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NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 ROCK MEMOIRS OF ALL TIME BY ROLLING STONE   From Chic to Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers is the creative force behind some of the biggest hits ever recorded. Here is the story of how global pop’s greatest genius transformed his own dramatic life into the brilliantly joyful playlist of a generation.   You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you h NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 ROCK MEMOIRS OF ALL TIME BY ROLLING STONE   From Chic to Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers is the creative force behind some of the biggest hits ever recorded. Here is the story of how global pop’s greatest genius transformed his own dramatic life into the brilliantly joyful playlist of a generation.   You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you happy. In the 1970s and 1980s, Nile Rodgers wrote and produced the songs that defined the era and everything that came after: “Le Freak,” “Good Times,” “We Are Family,” “Like a Virgin,” “Let’s Dance,” “I’m Coming Out,” “Rapper’s Delight”—and worked with every influential pop star to create a string of enduring hits, from Diana Ross and Madonna to Duran Duran and David Bowie. Even today, he is still musically relevant: writing and performing record-breaking hits like “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk and Pharrell. But before he reinvented pop music, Nile Rodgers invented himself. From jamming with Jimi Hendrix in a Greenwich Village haze to the decadence of the disco era to witnessing the birth of Madonna on the Danceteria dance floor, Le Freak traces one of the greatest musical journeys of our time.   Praise for Le Freak   “[An] amazing memoir . . . steeped in the incestuous energy of the times: Punk, funk and art rock mixed it up in the downtown clubs, where musicians partied together and shared ideas. . . . Le Freak has plenty of sex and drugs. But it’s the music that makes it essential. . . . Rodgers gave those dreams a beat—and helped invent pop as we know it today.”—Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone   “This book is an absolute knockout: exhilarating, warm, and courageous, deeply moving and deeply funny. Le Freak is as much about the greatness of life as it is about Nile Rodgers’s extraordinary musical journey. As Rodgers well knows, the best music is the stuff we feel, the stuff that speaks to us and won’t let go. Le Freak does all that and much more. This is truly one of the best books ever written about art, music, life, and the way we grow to be exactly who we are. Actually, one of the best books period.”—Cameron Crowe   “A coming-of-age tale every bit as impressive as the musical insights and star-time chronicles that follow.”—The New York Times Book Review   “Consistently entertaining . . . His legacy as a funk-rock visionary is assured, and his autobiography serves as further proof that disco does not suck.”—San Francisco Chronicle   “An unforgettable, gripping book.”—The Sunday Times (UK)   “Name a star and you can bet they’re in this book, playing or partying with Rodgers. But far from being a succession of name-dropping anecdotes, this autobiography is a wonderfully funny, moving and wise reflection upon the important things in life: the people you love and the things you create.”—The Sunday Telegraph (UK)   “Rodgers’s page-turning memoir is packed with emotionally charged vignettes of a tumultuous childhood and equally dramatic adulthood that found him awash in cash, cars, and celebrities. . . . His storytelling skills propel the reader through the book, making the ending all the more jarring. Remarkable for its candor, this rags-to-riches story is on the year’s shortlist of celebrity memoirs.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)


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NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 ROCK MEMOIRS OF ALL TIME BY ROLLING STONE   From Chic to Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers is the creative force behind some of the biggest hits ever recorded. Here is the story of how global pop’s greatest genius transformed his own dramatic life into the brilliantly joyful playlist of a generation.   You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you h NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 ROCK MEMOIRS OF ALL TIME BY ROLLING STONE   From Chic to Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers is the creative force behind some of the biggest hits ever recorded. Here is the story of how global pop’s greatest genius transformed his own dramatic life into the brilliantly joyful playlist of a generation.   You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you happy. In the 1970s and 1980s, Nile Rodgers wrote and produced the songs that defined the era and everything that came after: “Le Freak,” “Good Times,” “We Are Family,” “Like a Virgin,” “Let’s Dance,” “I’m Coming Out,” “Rapper’s Delight”—and worked with every influential pop star to create a string of enduring hits, from Diana Ross and Madonna to Duran Duran and David Bowie. Even today, he is still musically relevant: writing and performing record-breaking hits like “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk and Pharrell. But before he reinvented pop music, Nile Rodgers invented himself. From jamming with Jimi Hendrix in a Greenwich Village haze to the decadence of the disco era to witnessing the birth of Madonna on the Danceteria dance floor, Le Freak traces one of the greatest musical journeys of our time.   Praise for Le Freak   “[An] amazing memoir . . . steeped in the incestuous energy of the times: Punk, funk and art rock mixed it up in the downtown clubs, where musicians partied together and shared ideas. . . . Le Freak has plenty of sex and drugs. But it’s the music that makes it essential. . . . Rodgers gave those dreams a beat—and helped invent pop as we know it today.”—Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone   “This book is an absolute knockout: exhilarating, warm, and courageous, deeply moving and deeply funny. Le Freak is as much about the greatness of life as it is about Nile Rodgers’s extraordinary musical journey. As Rodgers well knows, the best music is the stuff we feel, the stuff that speaks to us and won’t let go. Le Freak does all that and much more. This is truly one of the best books ever written about art, music, life, and the way we grow to be exactly who we are. Actually, one of the best books period.”—Cameron Crowe   “A coming-of-age tale every bit as impressive as the musical insights and star-time chronicles that follow.”—The New York Times Book Review   “Consistently entertaining . . . His legacy as a funk-rock visionary is assured, and his autobiography serves as further proof that disco does not suck.”—San Francisco Chronicle   “An unforgettable, gripping book.”—The Sunday Times (UK)   “Name a star and you can bet they’re in this book, playing or partying with Rodgers. But far from being a succession of name-dropping anecdotes, this autobiography is a wonderfully funny, moving and wise reflection upon the important things in life: the people you love and the things you create.”—The Sunday Telegraph (UK)   “Rodgers’s page-turning memoir is packed with emotionally charged vignettes of a tumultuous childhood and equally dramatic adulthood that found him awash in cash, cars, and celebrities. . . . His storytelling skills propel the reader through the book, making the ending all the more jarring. Remarkable for its candor, this rags-to-riches story is on the year’s shortlist of celebrity memoirs.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

