Nile Rodgers: The Music That Made Me
1. “Blue Suede Shoes,” Elvis Presley, 1956
My grandmother gave me blue suede shoes and put on the song and told me, “Go dance for the family.” I liked the song — and I loved the shoes.
2. “The End,” the Doors, 1967
I had taken acid with Dr. Timothy Leary in the Hollywood Hills. I didn’t know who he was. I didn’t even know what acid was, I didn’t have a clue. It was amazing. The next time I took LSD, all I kept hearing was this song, over and over again. It starts out fugue-esque, and then the tempo goes out of control. It’s controlled chaos. And it’s wonderful.
3. “A Day in the Life,” the Beatles, 1967
I practiced it on guitar until it sounded perfect. Coming from a classical music background, the compositional aspect of it that felt challenging to me and rewarding. It went on a journey. Maybe that’s what was so attractive to me.
4. “Bitches Brew,” Miles Davis, 1970
Pure genius. They called it “new directions in jazz,” but it was new directions in everything.