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Bernard Edwards

From Academic Kids

Bernard Edwards (1953-1996), born in Greenville, North Carolina, was a bass player and record producer, both as a member of Chic and on his own. He died of pneumonia while touring in Japan.

Contents

History

Edwards who grew up in Brooklyn NYC met Nile Rodgers in the early 1970s. The two formed the Big Apple Band (active from 1972-1975/6) and then united with drummer Tony Thompson to eventually form Chic together with singer Norma Jean Wright.

With Chic (active 1976-1983) Edwards created era-defining hits such as "Dance, Dance, Dance", "Everybody Dance", "Le Freak", "I Want Your Love" and "Good Times". Edwards also worked with Nile Rodgers to produce and write for other artists, using Chic to perform everything musically and vocally except lead vocals. Those productions with Norma Jean Wright, Sister Sledge, Sheila & B. Devotion, Diana Ross, Johnny Mathis, Debbie Harry and Fonzi Thornton led to more hits such as "Saturday", "He's The Greatest Dancer", "We Are Family", "Spacer", "Upside Down", "I'm Coming Out" and "Backfired" to name a few.

Chic split in 1983 after personal and artistic differences between Edwards and Rodgers.

Edwards released a solo album the same year, and in 1985 he was instrumental in the formation of the supergroup Power Station. The band's first album was produced by Edwards and featured Chic drummer Tony Thompson, and Duran Duran members John and Andy Taylor as well as singer Robert Palmer. Edwards followed this by producing Robert Palmer's hit album Riptide. He continued to produce artists throughout the 1980s and 90s. Among others, he worked with Diana Ross, Rod Stewart, Air Supply, ABC and Duran Duran.

Edwards teamed up with Nile Rodgers again for the Chic reunion in the early 1990s and released the album CHIC-ism in 1992.

In 1996 Nile Rodgers was named JT Superproducer of the Year in Japan, and was invited to perform there with Chic in April of that year. Just before the concert at the Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Edwards fell ill, but despite Rodgers' insistence he refused to cancel the gig. He managed to perform but had to be helped at times. After the concert he retired to his hotel room where he was later found dead by Rodgers. The cause of death was ruled to be pneumonia.

Influence

Bernard Edwards is considered one of the most important bass players of the 20th century. His bass line from Chic hit "Good Times" has become one of the most copied pieces of music in history, and had a huge influence on musicians of all genres when released.

The bass line was used without credit or royalty for the first rap hit in history, Sugarhill Gang's "Rappers Delight" in 1979, and copied by Queen's bass player John Deacon for Queen's rock hit "Another One Bites The Dust" in 1980. The following twenty-odd years has seen it sampled inumerable times by artists of the most diverse genres, from Rap to Punk and Techno to Pop. Duran Duran bassist John Taylor often played the song in homage during his solo performances, and cited Edwards as his primary influence.

Selected Discography

Chic

  • Chic (1977)
  • C'est Chic (1978)
  • Risqué (1979)
  • Real People (1980)
  • Take It Off (1981)
  • Tongue in Chic (1982)
  • Believer (1983)
  • The Best of Chic, Vol 1 (1991)
  • Chic-ism (1992)
  • The Best of Chic, Vol 2 (1992)
  • Live at the Budokan (1999)

Solo

  • Glad To Be Here (1983)

Production

  • Norma Jean, Norma Jean (1978)
  • We Are Family, Sister Sledge (1979)
  • King Of The World, Sheila & B. Devotion (1980)
  • Love Somebody Today, Sister Sledge (1980)
  • Diana, Diana Ross (1980)
  • I Love My Lady, Johnny Mathis (1981) UNRELEASED
  • Koo Koo, Debbie Harry (1981)
  • unknown title, Fonzi Thornton (1982) UNRELEASED
  • Swept Away, Diana Ross (1984)
  • The Power Station 33 1/3, The Power Station (1985)  
  • "A View To A Kill" (single), Duran Duran (1985)
  • Heat, Nona Hendryx (1985)
  • Riptide, Robert Palmer (1985)
  • Cocker, Joe Cocker (1986)      
  • Color In Your Life, Missing Persons (1986)     
  • Hearts In Motion, Air Supply (1986)
  • Alphabet City, ABC (1987)
  • If, Hollywood Beyond (1987)      
  • Contact, Platinum Blond (1987)
  • Jody Watley, Jody Watley (1987)      
  • Out Of Order, Rod Stewart (1988)     
  • Under The One Sky, Distance (1989)
  • YUI Orta, Ian Hunter/The Hunter Ronson Band (1990)
  • Break The Silence, The Triplets (1990)      
  • Vagabond Heart, Rod Stewart (1991)
  • Living In Fear, The Power Station (1996)

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