This Sunday, 30 June is the 40th anniversary of the release of Chic’s smash hit single, ‘Good Times’ – which, as some of you will know, also happens to be one of my personal favourite tracks.
While Chic, we’re never an overtly political band, the song did contain references to Great Depression-era songs such as ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ – and like that song – ‘Good Times’ and disco music in general saw part of its role was to help people get through difficult economic and social times – as were prevalent in the late 1970s in the US and around the world.
‘Good Times’ and the disco movement were also political in another way too – they were mostly enjoyed by people on the margins of mainstream America, Women, Blacks, Latinos and Gays. This might explain the furious counter-attack that emerged from white, male, middle-America in the form of the ‘Disco-Sucks’ movement, summed up in the staged explosion of disco records in the Chicago White Sox ground.
While disco was forced off the mainstage not long after ‘Good Times’ peaked at No 1 worldwide, it didn’t go away. Hip hop quickly emerged and one of the key songs in its development was the Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’ which sampled Bernard Edward’s classy bass lines and Nile Rogers’ wonderful guitar riffs from ‘Good Times’.
And then, decades later, Nile Rodgers and Chic made a come-back – around the same time as the crash in the latter part of the last decade – and are playing to huge audiences again. This return to the mainstream of Chic and their music is testament to the times we’re in – good and bad – and the transformative power of music to lift us out of where we are and to take us to somewhere different and better.
Good Times indeed!
Anyway, enough pontificating – just enjoy the magnificent tunes: