Kathy Sledge was only 16 and on their first hit ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ they were making her sing about having a one night stand.  The Sledge Sisters asked Nile & Bernard to change the lyric but they insisted it was important for the song.

 

They then went on to work with Diana Ross – and the Diana album produced major hits with Upside Down, I’m Coming Out and My Old Piano. This was a wonderful pairing – and they started by interviewing her as if they were making a documentary – all about the life of Diana Ross. She loved that concept – and Nile finds it easy to write about something that is real. She was talking about turning the world upside. This was a New Diana album - hers and hers alone – ‘instinctively you give to me – respectfully I say to thee..’ only Diana could sing those lyrics like the Queen.

 

One night Nile went to a club to check out the latest music – and this was a transvestite club – and there were lots of guys dressed as Diana and that gave Nile the idea for one of her biggest hits on the Diana album – I’m Coming Out.  There is a story of how he lied to Diana Ross about the meaning of the lyrics...

Nile talks about how he met David Bowie – nightclub called the Continental – lots of people from Studio 54 and this was a new club – rolling with Billy Idol one night and they bumped into Bowie.

 

Nile and Bowie hit it off straight away and the conversation turned to jazz – and they discovered they both shared a passion for this music. So they started working on album together – Nile was shocked because at the time nobody wanted to work with him because of the Disco Sucks Movement.  But Bowie is his own man and a big rock star he’s the man that everyone wants to work with.  Together they started going around the City – to try and find a concept for his new album.

 

Bowie told Nile he wanted him to do what he did best and make hits – he was offended for a moment because they had been talking about their jazz connections but Bowie pointed out if he did that best he’d be doing it. Nile had to agree he’s made pop music his own.  So Nile worked on the Let’s Dance album which was mostly songs that were already done but Bowie wanted Nile to make them hits – China Girl, Cat People were already done – the only song they worked up together from Bowie’s original folky type tune was Let’s Dance - then Nile added the funk – all done in one take made like a Chic record. David loved it and it became one of his biggest hit singles.

 

 

Programme

4

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 24 January 2018 - 10pm

 

 


In the final programme of Nile Rodgers in conversation with music aficionado Vicki Wickham – we have a world exclusive – a brand new track that Nile has produced for Chic which will have its first play during this show.

 

Also Nile talks about first encountering Madonna at a New York night club and how he wasn’t sure about her act. He also reveals her ambition even then was to become the biggest star in the world and he offered his help and worked on her Like a Virgin album which set her on her way to global domination.

 

He also talks about working with Beyonce as well as his collaborations with French dance duo Daft Punk which produced the massive hit classic Get Lucky. He reflects on his home in Westport and the importance of New York in his life.

 

He continues to tour constantly with Chic as well as producing or playing his guitar on tracks for a whole litany of artists from Sting to Lady GaGa, and from Britney Spears to Sigala. The future for Mr Rodgers is always lost in music...

Programme 4 playlist

Chic

Everybody Dance

 

Duran Duran

The Reflex

 

Madonna

Everybody Come on Dance & Sing

 

Jenny Burton

Remember What You Like

 

Destiny’s Child

Upside Down

 

Madonna

Borderline

 

Madonna

Like a Virgin

 

Madonna

Material Girl

 

Chic

Good Times

 

Sugarhill Gang

Rappers Delight

 

Queen

Another One Bites the Dust

 

The Archies

Sugar, Sugar

 

Daft Punk

Da Funk

 

Chic

Le Freak

 

Daft Punk

Get Lucky

 

Chic

Chic Medley Live

 

Eric Clapton

Stone Free

 

Jeff Beck

Ambitious

 

Mick Jagger

Secrets

 

Grace Jones

I’m Not Perfect (But I’m Perfect for You)

 

Thompson Twins

Lay Your Hands on Me

 

Al Jarreau

L is for Lover

 

Mariah Carey

You Need Me

 

Nervo feat Jake Shears, Kylie Minogue & Nile Rodgers

The Other Boys

 

Britney Spears

Anticipating

 

Paul Simon

Think Too Much

 

Inxs

Original Sin

 

The B 52s

Roam

 

Lady GaGa, Nile Rodgers & Daft Punk

Hero

 

Odyssey

Native New Yorker

 

Chic

I Believe in Music

(this is a new unreleased  track

Nile has produced for Chic)

 

Sister Sledge

Lost in Music

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Vicki Wickham in conversation

with Nile Rodgers

BBC Radio 2

 

Programme

1

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 3 January 2018

 

 

Nile reflects on his childhood in New York and his early musical influences.

 

Born to parents who were both heroin addicts – times were hard, but music especially jazz played an important role in the family home. His mother gave birth to him when she was only 14 years old, and he was quite a weak child health-wise and attended a special hospital school. The upside of which was that from an early age he was educated with other children much older and he developed fast, becoming a prolific reader, and then turned his hand to music.

 

He was shipped off to California to live with his paternal grandmother who hoped to save him from the beatnik life style of his parents; she sent him to Catholic school which he hated and he proudly set the record for playing truant in extraordinary ways. While learning classical clarinet and playing in the school orchestra, he also developed a fondness for cinema and roller skating. An amazing coincidence led him at age 15 to a party in the Hollywood Hills with Timothy Leary present and Nile’s first acid trip with accompanying hippy soundtrack! Despatched back to his mother’s care in New York, he soon became a run-away and session musician in the clubs in Greenwich Village.

 

This was where he first met Bernard Edwards and a friendship and music partnership began in the Big Apple Band, which would lead to the formation of the Chic Organization.