30 review for Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mutasim Billah

    Nile Rodgers' influence on modern pop music can barely be defined by his oeuvre of work as musician, producer and songwriter. A career that spans four decades and scores of hits, yet he has always been content being on the sidelines. Le Freak showcases a major portion of the career of Nile Rodgers. the Hitmaker. The book starts off at Nile the little asthmatic kid whose childhood was spent with his junkie parents, watching TV and loitering around. After a difficult upbringing, which he details on Nile Rodgers' influence on modern pop music can barely be defined by his oeuvre of work as musician, producer and songwriter. A career that spans four decades and scores of hits, yet he has always been content being on the sidelines. Le Freak showcases a major portion of the career of Nile Rodgers. the Hitmaker. The book starts off at Nile the little asthmatic kid whose childhood was spent with his junkie parents, watching TV and loitering around. After a difficult upbringing, which he details on particularly, he found his love for the guitar as a teenager and began a part hippie, homeless beatnik life panhandling and playing music for money. This early period has some interesting tales, like how he wound up in the same ER as a bloodied Andy Warhol after a bad hallucinogenic trip or his stint with the Black Panthers. This is when his involvement in the music business as a guitarist had begun, and he would soon meet Bernard Edwards or Nard as he would call him. Together they formed the Big Apple Band and backed a group called NYC, touring extensively with them. After the disbanding of NYC, they'd soon become involved with Tony Thompson, and the Chic trio formed. Nile and Nard in action The book then details on the writing of their first hits and the conception of their image, their first inspirations and their sound. The book eventually details on the rise and fall of disco, the "disco sucks" movement, and their future success as producers writing for Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. Unfortunately, the two friends eventually drifted apart, but then David Bowie happened. Nile Rodgers and David Bowie in studio The book then details on the making of the Let's Dance album with Bowie and afterwards the Like a Virgin album with Madonna along with some other works with artists like Duran Duran. By this time, Nile had become independent of the Chic moniker and was suffering from severe alcoholism and drug problems. The book then details his breakdown from extensive drug use and the time when he almost quit the showbiz after rehab, only to be called back to action by Michael Jackson. Eventually it all moves onto the ill-fated Chic show at Budokan after which Bernard Edwards was found dead in his hotel room. Nile Rodgers with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams What I most admired about this book is Nile's honesty. The man didn't take any credit away from the artists and gave credit where it was due. He also details on his junkie days and cleaning up his act. A must-read for the lovers of pop-culture and African-American music culture in America. Note: If you're not familiar with Nile Rodger's body of work, here is a video interview of him playing a medley of some of his most important hits with his band Chic, in just sixty seconds.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nick Pemberton

    This was great. Best muso's autobiography I have read since Art Pepper's Straight Life. Why so good? Because, amongst the inevitable famous namechecks and millions of units shifted, hits made and dollars traded for powder and tooted up the nose there's a great (self)portrait of a child -gifted to the point of serious strangeness- growing up independent, inventive and (yep!) charming and hard working in a world of junk, dysfunction, and the casual social destructiveness (rape, murder, incest, add This was great. Best muso's autobiography I have read since Art Pepper's Straight Life. Why so good? Because, amongst the inevitable famous namechecks and millions of units shifted, hits made and dollars traded for powder and tooted up the nose there's a great (self)portrait of a child -gifted to the point of serious strangeness- growing up independent, inventive and (yep!) charming and hard working in a world of junk, dysfunction, and the casual social destructiveness (rape, murder, incest, addiction, madness) that is sometimes concomitant with the more extreme and impoverished edges of bohemian cool.. The shifting times of his growing up and the strange mirror and fractured perspectives that bohemia can cast on the straight world provide a picture of USA and its changes -life, music, culture, politics, ambitions, dreams and disasters through fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties and onward that is as original, lively, honest and perceptive as his music is. He's dead interesting without being pretentious about disco arguing that -contrary to popular prejudice of the time- it was not decadent, self centred hedonism but an ecstatic celebration (decadent and hedonistic, admittedly) of something shared, even if it's only a dance floor... He's interesting too on how Chic were a deliberately fabricated construct like Kiss, like Roxy Music and -go on, admit it- one of the many incarnations of The Band or The Clash decked out in cobbled together Americana and rockers' pomp... His knowledge on how to work collaboratively, how to deconstruct and then reconstruct a song puts to shame all the simplistic bombast of the (generally white) Disco Sucks "authentic" music brigade... This quote might not be exact but it's close enough for me.. "The song's just an excuse for the hook and the hook's just an excuse to get you to the breakdown..." Could do with an accompanying CD or -as he promises somewhere- a list of all the REALLY FUNKY music that influenced Chic, not because the book is incomplete without them but because its spaces, like the spaces in the music, are structured in an open and welcoming way that helps fill them with memories, ghosts and surprises. Good times.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Wendy'sThoughts

    5 Music is the Way Stars * * * * * Confession: I haven't read this book but am using it as a way to highlight something very interesting I saw about him. During these crazy times, I have indulged myself by finding things I wouldn't have the time for...like finding wonderful shows on YouTube not aired here in the States. One of them is Portrait Artist Of The Year 2020. It is a competition for artists where through a series of "Paint Offs", the final winner is commissioned to paint a portrait for t 5 Music is the Way Stars * * * * * Confession: I haven't read this book but am using it as a way to highlight something very interesting I saw about him. During these crazy times, I have indulged myself by finding things I wouldn't have the time for...like finding wonderful shows on YouTube not aired here in the States. One of them is Portrait Artist Of The Year 2020. It is a competition for artists where through a series of "Paint Offs", the final winner is commissioned to paint a portrait for the chosen subject to hang in the infamous Albert Hall. This year's subject is Nile Rodgers. Now this "review" is two-fold. First, I can't think of anyone who loves music wouldn't be interested in an interview/look at Nile and the little nuggets he talks about regarding his career, producing the likes of Diana Ross and Madonna. The episode presenting the end of the competition does just that. BUT...Secondly, this series was fascinating as it showed the creative process of portraiture, something I would normally never think about. If you are interested in going through the series, the link for the channel for it among other really interesting competition shows is this. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvnB... This is the link for the first episode for the competition allowing you to experience the entire series and finally see who won the privilege and commission. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWIjB... This is the link for the end result, the sitting with Nile, the insights and interview, and reveals the final winner and product. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4nIB... Enjoy. For more Reviews, Free E-books and Giveaways

