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Nile Rodgers Discusses The Birth and Influence of ‘Good Times’

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The timing was perfect for Chic when they recorded and released “Good Times” in 1979; disco’s popularity was at it’s peak and the band’s relentless pursuit of the perfect groove was about to be realized. The inception of a song was fueled by a late night of partying turned into an early morning in the studio, according to Nile Rodgers.

“One night I was hanging out at Studio 54,” recalls Rodgers, admitting it had been a particularly crazy night, even by 1979 standards. “I went right from partying to the recording studio.” Rodgers taught the band the groove he had long been working on, when his song righting partner, Bernard Edwards, entered the studio.

“Bernard was a little late to the studio and he walked in and he goes, ‘Wow! What is that?’” says Rodgers of his late bandmate. Once Edwards was caught up with the band, he began mimicking Rodgers before developing their individual parts — the duos usual song making process — when Rodgers screamed over the drummer, “Walk! Walk!” Rodgers and Edwards finally found the walking baseline they had been searching for.

“… we just started jamming and I screamed to the engineer, ‘Make it red!’” Rodgers and the rest of the band recorded “Good Times” on the spot, becoming Chic’s second number one single to appear on both the Billboard Hot 100 and soul singles chart — the first being “Le Freak” in 1978 — upon it’s release in August of 1979.

Photo: E.J. Judge, CBS Local

Photo: E.J. Judge, CBS Local

[Photos] Nile Rodgers in studio with Joe Causi

Shortly after “Good Times” reached number one on the charts, a landmark recording in hip hop was released with “Rapper’s Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang. Edwards’ bass line from “Good Times” was prominently used on the track, almost forcing Rodgers to take legal action until he and Edwards were credited as co-writers.

One year after “Good Times” ascension to the top of the charts, Queen‘s “Another One Bites The Dust” was released, spending nearly the entire month of October in 1980 at number one. The influence of Chic’s “Good Times” is obvious in “Another One Bites The Dust,” which can be attributed to a guest present in the studio when Rodgers was recording.

“The night that I wrote ‘Good Times,’ guess who was in the studio?’” asked Rodgers. “John Deacon, the bass player [of Queen] who wrote ‘Another One Bites The Dust.’”

>> Watch Joe Causi’s full interview with Nile Rodgers <<

–E.J. Judge/WCBS-FM


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