Happy 66th birthday to disco and funk god Nile Rodgers


Today in rock history: On this date in 1989, American record label Rykodisc released the first truly comprehensive David Bowie collection, the 3-CD box set entitled Sound + Vision. After Bowie had acquired the rights to his earlier recorded works that spanned a variety of record labels, he contracted with the Massachusetts-based Rykodisc for a massive reissue campaign that would include the bulk of David’s 1970s albums. To kick off the entire project, Sound + Vision, a superb and meticulously assembled box set, was released to draw attention to the catalog reissues that would follow. Instead of opting for obvious hits and established Bowie classics, the set consisted of a wealth of rare tracks, demos, live recordings and several songs that had been previously unreleased. The gorgeous and eye-catching set sold well; sales in America alone topped more than 200,000 copies after only a year of release and the set won a "Best Album Package" Grammy in 1990. Originally containing a CD-video disc that contained a few of Bowie’s best-known video clips, the set was also released on cassette and LP formats. Later reissued in 2003, the updated set spanned Bowie’s career even more thoroughly and contained additional material released after the original box came out. Named after a Bowie track from his 1977 album Low, Sound + Vision was successful enough to prompt the rock icon to embark on a massive world tour that carried the same name as this deluxe set.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1952, Nile Gregory Rodgers Jr. was born in New York City. The mastermind behind one of the most intriguing and influential bands to emerge in the 1970s, the stylish dance act Chic, Nile and his distinctive guitar playing were responsible for some of the biggest and most enduring dance hits of the decade, including “Le Freak” and “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah).” Along with a mind-blowing bassist, the late Bernard Edwards, Rodgers helped elevate the sound and the presentation of Chic so that the group looked and sounded like no one else at the time. Admittedly modeling the band’s look and album covers after that of British art rock band Roxy Music, Rodgers created some of the most solid and consistent records of the era and redefined all of the genres (pop, R&B, funk, soul, disco and rock) that were dominating radio airwaves at the time. Rodgers is also one of the most acclaimed and respected record producers in the business, having added his vision and touch to hit records by acts like Duran Duran, Madonna, David Bowie, INXS, Lady Gaga and Daft Punk, to name a few. Still active and still touring with a newly revamped and re-imagined version of Chic, Nile Rodgers is still making people dance and feel good with his music.

Today in rock history: On this date in 1989, Let Love Rule, the debut album from rock and soul-inspired singer/songwriter Lenny Kravitz was released. The son of actress Roxie Roker, who held the role of a regular character on popular television sitcom The Jeffersons, Lenny grew up in California listening to and being influenced by artists like David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye and The Rolling Stones, to name a few. By the time he created this fine debut album, he’d found a way to weave all of those influences into his own brand of rock and soul. A critically acclaimed success, the album contained the classics “I Built This Garden For Us,” the racially charged “Mr. Cab Driver” and the peace and love inspired title track. Accused of being too black or too white by radio, the multiracial artist still found a way to deliver his message and attract a massive cross section of listeners of all races and age groups. Still vital and relevant, Let Love Rule sounds as fresh and pertinent today as it did upon its release. Kravitz would go on to release several more hit albums and would score many hit singles, but this is the album that introduced him to the masses and helped him make an impression on the music world.

Album Review: Out of the blue and into the black — Neil Young’s Hitchhiker is a revelation

Today in rock history: On this date in 1970, Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young released his third solo album, the landmark After the Gold Rush. Although it was met with mixed reviews upon its release, the album is nonetheless one of the most relevant and significant releases from Young’s earliest days as a solo artist. Including the singles “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love You,” this fantastic album also featured the topical and outspoken song “Southern Man,” which found Young criticizing racism in the South. The tune prompted one of the greatest and most pointed responses in rock history, a legendary line within Florida band Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1974 anthem, “Sweet Home Alabama” (Skynyrd's lyric went, "Well, I heard Mister Young sing about her/Well, I heard ol' Neil put her down/Well, I hope Neil Young will remember/a Southern man don't need him around anyhow"). Showing off Young’s leanings towards country music and folk, the record also contained an impressive cover of Don Gibson’s 1957 country music hit, “Oh, Lonesome Me.” Widely considered to be one of Young’s best and most consistent albums, After The Gold Rush climbed as high as No. 8 on Billboard’s pop albums chart and achieved gold sales status within its first year of release making it one of the fastest-selling albums of Young's his long and illustrious career.

About The Author

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...
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