  4. 5 out of 5

    Edmole

    The two best bits in most rock star autobiogs are a) when they start to break big and have hits and the world is their oyster and b) when they go mad on cocaine and become psychotic party animals. The worst bit is c) when they pretend to regret b), and repeat a load of rehab speak about how they're much happier now they stare at wind chimes and think about their recovery twelve hours a day. This book has about 250 pages of a) and b) and about 50 pages of c), and that is a pretty good ratio. Nile The two best bits in most rock star autobiogs are a) when they start to break big and have hits and the world is their oyster and b) when they go mad on cocaine and become psychotic party animals. The worst bit is c) when they pretend to regret b), and repeat a load of rehab speak about how they're much happier now they stare at wind chimes and think about their recovery twelve hours a day. This book has about 250 pages of a) and b) and about 50 pages of c), and that is a pretty good ratio. Nile and ''Nard' (his name for Bernie Edwards, his partner in Chic) had a theory of trying to find the DHM, the Deep Hidden Meaning in all songs, what the DNA of them is, the key to making them a hit. Which sounds like it could be bollocks, but then you think of how many hits these dudes made, and there has to be something to it. The stuff I found the most interesting is when he becomes an in-demand producer, and the experiences working with David Bowie at the end of his Imperial Period and Madonna at the start of hers. This is a man who had HITS. Who had FUN. Who was a DUDE. Who worked with EVERYONE. Rodgers comes across as a tremendous, benevolent, friendly guy who has taken a big, deep drink of life, loved his work, loved a whole load of fine women, and is welcome at my house or my disco anytime.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Athan Tolis

    This is one of the most uplifting books I have ever read. Funny thing is, I don't believe it was written with a message in mind. It's the gripping biography of the unprivileged, skinny, asthmatic son of a 13 year old girl who left her husband-to-be at the altar because she wanted to live her own life. In the absence of his biological dad Nile Sr. (who drifts in an out of his son's life --and the book-- before succumbing to alcoholism) Nile Rodgers' father figure was a white junkie who worked in t This is one of the most uplifting books I have ever read. Funny thing is, I don't believe it was written with a message in mind. It's the gripping biography of the unprivileged, skinny, asthmatic son of a 13 year old girl who left her husband-to-be at the altar because she wanted to live her own life. In the absence of his biological dad Nile Sr. (who drifts in an out of his son's life --and the book-- before succumbing to alcoholism) Nile Rodgers' father figure was a white junkie who worked in the garment district in New York. His mom dragged him to LA and back a couple times, had him sent off age 5 to a sanatorium for asthmatic children, left him a number of times with his two loving but not very vigilant grandmothers, did very little to prevent him from becoming a junkie himself and later in life became his largest supplier of drugs! She regardless emerges from this book as the true love of his life. Throughout this opus she remains the one constant. That, and music. Because the boy had music. And brains. And a mission (shared with his musical partner Bernard) to discover the Deep Hidden Meaning. And love for everybody he met. Nile Rodgers has kind words for EVERYBODY in his autobiography. For his Chic partner Bernard Edwards with whom they traveled so far together, for Andy Warhol, with whom he shared an emergency room, for his grandmothers Goodie and Lenora, their boyfriends (one of whose was a convicted killer, while another gave him his biggest "high" ever when he tuned his first guitar), for his often not very well behaved siblings, for his mom Beverly, for her boyfriends and lovers, he even has good things to say for (yet another) convicted killer who raped his mother. Aside from his mom, who gets it in spades, and his partner Bernard, adualtion is chiefly meted out to his idols like Diana Ross and David Bowie that he had the privilege to work for, but also to Michael Jackson, who sought his help at a difficult time, and Madonna, with whom he partied. Ah, the partying. Must confess I don't exactly feel like my sense of partying and Nile Rodgers' have tons in common. He allegedly spent a few years of his life in a stall in the women's bathroom of Studio 54, meting out cocaine to all comers. But there's no denying that the guy did party hard. The partying almost killed him, and you get the lowdown of how he battled his addiction and how he won, though that's not a big part of the book. This is chiefly a book about family and about music. Lest we forget, Niles Rodgers gave us "Everybody Dance," "Le Freak," "Good Times," "We are Family," "He's the Greatest Dancer," "Upside Down," "I'm Coming Out," "Let's Dance," "China Girl," "Modern Love," "Wild Boys," "Notorious," "Like a Virgin," "Material Girl," "Love Shack," (I'll forgive him that one) and, of course, "Get Lucky." There's nobody he hasn't worked with, basically. Still, the thing I took away from this book, more than the music, more than the partying and more than the amazing story of what determination and talent can do for a young boy that grew up between two ghettos, was the endless optimism that has run through Nile Rodgers' life. The last paragraph of the book tells us he's now fighting cancer. If anybody on earth can beat it, that will be Nile Rodgers!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Margie

    You may not know Nile Rodgers' name, but you know his music. In addition to his band Chic, he's written songs for and produced records for a Who's Who of the music world, over the past 4 decades. In this immensely readable autobiography, Rodgers tells of his chaotic childhood (parents doing and selling drugs, a murderer, several half brothers living with various parents and grandparents - it's all there), his career progression, and his own struggles with addiction. Happily for us, he avoids the You may not know Nile Rodgers' name, but you know his music. In addition to his band Chic, he's written songs for and produced records for a Who's Who of the music world, over the past 4 decades. In this immensely readable autobiography, Rodgers tells of his chaotic childhood (parents doing and selling drugs, a murderer, several half brothers living with various parents and grandparents - it's all there), his career progression, and his own struggles with addiction. Happily for us, he avoids the boring/repetitive tell-all aspect that is so frequently part of the stories of the famous and addicted. He tells only one drug-related story which names names, and he notes that he did so with permission. That's not so say that he doesn't name-drop at all. It would likely be impossible for him to not mention the people he worked with, given the influence they've had on his career. After Chic he produced Madonna's "Like a Virgin," as she was just starting to become a household name. He then produced Diana Ross's 1980 album "Diana," her most successful studio album. Rodgers comes across as dedicated to his music, honest about his addictions and struggles, and a survivor who is able to find joy in doing what he loves. More interesting, though, is that he doesn't come across as falsely modest. He mentions several times that he's basically filthy rich. And he's pretty frank about his drugging and sexcapades. There's clearly stuff that's left out. I don't know enough of his story to know what, exactly, he skimmed over, but I definitely got the sense that he isn't telling us everything. The most obvious example is that he tells the story of his partner Bernard Edwards' death, but doesn't mention the cause of death. It's a pretty glaring omission, and it confirmed my sneaking suspicion that he was holding back. I loved reading this book. Before I read the book I knew of Nile Rodgers, and was impressed with his musical involvement. But I had no idea of the extent to which he's been involved in the soundtrack of my life. I loved discovering, over and over again, that he was partially responsible for so many of the songs I've loved, and which continue to give me great joy. If you've enjoyed disco, pop, or dance music in the past forty years, I recommend this book to you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David