 

 

Programme

2

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 10 January 2018

 

 


Nile Rodgers talks in more detail about his musical partnership with Bernard Edwards.  They met at a club in the Bronx called the Fairtree Lounge, and they hit it off straight away complimenting each other on guitar and bass.  Bernard had a wonderful personality and was a great band leader, and could get you to do things you hadn’t thought of and he persuaded Nile to switch from his big jazz guitar to a Fender Stratocaster – now known as the famous Hitmaker that Nile still plays today.

 

Nile has had insomnia since he was a small child so he gets by on 2 or 3 hours a night and Bernard had a wife and kids and slept all the time so Nile did the bulk of writing, and Bernard would do the editing.  Nile could spend hours working on a lyric and a complicated jazz piece of music, and Bernard would come in and edit things – saying ‘get rid of this and get rid of that, and just say Dance, Dance, Dance!’.  Luther Vandross then added the background vocals with ‘Keep on Dancing’ – and that became Chic’s first hit. It got them a record deal – and Nile thought - I’m never going to write another song without this dude taking a look at it first!

 

Also because Nile was a wacky hippy type with a ‘green afro’ and weird clothes, Bernard kind of protected him from getting stick from other musicians when they were doing sessions.  His crazy hairstyle probably got him the job playing for the Sesame Street Band.  During the 70s they were supporting act for the Jackson Five and were on the tour bus with the Jacksons.  Michael’s father Joe was a strict disciplinarian and would shout at them, and Nile got very close to Michael as he was always a rebel and would do the opposite to what Joe was ordering.

 

Nile talks about the sudden death of his friend Bernard which happened while they were doing a television special in Japan.  Nile was being honoured as producer of the year in 1996 and Chic played a series of concerts the final one was at the Budokan in Tokyo.  Bernard had felt unwell at the start of the evening and a doctor was called and advised rest and to postpone the concert, but Bernard persuaded him that the show must go on and that he would rest straight after.  The show was a great success and included special guests Sister Sledge, Slash and Steve Winwood.  The following morning when Bernard failed to join everyone for breakfast Nile discovered that he had died during the night.  He was only 43 years old and he and Nile had been musical partners for over 25 years.

 

To honour Bernard’s memory the re-constituted Chic Organization went back to Japan the following year and played a Tribute concert in memory of Bernard.  Nile also talks about We Are Family the Foundation he set up in the wake of 9/11 and its work with underprivileged children who want to pursue a music career.

 

 

Programme

3

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 17 January 2018

 

 


Nile At his home in conversation with Vicki Wickham, Nile Rodgers talks about writing for other artists and about Chic’s most successful period from 1977 – 1979 when everything they touched went platinum, double and triple platinum.  Atlantic Records - their record label wanted him & Bernard to write for other artists and offered them the Rolling Stones and Bette Midler.  They said it would be better to work with a group who were fairly unknown, and so they were introduced to Sister Sledge and the rest as they say is history...although Nile admits they were winging it as they wrote the lyrics for We Are Family! They also didn’t realise that lead singer Kathy Sledge was only 16 and on their first hit ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ they were making her sing about having a one night stand.  The Sledge Sisters asked Nile & Bernard to change the lyric but they insisted it was important for the song.

 

They then went on to work with Diana Ross – and the Diana album produced major hits with Upside Down, I’m Coming Out and My Old Piano. This was a wonderful pairing – and they started by interviewing her as if they were making a documentary – all about the life of Diana Ross. She loved that concept – and Nile finds it easy to write about something that is real. She was talking about turning the world upside. This was a New Diana album - hers and hers alone – ‘instinctively you give to me – respectfully I say to thee..’ only Diana could sing those lyrics like the Queen.

 

One night Nile went to a club to check out the latest music – and this was a transvestite club – and there were lots of guys dressed as Diana and that gave Nile the idea for one of her biggest hits on the Diana album – I’m Coming Out.  There is a story of how he lied to Diana Ross about the meaning of the lyrics...

Nile talks about how he met David Bowie – nightclub called the Continental – lots of people from Studio 54 and this was a new club – rolling with Billy Idol one night and they bumped into Bowie.

 

Nile and Bowie hit it off straight away and the conversation turned to jazz – and they discovered they both shared a passion for this music. So they started working on album together – Nile was shocked because at the time nobody wanted to work with him because of the Disco Sucks Movement.  But Bowie is his own man and a big rock star he’s the man that everyone wants to work with.  Together they started going around the City – to try and find a concept for his new album.

 

Bowie told Nile he wanted him to do what he did best and make hits – he was offended for a moment because they had been talking about their jazz connections but Bowie pointed out if he did that best he’d be doing it. Nile had to agree he’s made pop music his own.  So Nile worked on the Let’s Dance album which was mostly songs that were already done but Bowie wanted Nile to make them hits – China Girl, Cat People were already done – the only song they worked up together from Bowie’s original folky type tune was Let’s Dance - then Nile added the funk – all done in one take made like a Chic record. David loved it and it became one of his biggest hit singles.

 

 

Programme

4

 

FIRST BROADCAST

Wednesday 24 January 2018

 

 


In the final programme of Nile Rodgers in conversation with music aficionado Vicki Wickham – we have a world exclusive – a brand new track that Nile has produced for Chic which will have its first play during this show.

 

Also Nile talks about first encountering Madonna at a New York night club and how he wasn’t sure about her act. He also reveals her ambition even then was to become the biggest star in the world and he offered his help and worked on her Like a Virgin album which set her on her way to global domination.

 

He also talks about working with Beyonce as well as his collaborations with French dance duo Daft Punk which produced the massive hit classic Get Lucky. He reflects on his home in Westport and the importance of New York in his life.

 

He continues to tour constantly with Chic as well as producing or playing his guitar on tracks for a whole litany of artists from Sting to Lady GaGa, and from Britney Spears to Sigala. The future for Mr Rodgers is always lost in music...