Nile Rodgers, the man who brought us disco, to talk at the 2012 Edinburgh Book Festival
How one man helped shape a generation of pop
This article is from 2012.
As the Book Festival programme announces, Nile Rodgers is ‘The Man Who Brought Us Disco’. Or, to be more accurate, he is: The Chic Frontman Who Brought Us Disco; Who Worked with Mick Jagger, Prince and Debbie Harry; Who Produced Madonna, David Bowie and Diana Ross; Who Created the Most-Sampled Band of All-Time and then Flat-lined with Mickey Rourke. But that’s not the half of it.
As befits a pioneer who has sold over 100m records, conquered addiction, seen off cancer and written some of pop’s greatest songs – Chic’s ‘Le Freak’ and Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ for two – Rodgers is a terrific storyteller. His autobiography, Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and History, is enthralling.
Did Rodgers realise what impact he’d make on our culture when he started writing Chic songs in the 1970s? ‘I don’t think when you’re creating art that you’re thinking that far into the future, even though we called ourselves futurists.’ Rodgers’ Book Festival appearance promises colourful anecdotes from throughout his life. ‘It’s not just about being in the band Chic, it’s about the Chic Organisation, the artists I worked with, the songs that I wrote for Diana Ross, Duran Duran and INXS.’ And it’s not just about Nile Rodgers. It’s about pop music as we know it.
10-19 Aug, 9.30pm, £10 (£8).