    Unbelievable.... in a good way. Niles upbringing is a jaw dropping, eye-popping, testimony of survival. The first quarter of this book has nothing to do with his future mega-celebrity and even then, every other page shocks and amazes. His mother was a thirteen year old student when she gave birth to Niles and he was adopted by an Albino woman living in the Bronx... his natural father is reintroduced several times through the book in various states of incredibly sad states: as a wino at the Port Unbelievable.... in a good way. Niles upbringing is a jaw dropping, eye-popping, testimony of survival. The first quarter of this book has nothing to do with his future mega-celebrity and even then, every other page shocks and amazes. His mother was a thirteen year old student when she gave birth to Niles and he was adopted by an Albino woman living in the Bronx... his natural father is reintroduced several times through the book in various states of incredibly sad states: as a wino at the Port Authority, and later homeless sprawled out in a New York City toll booth. While this may sound a bit morbid, Niles narrative is nothing like that... it's infused with the charm of a curious, shy, precocious child who's ability of recall is astounding. His stories are like Grimm's fairy tales told from seedy Greenwich Village, the Bronx, and LA.... from the murderer who held him hostage at age 13 while holding his younger brother out the window - with out his knowledge he was ever a prisoner or there was anything wrong, to his teen hang session with Timothy Leary in the hills outside LA when some ragged friendlies on the beach ask him if he wants to go on "a trip". Niles first job in music was a guitarist with the Sesame Street show touring band! Susan, who every one knows from Sesame Street actually helps him land his next job at the Apollo Theater. His first gig there had me in tears laughing. I could not help throwing the Niles playlist on my stereo while reading about the artists he worked closely with starting with CHIC, David Bowie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Diana Ross, and Madonna. Niles couldn't handle it all with out dangerous, rampant drug-use and the narrative comes across as if it's been therapeutic for him. It seems he's telling certain stories for the first time and his honesty is a pleasant surprise.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    I worked in the music industry during the ‘70s and have firsthand knowledge of Chic’s rise to fame. I was really looking forward to reading Rodgers’ autobiography and about his experiences working in the music industry particularly during that time. The first portion of the book where he recounts his youth with drug addicted parents and constant turmoil was a page-turner. He writes in great detail about his own addictions, and from reading his account, one would presume the ability to be an amaz I worked in the music industry during the ‘70s and have firsthand knowledge of Chic’s rise to fame. I was really looking forward to reading Rodgers’ autobiography and about his experiences working in the music industry particularly during that time. The first portion of the book where he recounts his youth with drug addicted parents and constant turmoil was a page-turner. He writes in great detail about his own addictions, and from reading his account, one would presume the ability to be an amazing overachiever all by himself in spite of his addictions. I’m sure he’s a fine music producer and songwriter, but I know there were important facts in Chic’s story that were missing, most importantly when it came to his reflections of Chic’s discovery and success. There is not one mention of Marc Kreiner, Tom Cossie or MK Productions. It made me wonder what other important parts of his story was either missing or fabricated. If you believe everything he writes, he was everywhere, knew everyone, and did an abundant amount of drugs but was still thoroughly functional. No doubt, he is a very talented guy, but he’s also an egomaniac, and to some degree delusional.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Highly entertaining, highly addictive read. Written with great charm and purpose, this is a book that will be of interest to anyone with a love of pop music of the 70s and 80s. Rodgers has worked with Madonna, Bowie, Diana Ross and scores of other legends, as well as making history with his own hits as part of Chic. The scandalous namedropping is kept to a tasteful minimum, but this book is still juicy and full of crazy tales. And at just under 300 pages, it's a whirlwind of a read. Highly entertaining, highly addictive read. Written with great charm and purpose, this is a book that will be of interest to anyone with a love of pop music of the 70s and 80s. Rodgers has worked with Madonna, Bowie, Diana Ross and scores of other legends, as well as making history with his own hits as part of Chic. The scandalous namedropping is kept to a tasteful minimum, but this book is still juicy and full of crazy tales. And at just under 300 pages, it's a whirlwind of a read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Phil Overeem

    An interesting romp that, however, left me unsatisfied. Once Chic's great early singles catapult him into the big money, he has almost NOTHING to say about their interesting later career, including their great album REAL PEOPLE. Also--not unusual with memoirs, but here it's so frequent it's annoying--he makes multiple errors of chronology, so many that the reader's tempted to call bullshit on him. Definitely overrated--but at least it reads quickly and it's got a bit of a roller coaster ride. An interesting romp that, however, left me unsatisfied. Once Chic's great early singles catapult him into the big money, he has almost NOTHING to say about their interesting later career, including their great album REAL PEOPLE. Also--not unusual with memoirs, but here it's so frequent it's annoying--he makes multiple errors of chronology, so many that the reader's tempted to call bullshit on him. Definitely overrated--but at least it reads quickly and it's got a bit of a roller coaster ride.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Budman

