Deep Album Cuts Vol. 89: Chic

Chic won't be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame tonight, despite having been nominated for a record 11th time. Instead, Nile Rodgers will receive the hall's Award for Musical Excellence, a vague honorary given out by a special committee that sounds to everyone, including Rodgers, like a weird concession prize being given out of a guilty conscience. But one thing is for sure: if Chic can't get into the hall, probably no disco band can (although Donna Summer is in the hall, as are a number of rock acts who had 'disco phases). They're one of the greatest bands of the disco era, but beyond that, Rodgers and Bernard Edwards that patterned Chic after Roxy Music and wrote hits for countless rock and pop artists. They're probably the best argument that sometimes serious, talented artists choose to write glossy dance music.

Chic Deep Album Cuts (Spotify playlist):

1. Strike Up The Band
2. You Can Get By
3. Falling In Love With You
4. Chic Cheer
5. At Last I Am Free
6. Happy Man
7. Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)
8. Can't Stand To Love You
9. Open Up
10. I Got Protection
11. You Can't Do It Alone
12. Your Love Is Cancelled
13. Flash Back
14. Tavern On The Green
15. Hey Fool
16. Party Everybody
17. High

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 from Chic (1977)
Tracks 4, 5 and 6 from C'est Chic (1978)
Tracks 7 and 8 from Risque (1979)
Tracks 9, 10 and 11 from Real People (1980)
Tracks 12 and 13 from Take It Off (1981)
Track 14 from Soup For One (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (1982)
Track 15 from Tongue In Chic (1982)
Track 16 from Believer (1983)
Track 17 from One Love (1992)

Chic released their 3rd album, Risque, just three weeks after the infamous 'Disco Demolition Night' in Chicago that helped spark the widespread backlash to disco. Risque went platinum and peaked at #5 on the charts, but it was their last album to enjoy anywhere near that kind of success. And then they kept at it for a few more years until Rodgers and Edwards started having more luck writing songs for other acts and shook of the disco stigma. So that means that the majority of the band's work has existed in that odd zone where they're former hitmakers. I have a particular fondness for the Real People/Soup For One era, which Michaelangelo Matos wrote about really well in this piece.

One Love was the last album before Bernard Edwards died in 1996, and Nile Rodgers announced a new Chic album, It's About Time, in 2015, but it's still not out, and I wonder if he's futilely been trying to time it to the band finally getting into the R&R HOF.

For the last decade or so, the compilation The Very Best of Chic has been one of my favorite CDs to play in the car, so I was curious to hear the rest of their albums and dig into the deep cuts. One thing that stands out is that while most of the group's biggest hits are sung by a rotating lineup of female vocalists including Alfa Anderson, Luci Martin, and Norma Jean Wright, on the albums you get to hear the voices of the band's two founders more. Bernard Edwards has a great suave voice on "You Can Get By," "Happy Man," and "Flash Back," and Nile Rodgers has an amateurish charm on "Your Love Is Cancelled" and makes a decent effort at rapping on "Party Everybody."

I should note that there is a weird glitch on Spotify at the moment where the titles are switched for two tracks on Believe, "Party Everybody" and "Show Me Your Light." The former is on this playlist but it may appear to be the latter in Spotify.

Chic has been sampled and interpolated countless time since "Rapper's Delight" jacked the "Good Times" riff, and a couple of these deep cuts have been sampled notably. "Chic Cheer," which was never released as a single in support of 1978's C'est Chic, took on a second life when Bernard Edwards remixed it in 1984 and "Chic Cheer (1984 Mix)" charted in the UK. And then in 1998 it was sampled by Faith Evans for a massive hit, "Love Like This." Kanye West sampled "Will You Cry (When You Hear This Song)" on a Freeway track in 2003, and a year later it was also sampled on the Nas single "Just A Moment."

Previous playlists in the Deep Album Cuts series:
Vol. 1: Brandy
Vol. 2: Whitney Houston
Vol. 3: Madonna
Vol. 4: My Chemical Romance
Vol. 5: Brad Paisley
Vol. 6: George Jones
Vol. 7: The Doors
Vol. 8: Jay-Z
Vol. 9: Robin Thicke
Vol. 10: R. Kelly
Vol. 11: Fall Out Boy
Vol. 12: TLC
Vol. 13: Pink
Vol. 14: Queen
Vol. 15: Steely Dan
Vol. 16: Trick Daddy
Vol. 17: Paramore
Vol. 18: Elton John
Vol. 19: Missy Elliott
Vol. 20: Mariah Carey
Vol. 21: The Pretenders
Vol. 22: "Weird Al" Yankovic
Vol. 23: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Vol. 24: Foo Fighters
Vol. 25: Counting Crows
Vol. 26: T.I.
Vol. 27: Jackson Browne
Vol. 28: Usher
Vol. 29: Mary J. Blige
Vol. 30: The Black Crowes
Vol. 31: Ne-Yo
Vol. 32: Blink-182
Vol. 33: One Direction
Vol. 34: Kelly Clarkson
Vol. 35: The B-52's
Vol. 36: Ludacris
Vol. 37: They Might Be Giants
Vol. 38: T-Pain
Vol. 39: Snoop Dogg
Vol. 40: Ciara
Vol. 41: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Vol. 42: Dwight Yoakam
Vol. 43: Demi Lovato
Vol. 44: Prince
Vol. 45: Duran Duran
Vol. 46: Rihanna
Vol. 47: Janet Jackson
Vol. 48: Sara Bareilles
Vol. 49: Motley Crue
Vol. 50: The Who
Vol. 51: Coldplay
Vol. 52: Alicia Keys
Vol. 53: Stone Temple Pilots
Vol. 54: David Bowie
Vol. 55: The Eagles
Vol. 56: The Beatles
Vol. 57: Beyonce
Vol. 58: Beanie Sigel
Vol. 59: A Tribe Called Quest
Vol. 60: Cheap Trick
Vol. 61: Guns N' Roses
Vol. 62: The Posies
Vol. 63: The Time
Vol. 64: Gucci Mane
Vol. 65: Violent Femmes
Vol. 66: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Vol. 67: Maxwell
Vol. 68: Parliament-Funkadelic
Vol. 69: Chevelle
Vol. 70: Ray Parker Jr. and Raydio
Vol. 71: Fantasia
Vol. 72: Heart
Vol. 73: Pitbull
Vol. 74: Nas
Vol. 75: Monica
Vol. 76: The Cars
Vol. 77: 112
Vol. 78: 2Pac
Vol. 79: Nelly
Vol. 80: Meat Loaf
Vol. 81: AC/DC
Vol. 82: Bruce Springsteen
Vol. 83: Pearl Jam
Vol. 84: Green Day
Vol. 85: George Michael and Wham!
Vol. 86: New Edition
Vol. 87: Chuck Berry
Vol. 88: Electric Light Orchestra
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