The legacy of Nile Rodgers is far from short, but it sure is sweet. On the legend’s 62nd born day, we’re taking a moment to help y’all realize exactly why they call him (or is it that axe of his?) “The Hitmaker.” In fact, there very well may not be a single hand, foot or mind (except for that great Purple Sage who rests his little feet up north) in the history of this culture that’s influenced the entire spectrum of popular music in so drastic a manner and in such a short period of time. With the glittery nu-disco ism making its way back into the sonic scene, it’s no wonder electronic pioneers like Daft Punk and UK wiz kids Disclosure have tapped into the root to lead the charge, tried and true six-string in-hand (rumored to have been played on nearly 2 billion dollars worth of recordings)
Rodgers’ recordings may date back to the polyester jumpsuit days, but this is a cat whose touch is so shaded, yet so prolific, so Midas-like even, that it’s insanely possible that you might have never even realized how much he’s done for you. Yeah, you. You who’s cherished hip-hop’s baby days, “golden era” (whatever the hell that even means at this point) and beyond. While rarely given fair due, Rodgers has managed to be the funky backbone of some the most iconic and (very) first recordings our tradition has to offer. Not even he could have imagined that his guitar would soon be introducing the world to getting jiggy, explaining the money/problems ratio and teaching us what it meant to truly be notorious.
This is our attempt at playing the ole musical connect the dots, giving necessary and proper shine to the gawd for building the bridges between funk, disco and hip-hop, fortified with sequence and cocaine. And even a few timeless cuts to boot. Here are 10 of the finest frequencies the man has ever graced, from David Bowie to Chic, from Madonna to Sister Sledge. And no, Pharrell doesn’t count this time through. Let us all free our funk flags in the celebration of Nile Rodgers’ 62nd year and rock with his immense, yet somehow understated catalogue of certified gems. Here’s to 62 more.