On April 8, 2017, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame sort of righted a classic wrong by awarding Nile Rodgers an Award for Musical Excellence. The songwriter/producer/guitarist - part of the nucleus of beloved disco group Chic - graciously accepted, but it was not lost on Rodgers nor his countless fans that Chic had made the ballot for Hall of Fame induction 11 times, and never made it in.
Of Chic's core members, Rodgers - a multiple cancer survivor - is the only one still standing: bassist and songwriting partner Bernard Edwards died on tour in 1996, while cancer claimed drummer Tony Thompson in 2003. But we'd argue the full organization still deserves their flowers from the induction committee - and we're going to try to convince you in six songs.
The Originals: "Le Freak" and "Good Times"
Even if Chic did nothing else, these pumped-up disco chart-toppers would earn them props anyway. "Le Freak" remains the best hit inspired by getting stiffed at Studio 54, while the raucous rhythm of "Good Times" helped hip-hop go mainstream.
The Productions: Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" and Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out"
Chic used their clout as artists to start writing and producing smashes for others. Sister Sledge went from obscurity to the top of the charts with "We Are Family," while an established veteran like Diana Ross revitalized her career with back-to-back No. 1s "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out."
The Back-Ups: Carly Simon's "Why" and Madonna's "Like a Virgin"
Chic's commercial fortunes fell with the disco backlash at the turn of the '80s, and they eventually broke up - but the group continued to do great work together. One of the band's last projects was the soundtrack to a film nobody remembers named Soup for One that nonetheless featured a British Top 10 hit for Carly Simon called "Why." Two years later, as Rodgers' production career started taking off thanks to hits by David Bowie and Duran Duran, Nile recruited the Chic Organization to back up Madonna on her second album Like a Virgin, which featured - you guessed it - another chart-topper in the title track, plus a No. 2 hit "Material Girl."