    Nile Rodgers writes more joyfully about family chaos than any memoirist you've ever read; he not only survived an upbringing that would have killed most but somehow thrived, basically raising himself in New York and Los Angeles among junkies and musicians. Rodgers loves the mayhem but had the talent and discipline to emerge, in his early teens, as a real player on the music scene. He has a blast describing the birth and rise of Chic in detail, and offers genuine dismay at the sudden and harsh fa Nile Rodgers writes more joyfully about family chaos than any memoirist you've ever read; he not only survived an upbringing that would have killed most but somehow thrived, basically raising himself in New York and Los Angeles among junkies and musicians. Rodgers loves the mayhem but had the talent and discipline to emerge, in his early teens, as a real player on the music scene. He has a blast describing the birth and rise of Chic in detail, and offers genuine dismay at the sudden and harsh fall as "Disco sucks" took over the nation. Rodgers has worked on hundreds of projects since then; he name-checks a bunch of them but gives real space to only a couple of highlights: David Bowie and Madonna. The rest go by in a blur, and the unfortunate—and genuinely bizarre—part is that he never actually discusses what he does as a producer apart from managing each project's calendar and budget. He has been enormously successful with a wide range of artists but never explains how or why, which is frustrating for any serious music fan—and they're the ones who would pick up Le Freak in the first place. One reason, perhaps, is that Rodgers may not recall much about each project, since each was done on a sleepless cocaine jag. Indeed, at some point, his memoir becomes yet another drug addiction/rehab/recovery tale, though it's far less tiresome than most, partly because his voice on the page is so authentic and upbeat. Le Freak is a terrific read.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    “You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you happy…” I was aware of Nile Rodgers from his Chic days (although slightly too young to catch the disco explosion, I caught up on it), then through his connections with Debbie Harry (he co-produced her “Koo Koo” album), David Bowie (I loved “Let’s Dance”) and finally INXS, with “Original Sin”. These career highlights, which might be enough for most producers, barely scratch the surface of Nile Gregory Rodgers’ creative life. From his often “You will hear a Nile Rodgers song today. It will make you happy…” I was aware of Nile Rodgers from his Chic days (although slightly too young to catch the disco explosion, I caught up on it), then through his connections with Debbie Harry (he co-produced her “Koo Koo” album), David Bowie (I loved “Let’s Dance”) and finally INXS, with “Original Sin”. These career highlights, which might be enough for most producers, barely scratch the surface of Nile Gregory Rodgers’ creative life. From his often harrowing beginnings - his 13-year-old Mum and stepfather were both bohemian junkies, he was asthmatic and shunted between relatives and institutions, often feeling unwanted and unloved - in the poorer neighbourhoods of New York (and later Los Angeles), with all that entailed, this doesn’t try to make sugar-coat anything and in leaving no stone unturned, it’s sometimes tough to read. His life was hard (the sequence with Bang Bang is particularly frightening) but a slowly developing love of music (fostered, ironically, by parents whose addictions took their abilities away from them) steered him from squalor (though he developed addictions early on), into hippie-dom, a stint in the Black Panthers and a gruelling circuit of gigging. About a third of the book details his childhood and teens (he has a very complicated family history) and then he meets Bernard Edwards, the two quickly becoming inseparable and incredibly supportive of each other. The Chic years (they take a while to make it) are dealt with much more briskly than I thought they would be, though with the bands story tied inextricably to the timeline of disco, Rodgers covers this time well (enjoying the excesses that were there, whilst being astonished that he was responsible for a significant part of it - the Rappers Delight business, for instance, is both amusing and surprising). Unfortunately, as his career took off, so did his substance abuse and he deals with it frankly - he was at the centre of a musical movement, part of the inner circle of Studio 54 in the 70s (being turned away from the 1979 New Years Eve party with Edwards inspired them to write “Le Freak”) and more into the 80s. In fact, he perfectly captures a sense of the exuberance and excess of the early 80s because he was living it - even as a full-blown addict, he was a high performing one, with Chic, Bowie and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” all being produced during his period. Through all of this, his delight with show business - and the people he deals with - is almost palpable and he comes across as a genuinely nice bloke, secure enough in himself and his abilities to only take on work with people he likes and respects (whilst sharing partying and shopping adventures with them). Following his recovery (inspired, no less, by Keith Richards), the timeline fragments and the story effectively ends in 1996 (the book was published in 2011) with the death of Bernard Edwards, which is very touchingly dealt with. The epilogue jumps ahead fourteen years with a curt “it’s been a busy decade”, encompassing his work with his “We Are Family” foundation and the fundraising around 9/11 that I would have liked to have read in more detail. The same with the admission that he has cancer (he’s recently, as I write this, been given the all-clear), it seems like an odd place to leave a work that is, essentially, about hope and the triumph of his spirit. I really enjoyed this, an inspiring story of a natural performer who overcame the odds to make it big, re-invented his career after the ‘Disco Sucks’ debacle and lived life to the absolute full. Very much recommended.

  13. 4 out of 5

    RYCJ

    “A kite flies highest against the wind…” – Breathtaking! I opened Nile Rodger’s memoir and honestly, had it not been for the Vine Program I would have missed out on enjoying one of the best books I’ve read this year. His childhood was very hard to receive as cavalierly as he shared it, however when it came time to him sharing his music, there are three words that come instantly to mind. Oh – My – God! The irony here is, once I was fully immersed and engaged into the technical philosophies of makin “A kite flies highest against the wind…” – Breathtaking! I opened Nile Rodger’s memoir and honestly, had it not been for the Vine Program I would have missed out on enjoying one of the best books I’ve read this year. His childhood was very hard to receive as cavalierly as he shared it, however when it came time to him sharing his music, there are three words that come instantly to mind. Oh – My – God! The irony here is, once I was fully immersed and engaged into the technical philosophies of making music, was it when the DHM of his life, to include his young life, all came together like the many songs he helped bring up the charts. The language used I enjoyed most. The words and lines are not written, but composed. It’s the highest form of writing I know. So much so, at one point I questioned what I was reading. I mean, composing exceptional music is one art, but writing a book as influential as he was to music? …years later after the daily drug habit? But then, and ah ha, how could I have missed it? He is a musical genius. Le Freak, a tremendous recording of musical influences inclusive, but not exclusive of classical, rock, pop and disco, incorporates so much by way of content that one review is far too little space to give it all the praise it deserves. His father, for one, touched me deeply. His brother and mother, hilarious. Too many times, one or the other was doing something that had me turned on my side laughing to tears. And Nard, oh man, what a compelling tribute. And still, the ‘metamorphosis of compressed and accelerated artistic talent’ brings out the significance of telling it all, none more important than the sharing of a phenomenal and inspirational musician living the dream in a time worth documenting. I am very moved, and indebted to have read a galvanizing musical icon. Outstanding!

