If you never heard of Nile Rodgers before he showed up alongside Pharrell in the hotly anticipated new Daft Punk track Get Lucky and wondered why he deserved to stand beside those icons of modern music, there’s a very strong argument that you should go right ahead and kill yourself.
Over the last forty years Rodgers has carved himself a place in music history as one of the greatest session guitarists of all time – he’s played with everybody from Aretha Franklin to Johnny Marr, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins to Michael Jackson, Bryan Ferry to Bob Dylan.
He’s also an incredibly prolific and talented producer, acting as a guiding hand in the racially limitless direction that popular music took in the eighties by fusing funk, rock and dance music (read: “black music”) in a way that was palatable to mainstream audiences (read: “white people”).
Here’s ten of the more notable tracks that Nile Rodgers ever lent his production talents to.
10. ‘Notorious‘ – Duran Duran
Nile Rodgers both produced and played guitar on Notorious, Simon Le Bon’s much-lauded concept album about the life and times of Biggie Smalls. Ironically, the record was entirely written and recorded several years before Smalls released any music.
9. ‘I’m Coming Out‘ – Diana Ross
A guy could listen to this song while getting his bone on with a woman, and it would still be gayer than the time he blew his best friend after that one tension-fraught game of five-a-side.
8. ‘Out Out‘ – Peter Gabriel
Rodgers produced this stand-out track from the original soundtrack to Gremlins, the thematic crux of which was later crudely plagiarised by Micky Flanagan.
7. ‘I Got It‘ – Eddie Murphy
Legend has it that every single person who has ever brought up Rodger’s work with Eddie Murphy post-1995 has died within two weeks, similar to what happens if you the video tape in The Ring.
5. ‘China Girl‘ – David Bowie
Considering the pro-Australian aboriginal bent of the video to the title track of the Rodgers-produced Let’s Dance, China Girl is hilariously racist. This album is like Rodney Dangerfield, in that it doesn’t get enough respect.
6. ‘Black Tie White Noise‘ – David Bowie
Rodgers also co-produced 1993′s Black Tie White Noise alongside The Thin White Duke, a record which has the rare honour of being one of those Bowie albums that absolutely no one gives the tiniest of shits about.
4. ‘Fireball Zone‘ – Ric Ocasek
Fireball Zone is without a doubt the best song ever recorded about the moments that directly precede a boss fight with King Bowser.
3. ‘Come to Butt-head‘ – Beavis and Butt-head
He co-wrote this. I don’t even know.
2. ‘We Are Family‘ – Sister Sledge
This song was featured heavily in promotional materials for the video release of the motion picture Recess: School’s Out, but did not actually appear in the film itself. Nile has lost sleep over this.
1. ‘Like A Virgin‘ – Madonna
According to Quentin Tarantino, True Blue is about a nice girl who finds a sensitive fella, but Like A Virgin is a metaphor for big dicks. The only thing I know is that Niles Rodgers produced the shit out of it.