Have all our electro pop dreams come true? The Nile Rogers-Daft Punk hybrid has become a reality . The robo duo’s new album ‘Random Access Memories’ sees them teaming up with the legendary Chic guitarist. But it’s not just his licks that have made him disco-funk godhead, it’s also his production. Let’s look at his career-defining work.
We Are Family – Sister Sledge
Written and produced by the Chic team of Rogers and Bernard Edwards, the third album from the sisters, um, Sledge, was a classic of lush Studio-54-like glamour. The eight-track (perfect!) album contained the trademark sound of Chic, the high-strung guitar licks and the looping, low-end bass. It was all topped off by the Sister’s celestial harmonies on tracks like ‘Lost In Music’, ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’ and their statement track ‘We Are Family’.
Following on from the confident persona of her 1979 album ‘The Boss’, Miss Ross hit up Rogers and Edwards in an attempt to keep her sound contemporary. The lyrics of the album reflected Ross’ state of mind at the time (she had gone through a divorce and her relationship with long-time label Motown was crumbling), with songs like ‘I’m Coming Out’ hinting at a new confidence. The reinvention proved problematic with Ross insisting the album be remixed and Chic threatening to take their names off the finished product. In the end it was one of Ross’ biggest solo albums and Chic’s greatest writing/production triumphs.
Bowie’s shiny, 80s persona began in earnest with 1983’s ‘Let’s Dance’. The coolly celebratory mood of the first single and title track was replicated in the precise grooves of singles ‘China Girl’ and ‘Modern Love’. Rogers’ production gave the album it’s big, stadium rock sound that would be synonymous with the decade and facilitated Bowie’s latest (and hugely commercially successful) reinvention.
Following the success of her debut album, Madge shifted it up a gear with her second album. Aided by the muscle of Rogers, the album featured some of her trademark, persona defining material like the title track, ‘Material Girl’ and ‘Dress You Up’. Aided by a provocative cover and a unforgettable performance at the VMA’s, ‘Like A Virgin’ ushered in Madonna’s imperial phase.
Following the death of founder member Ricky Wilson, The B-52s decision to go back into the studio was a risk. But emboldened by a new sense of resolve the gamble paid off. Produced by Rogers and Don Was, ‘Cosmic Thing’ was the sound of a band looking forward, embracing their legacy and reputation as “the world’s greatest party band” TM but also revealing a surprisingly contemplative side on tracks like ‘Deadbeat Club’ and the environmentally-minded ‘Channel Z’.