Disco wouldn't be the same without him.
Nile Rodgers, Grammy-winning songwriter producer and guitarist, was honored with the Broadcast Music Inc. Icon Award this weekend for his "unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers," the company announced.
Ray J was among the evening's hosts at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, where a slew of performers paid tribute to Rodgers' catalogue of hits. Kelly Price covered “Upside Down,” Deborah Cox delivered “I’m Coming Out,” Kathy Sledge and the Company showed out with “We Are Family,” Empire’s V. Bozeman belted out “I Want Your Love,” and Cee Lo Green performed “Let’s Dance.”
Rodgers himself took the stage with “Good Times” and “Rappers Delight,” alongside Chuck D.
“The kind of career that I’ve had has been absolutely extraordinary,” Rodgers said upon receiving his award. “More than I could have ever dreamed for. I am humbled, I am almost without words, and I thank you guys so much. I thank everybody in the music business, especially those in R&B, soul, funk, [and] hip hop.”
The 62-year-old also shared an inspiring story about breaking the mold of what label executives wanted at the time. Sticking to a unique and authentic sound, landed Rodgers and Chic group member Bernard Edwards the record-breaking hit “Freak Out,” released in 1978.
“It started as ‘Awww f**k off!' We played it and cleared the conference room," he explained. "After we played it we were siting there all by ourselves, everybody had gone outside and we went ‘What happened?’ They came up to us and said ‘Do you have anything better on the record than that?,’ [and it became] the biggest selling record in Atlantic’s history. So let me just say to you, if you are in this game, please love it. It is the greatest job in the world. I am the luckiest man in the world to be up here.”
Rewind! Watch: Nile Rodgers: An ICON MANN of Change in the video BET.com below.
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(Photo: Courtesy of BMI Corporate Communications & Marketing Department)