by Ellie Ross
Funk legend Nile Rodgers is the genius behind disco giants Chic but has also produced and played on some of the biggest-selling albums of all time by artists including Madonna, David Bowie, Duran Duran and Diana Ross.
And on each track he has played his white 1959 Fender Stratocaster, known as The Hitmaker.
The total value of music to flow through the instrument was once valued at $2billion — that’s £1.3billion — and Rodgers has once again proved the instrument is a force to be reckoned with.
He and his trusty Fender provide the riff for Daft Punk’s anthem of the summer Get Lucky, which is top of the UK singles chart for the second week running. Last month the track hit No3, despite being available for just over 24 hours.
Then music site Spotify announced it had become the most streamed song over a 24-hour period in the UK and US in their five-year history.
Rodgers, 60, said he felt “wonderful” about the track’s success, adding: “For it to come together in this fashion is just great.”
Referring to when Chic stormed the charts with Le Freak, he added: “It’s like the summer of ’78 has been duplicated.” French duo Daft Punk wanted to write and record Get Lucky the old-fashioned way.
They went to Electric Lady — the studio designed for Jimi Hendrix in New York — and Rodgers’ Fender was plugged directly into the mixing board.
Rodgers said: “They chose to go the difficult route. They don’t believe in shortcuts. They allowed me just to write and play. Then we chipped away at it. By the end of the night — woah! It’s a smash.”
Rodgers has now sold more than 100MILLION records, having taught himself guitar as a teen to impress a girl.
In 1973, he bought his “Hitmaker” — a combination of a 1959 body and a 1960 neck.
In 1976 he formed disco-funk band Chic with guitarist Bernard Edwards and they produced floor-fillers including Everybody Dance (1978) and Good Times (1979).
The Good Times riff was sampled by Sugarhill Gang on their 1979 track Rapper’s Delight, which is widely credited with introducing rap and hip-hop to the world.
In 1980, Rodgers and Edwards co-wrote, produced and played on Diana Ross’s hit album Diana.
After creating 1983 chart-topper Let’s Dance with David Bowie, Rodgers went on to work with a Who’s Who of Eighties pop.
In 1984, The Hitmaker helped catapult Madonna to fame with her Like A Virgin album. Duran Duran followed — The Reflex (1984) became their biggest-selling hit and Rodgers went on to work with them on releases including 1986 album Notorious.
Rodgers’ iconic Fender may have already pulled in £1.3billion but the success of Get Lucky has ensured that figure will soar.
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