  14. 4 out of 5

    bfred

    I started reading this to gain more insight into the great producer's body of work, but was pleasantly surprised by an amazing memoir about growing up fast in NYC and dealing with the excesses of success. Rodgers, best known as the founder of Chic who went on to produce landmark albums for Madonna and David Bowie, was raised by downtown heroin junkies in the 1950s and ’60s, and it's fascinating to see how profoundly his worldview was shaped by the ups and downs of this experience. As his wanderi I started reading this to gain more insight into the great producer's body of work, but was pleasantly surprised by an amazing memoir about growing up fast in NYC and dealing with the excesses of success. Rodgers, best known as the founder of Chic who went on to produce landmark albums for Madonna and David Bowie, was raised by downtown heroin junkies in the 1950s and ’60s, and it's fascinating to see how profoundly his worldview was shaped by the ups and downs of this experience. As his wandering childhood melds into his late 1970s music success, he gives us a glimpse inside the inner circle of Studio 54 and the ’80s party scene as he develops his 15 year cocaine addiction. Overall, I would have perhaps liked more emphasis on his studio techniques and creative revelations, but the unique personal narrative was more than impressive enough to carry the book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Really enjoyed the Rodger's autobiography. I liked the first part of the book best all the way through the Chic period. He talked more directly about music in this part and I find that the most interesting. The second half of this book focuses on his years as a big-deal producer in the 80s/90s and his drug problem and sobriety. This wasn't bad, but there was less focus on the specifics of his musical life. While I am not a big fan of many of those block-buster 80s records he produced, it would h Really enjoyed the Rodger's autobiography. I liked the first part of the book best all the way through the Chic period. He talked more directly about music in this part and I find that the most interesting. The second half of this book focuses on his years as a big-deal producer in the 80s/90s and his drug problem and sobriety. This wasn't bad, but there was less focus on the specifics of his musical life. While I am not a big fan of many of those block-buster 80s records he produced, it would have been interesting to hear more about the process of producing some of them--specific challenges, the reasons for various decisions, etc. Still, though, throughout the book, Rodgers comes off as an engaging, humorous, warm-hearted sort and i enjoyed the read. I thought his defense of disco as a movement was great and his description of the death to disco period very interesting.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    A crazy life and a fun book. Every once in a while, Nile says something really interesting about race in the music industry at that time but doesn't elaborate--I wish he would write another book about that! A crazy life and a fun book. Every once in a while, Nile says something really interesting about race in the music industry at that time but doesn't elaborate--I wish he would write another book about that!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    an amazing journey - junkie / beatnik parents, childhood shuttling between New York and LA, early acid experiences with Timothy Leary, part of the Black Panthers ... serious drug abuse ... he came through it all and made some of the most uplifting music.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Great rock memoir. Nile led a crazy life and tells his story with such honesty and truth. I loved reading about his rise to fame and working with every well-known famous rock star.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Richard Kearney

