Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards met during 1970, as fellow session musicians working in the New York City area. They formed a rock band named 'The Boys' and later 'The Big Apple Band,' playing numerous gigs around New York City. Despite interest in their demos, they never got a record contract. They were in a band, NEW YORK CITY which had a hit record in 1973 with '"I'm Doing Fine Now" which charted in the UK. The original demo tapes were made by DJ/studio engineer Robert Drake, who first played lacquer records while DJing at a New York after hours club, Night Owl. The title of the first song recorded as Chic was "Everybody Dance," which was on their first album.
During 1977, Edwards and Rodgers recruited drummer Tony Thompson, formerly with LaBelle and Ecstasy, Passion, & Pain, to join the band; they performed as a trio doing cover versions at various gigs. Thompson recommended keyboardist Raymond Jones, 19, to join the band, as he had worked with him in the hit group Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. Needing a singer to become a full band, they engaged Norma Jean Wright by an agreement permitting her to have a solo career in addition to her work for the band. Using a young recording engineer Bob Clearmountain, they created the tracks "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)". As a result, Chic became a support act.
Under contract with Atlantic Records company, during 1977 they released the self-titled debut album Chic, which was an extension of the demonstration tape. But Edwards and Rodgers were convinced that to produce the band's recording studio sound when performing live with sound and visuals, they needed to add another female singer. Wright suggested her friend Luci Martin, who became a member during late winter/early spring of 1978.
Soon after the sessions ended for the debut album, the band members began to work on Wright's self-titled debut solo album Norma Jean, released during 1978. This album included the successful nightclub song "Saturday." To facilitate Wright's solo career, the band had agreed to contract her with a separate record company.
The legal details of this contract eventually forced Wright to end her relationship with the band during mid-1978, but she participated in the sessions for Chic-produced Sister Sledge album, We Are Family. She was replaced as a singer by Alfa Anderson, who had done back-up vocals on the band’s debut album. For the Sister Sledge project, Edwards and Rodgers wrote and produced "He's the Greatest Dancer" (originally intended to be a Chic song), in exchange for "I Want Your Love" (intended originally to be performed by Sister Sledge).
Chic released four new albums during the 2000s (three compilations, and one live album): The Very Best of Chic, Good Times: The Very Best of the Hits & the Remixes, A Night in Amsterdam, and The Definitive Groove Collection. A box set, Nile Rodgers Presents The Chic Organization, Vol.1: Savoir Faire was released in 2010, covering Rodgers and Edwards' productions both for Chic and for other artists up to the original break-up of the partnership in 1983.
Chic has been nominated for inclusion in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nine times: 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Rodgers and Chic continue to perform to major audiences worldwide as CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers.
In October 2010, Rodgers began his fight with prostate cancer. In October 2011, he released his autobiography entitled Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny. On July 29, 2013, Rodgers posted on Twitter that he was cancer free.
In 2013, CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers headlined the West Holts Stage on Friday night at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK, and played a variety of tracks both from Chic and from Nile Rodgers' extensive list of songs he had worked on for other artists. "My favorite act at this year’s Glastonbury, when I went, was not the Rolling Stones, as great as they were; was not the Arctic Monkeys, as good as they were; was not Disclosure, as good as they were; but it was Chic. They were fucking mega. Absolutely out of this world." - Noel Gallagher
A compilation album, Up All Night, credited to The Chic Organization and featuring their productions for various artists between 1977 and 1982, was released the following Monday, 1 July, and entered the UK Compilation Albums Chart at number 2 a week later.
CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers played the iTunes Festival in London on September 14, 2013.
CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers, opened The X Factor (UK TV series) live show on 2 November 2013 for Disco week. They performed a medley of hits including "Le Freak", "He's The Greatest Dancer" and "Good Times".
Rodgers announced in 2013 that he was working on a new Chic album, based on recently rediscovered tapes of unreleased material from the early 1980s. He also stated that Daft Punk is interested in working on at least one song of the unreleased material with him. Rodgers co-wrote and performed on three songs off Daft Punk's 2013 Grammy Award winning Album of the Year Random Access Memories including the Grammy Record of the Year Get Lucky with and Pharrell Williams.
CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers headlined at the 2014 Essence Festival curated by Prince. Special guests performing with Chic during a segment of the show that highlighted Chic's songwriting and production work for other artists, were Kathy Sledge for Sister Sledge's "We Are Family", Janelle Monae for Sister Sledge's "He's The Greatest Dancer" and Prince for David Bowie's "Let's Dance".
CHIC ft. Nile Rodgers headlined Bestival in the Isle of Wight, UK on September 7, 2014. Nile Rodgers played tribute to his guitar technician Terry Brauer at Bestival after learning of his death from cancer.
While chatting with Billboard's Kerri Mason, Rodgers announced a new Chic album and shared a never-before-heard new solo track. The upcoming album is set to feature collaborations from the David Guetta and Avicii. Rodgers described how a lick he played to test a freshly-repaired guitar caught the ear of DJ Nicky Romero, ending as an important part of a "huge song" on the upcoming album. Rodgers assumed "It sounds like a pop record".
A year later, it was announced that Nile Rodgers has signed a new record deal with Warner Bros. with a release of a new Chic album for the first time in in more than two decades this June. The album will be titled "It's About Time". The lead single from the record, titled "I'll Be There", will come out March 20th. Beside this, Warner Bros. signed a deal with the label that Rodgers and music exec Michael Ostin formed, Land of the Good Groove.
In other news, Rodgers gave an update on his new solo material with a new track called "Do What You Wanna Do" and announced that a Chic-inspired musical is in the early stages of production.