    It's possible the name Nile Rodgers doesn't ring a bell, but if you've been a fan of popular music during the last 35 years it's certain you've heard his work. To take just one current example, Rodgers co-wrote and played guitar on Daft Punk's single "Get Lucky," which was the #2 single on the Billboard Hot 100 just a few weeks ago and currently stands at #5. In the 1970s, Rodgers and bass player Bernard Edwards formed a writing and production partnership and created the band Chic, which skyrock It's possible the name Nile Rodgers doesn't ring a bell, but if you've been a fan of popular music during the last 35 years it's certain you've heard his work. To take just one current example, Rodgers co-wrote and played guitar on Daft Punk's single "Get Lucky," which was the #2 single on the Billboard Hot 100 just a few weeks ago and currently stands at #5. In the 1970s, Rodgers and bass player Bernard Edwards formed a writing and production partnership and created the band Chic, which skyrocketed to fame and fortune on the strength of their lean, irresistible grooves. Great singles like "Everybody Dance," "Le Freak," "I Want Your Love," "Good Times," and "Rebels Are We" were among the most popular songs in the country during the late 1970s, distinguished by the core elements of Chic's sound: Edwards' fluid and highly melodic bass lines, Rodgers' jazz-influenced guitar work, the muscular drumming style of Tony Thompson, and a host of vocalists including the late Luther Vandross. By 1979 a significant backlash against "disco" music began to take its toll on Chic's commercial success, but in many ways Rodgers' career was just getting started. In Le Freak : An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny, Nile Rodgers offers an engrossing tale of growing up, finding his calling in music, and acquiring - and kicking - some bad habits along the way. Born in 1952 in New York to a 14-year-old mother, Rodgers had an unusual childhood. His mother and stepfather were a mixed race couple with strong bohemian tendencies, consorting with drug users, jazz musicians, gamblers, petty criminals, and other colorful characters who frequented their home, a situation young Nile regarded as perfectly normal since he knew no other type of life. Rodgers' biological father was a drug user and troubled musician who young Nile once had to talk down from a ledge. Economic and personal instabilities at home often resulted in Rodgers being place in the care and custody of one or both of his grandmothers, and he spent part of his childhood shuttling between New York and Los Angeles. The instability extended to his formal education, as Rodgers was not much interested in school; at one point he managed to dodge going to school for almost three months before getting caught when truant officers arrived at his home. Yet he did take an interest in music and by the time he was in high school he was an enthusiastic participant in music classes. He settled on learning the guitar after failing to bluff his way into a band, feeling he now had "something to prove," though his initial studies were a rocky road, with a friend having to point out that he should not tune guitar strings like those of a violin if he wanted to get the proper sound from his instrument. By his late teens - coinciding with the late 1960s - Rodgers was soaking up musical influences from rock, jazz, rhythm'n'blues, soul, and classical music. He lived for some time in New York urban communes, worked for a local chapter of the Black Panther Party, and eked out a modest living through panhandling, occasional gigs, and other work. Exuding considerable personal charm - a quality in evidence throughout the book - Rodgers was fortunate in being able to assemble a wide circle of friends and managed to secure steady work as part of a musical ensemble to support a touring production of "Sesame Street," following this with a successful audition to replace Carlos Alomar as guitarist with the Apollo Theater's house band in Harlem. It was around this time that he met bass player Bernard Edwards, a musician steeped in the traditions of black popular music who initially wanted nothing to do with Rodgers’ avant-garde style and interests. Only when they began playing together in bands while touring the "Chitlin' Circuit" during the early 1970s did they come to appreciate their complementary roles in a band context and the potential for developing an original act of their own. According to Rodgers, the road toward what would become Chic included a number of conceptual decisions. Rodgers discusses the influence of Roxy Music for its visual appeal and artistic direction, as well as the anonymity of a band like Kiss, which concealed personal identity behind face-paint. On the musical side, Rodgers and Edwards honed an approach that favored stripped-down arrangements, with underlying grooves built on the guitar, bass, and drums, adding vocals and other instruments as needed. They became strong proponents of the "breakdown," where instruments drop out of a song only to be re-introduced for greater impact later on. Rodgers also discusses his and Edwards' conscious attempt to convey "deep hidden meanings" (or "DHM," as he calls it) in their songs so they could operate on multiple levels and appeal to a wide variety of people. Chic embodied all of these ideas, and even after the band's chart success declined it continued to produce great records, but Rodgers was convinced he and Edwards had both the talent and the ideas to reproduce that success even if it was through the careers of other musicians. A significant portion of Le Freak relates Rodgers' transition to an in-demand producer and musical collaborator through the making of three major albums in the early 1980s: Diana Ross' diana (1980), David Bowie's Let's Dance (1983), and Madonna's Like a Virgin (1984). Subsequent to these experiences, Rodgers went on to produce and collaborate with dozens of other musicians, expanded his compositional work into film soundtrack scoring, and continued to play live gigs. Rodgers’ development into a round-the-clock musical workaholic earned him considerable fame and wealth, but he was never entirely comfortable in the spotlight. Having to occupy the front of the stage as Chic’s guitarist during live gigs unsettled him, so a friend recommended he have a drink before going on stage to calm his nerves. Unfortunately, this quickly escalated into heavy drinking and alcoholism; and as Rodgers tended to relax after work by spending his nights at the hottest dance clubs and parties in New York City and elsewhere, he also began consuming large amounts of cocaine. He spent years in denial about his growing problem with addictions, burning through a fortune on cocaine - at one point his accountant advised him that if he wanted to impress people at parties it would be better and more economical to give them $300-an-ounce gold ingots rather than $3,000-an-ounce samples of cocaine. Rodgers finally bottomed out in 1994 following a night-long episode of debauchery he can scarcely remember at a birthday party Madonna threw for herself. He awoke in a paranoid state, convinced a gangster had put out a contract on his life as revenge for Rodgers sleeping with his girlfriend. Concerned friends told him his fears were “the cocaine talking,” and Rodgers finally found the strength to check himself into rehab and commit himself to a strict discipline based on its program for over eight months, finally feeling secure enough to leave and continue sober living on his own. Things were looking up for Rodgers by this point, and he celebrated in early 1996 by reuniting with Edwards and other members of Chic for a series of performances in Japan. Edwards was in poor health, however, and despite advice to seek medical attention he stuck with the original schedule, but this proved fatal, as Edwards died in his hotel room from pneumonia. Le Freak ends on a somber note, with Rodgers revealing his recent diagnosis of prostate cancer - though on July 29 he announced his treatments have been successful and he is currently cancer-free - but he concludes the book with an expression of gratitude and joy for the amazing journey of his life to date, one which has touched people around the world with the magic of music. Rodgers remains as vital as ever, and Le Freak may get you dancing, so check it out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kurt Achin

    This is a simply excellent read by a legendary musician whose exquisite talents apparently extend to the written word (there seems to be no ghost writer credited). It's also a book that needs to become a musical biopic yesterday, IMHO. I suppose it would be a bear to negotiate all the rights to the dozens of era-defining hits Nile Rodgers has left his (mostly anonymous) signature on, but a film soundtrack unrolling this extraordinary life of music would make "Bohemian Rhapsody" seem pretty tame b This is a simply excellent read by a legendary musician whose exquisite talents apparently extend to the written word (there seems to be no ghost writer credited). It's also a book that needs to become a musical biopic yesterday, IMHO. I suppose it would be a bear to negotiate all the rights to the dozens of era-defining hits Nile Rodgers has left his (mostly anonymous) signature on, but a film soundtrack unrolling this extraordinary life of music would make "Bohemian Rhapsody" seem pretty tame by comparison. As the main creative engine in the 70's-era disco duo Chic, Rodgers wrote and performed Good Times, Le Freak (Freak Out), and countless other platinum hits that NYC dance clubs would simply leave spinning over and over for hours at a time. He also worked with mega-stars like Duran Duran, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Madonna, and dozens more. It's a rags-to-riches tale that offers a window into a hard-knocks NYC childhood and its subsequent blossoming into Mercedes and Maserati-driving superstardom, and all the drugs, sex, and alcohol temptations that went with that Studio 54 era. There are gems of life wisdom, humor, and plenty of nostalgia for those who have seen decades of music morph, evolve, and sometimes blow away like dust. Highly recommended.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Krokowski

    Nile Rodgers could easily be a bitter person. His mother was a young teen when he was born and his early life was full of difficultly and repeated abandonments. His family was full of drug addicts and alcoholics, and by 12 Nile was sniffing glue on his way to numerous overindulgences and addictions. Instead, this is a love story about music and its’ power to override so much pain and suffering. The influence of Nile Rodgers on popular music since the early 70’s is difficult to overstate. This au Nile Rodgers could easily be a bitter person. His mother was a young teen when he was born and his early life was full of difficultly and repeated abandonments. His family was full of drug addicts and alcoholics, and by 12 Nile was sniffing glue on his way to numerous overindulgences and addictions. Instead, this is a love story about music and its’ power to override so much pain and suffering. The influence of Nile Rodgers on popular music since the early 70’s is difficult to overstate. This autobiography is remarkable not just for sheer volume of music’s who’s who he worked with (it’s as if Rodgers is Forrest Gump in the music world!) but the journey through addiction and to maturity and appreciation for having not only survived but thrived. I’m awed by not just what he lived through, but how he chose to savor the good and learn from the bad.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alban Jones

    This was a fascinating read from an incredible musician who rose to dizzying heights, then got lumped into the "DISCO SUCKS" movement that threatened to derail his musical life. In addition to that hurdle, his own family struggle with addiction was real, front & center & told eloquently by a man who's been there & done that. This is a great read as it details his life, the music, the music business, & some of the biggest stars in the game grace these pages. I've always loved the music Nile put do This was a fascinating read from an incredible musician who rose to dizzying heights, then got lumped into the "DISCO SUCKS" movement that threatened to derail his musical life. In addition to that hurdle, his own family struggle with addiction was real, front & center & told eloquently by a man who's been there & done that. This is a great read as it details his life, the music, the music business, & some of the biggest stars in the game grace these pages. I've always loved the music Nile put down but reading his story gave me a whole 'nother level of respect for the man. I had to go dig out my vinyl collection to find a solo album of his I purchased in the 80's called "B-Movie Matinee. Songs like "State Your Mind, Plan 9, & Wavelength" helped me frame the space he was operating from. Thanks for the music & the words, it's a job well done!!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Le Freak is an honest account of an incredibly accomplished musician and producer who overcame an extremely dysfunctional childhood (parents who were drug addicts and alcoholics, insecure living situations, racism, etc.) to become a huge success, with the stereotypical rock star addictions to follow. Rodgers is circumspect about many of his personal relationships, but doles out plenty of anecdotes about the decadence of the era to keep one's appetite for salacious stories satisfied. Unfortunatel Le Freak is an honest account of an incredibly accomplished musician and producer who overcame an extremely dysfunctional childhood (parents who were drug addicts and alcoholics, insecure living situations, racism, etc.) to become a huge success, with the stereotypical rock star addictions to follow. Rodgers is circumspect about many of his personal relationships, but doles out plenty of anecdotes about the decadence of the era to keep one's appetite for salacious stories satisfied. Unfortunately, it has a kind of "as told to" feel to it, which makes it come across as a little impersonal and superficial. If Rodgers had been willing to delve deeper into the reasons for his own appetite for substances and for music, this might have been a better book, but it is still entertaining.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tim Armitage

    Nile Rogers has had more hits than you've had hot dinners. As a songwriter, producer and performer, he's played on albums that have cumulatively sold over 500 million copies worldwide. His 'chucking' guitar style has been a mainstay on the charts since the Seventies. From Chic to Diana Ross, David Bowie and through to Daft Punk, Rodgers has straddled the line between funk and pop, reinventing himself periodically. Le Freak recounts a life of extremes growing up amidst the urban decay of fifties Nile Rogers has had more hits than you've had hot dinners. As a songwriter, producer and performer, he's played on albums that have cumulatively sold over 500 million copies worldwide. His 'chucking' guitar style has been a mainstay on the charts since the Seventies. From Chic to Diana Ross, David Bowie and through to Daft Punk, Rodgers has straddled the line between funk and pop, reinventing himself periodically. Le Freak recounts a life of extremes growing up amidst the urban decay of fifties New York and escaping poverty to forging his own identity and submitting to temptation, Rodgers offers a vivid recollection of the heady eighties and the more sombre realities of the shifting music industry in the 21st century. My favourite book of the year.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Thanos Kandris

    Extremely well written and entertaining. This was difficult to put down and easy to get back into every time. I would have been happy to read this book if it was five times its length, and I have no doubt that Nile has the material to write such a book. As it is, he covers his tumultuous early childhood, his meteoric rise to success, some of his most famous collaborations such as David Bowie and Diana Ross, and his downward tumble into alcoholism and coke addiction. His recovery and life as a so Extremely well written and entertaining. This was difficult to put down and easy to get back into every time. I would have been happy to read this book if it was five times its length, and I have no doubt that Nile has the material to write such a book. As it is, he covers his tumultuous early childhood, his meteoric rise to success, some of his most famous collaborations such as David Bowie and Diana Ross, and his downward tumble into alcoholism and coke addiction. His recovery and life as a sober person are very quickly wrapped up, but not without one last emotional punch. All in all, a very humbled account of an extraordinary and extreme life.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    A roll call of the most influential popular musicians of the 20th century as well as an affecting memoir, this is entertainment supreme. Nile Rodgers is able to convey approachability and humility - whilst all the time delivering a stream of gossip-strewn, riveting anecdotes. The facelessness Chic strove for has been his ultimate success - his reach and influence phenomenal and, one suspects, still unknown by most. It’s not particularly well-written and was never in danger of winning literary pr A roll call of the most influential popular musicians of the 20th century as well as an affecting memoir, this is entertainment supreme. Nile Rodgers is able to convey approachability and humility - whilst all the time delivering a stream of gossip-strewn, riveting anecdotes. The facelessness Chic strove for has been his ultimate success - his reach and influence phenomenal and, one suspects, still unknown by most. It’s not particularly well-written and was never in danger of winning literary prizes but for anyone with a passing interest in music or popular culture it’s a fascinating must-read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adriaan Winton

    I found this book a fascinating read. the fact that he could have had a dreadful life because of the nature of his parents drug abuse he managed to find the right path time after time it was hard to put the book down. The only negative and it is only a minor one is that the time spend writing on the past 10 years of his life was dealt with too quickly and the book seemed to end abruptly, given that it was still a fantastic read.

  28. 5 out of 5

    robert

    Nile is an incredible raconteur, but it turns out writing and rapping are not the same skill, which is the main problem with this book, especially towards the second half where the stories are more straightforward. However, his life was completely, insanely wild, which makes this worth reading anyway despite the stylistic issues. My brother said this is the first autobiography he'd ever read whose author evinced no egotism. Nile is an incredible raconteur, but it turns out writing and rapping are not the same skill, which is the main problem with this book, especially towards the second half where the stories are more straightforward. However, his life was completely, insanely wild, which makes this worth reading anyway despite the stylistic issues. My brother said this is the first autobiography he'd ever read whose author evinced no egotism.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Charles Turner

    I’ve heard and read various things about popular artists and wondered if they were true. Nile has enlightened me and confirmed some of those things. I liked his music and remember those times enjoying it. This book was very informative and is a great addition to the collection of biographies of artists and notable people of color.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Rollins

    Entertaining quick read that engagingly tells Niles Rodgers rags to riches story. It gives an interesting glimpse into the world of record producing and the way pop hits are manufactured. If Niles Rodgers truly wrote his autobiography than he has a future as an author, on top of all his many talents.

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