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Bernard Edwards 4/1996

bernard edwardsApril 18, 1996 – Bernard Edwards was born October 31, 1952 in Greenville, North Carolina, but grew up in Brooklyn, New York City.

In 1972, he and Nile Rodgers formed the Big Apple Band and in 1976 they united with drummer Tony Thompson to form Chic together with singer Norma Jean Wright. They had hits such as “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”, “I Want Your Love”, “Everybody Dance”, “Le Freak”, and “Good Times”.

Those productions with Norma Jean Wright, Sister Sledge, Sheila and B. Devotion, Diana Ross, Johnny Mathis, Debbie Harry and Fonzi Thornton led to more hits such as “Saturday”, “He’s The Greatest Dancer”, “We Are Family”, “Spacer”, “Upside Down”, “I’m Coming Out” and “Backfired”. In the song “We Are Family,” Kathy Sledge gives Edwards a brief shout-out, singing “Yeah, come on Bernard, play…play your funky bass, boy!”. As a lone songwriter/producer, he gave Diana Ross her Top 15 hit, “Telephone” off of her 1985 platinum “Swept Away” album

After Chic’s breakup in 1983, he released a solo album the same year, and in 1985 he was instrumental in the formation of the supergroup Power Station. He followed this by producing Robert Palmer’s hit album Riptide and continued to produce artists throughout the 1980s and 90s including Diana Ross, Adam Ant, Rod Stewart, Air Supply, ABC and Duran Duran.

Bernard teamed up with Nile Rodgers again for the Chic reunion in the early 1990s and released the album Chic-Ism in 1992. In 1996 they were invited to play in concert at the Budokan Arena in Tokyo. Although he felt very ill before the concert he managed to perform, which sadly was to be his very last performance.

On October 31, 1996, back in his Tokyo Hotel room, he died from what was determined to have been pneumonia. He was 43 years old.

His bass line from Chic hit “Good Times” has become one of the most copied pieces of music in history, and had a huge influence on musicians of many genres when released and was the inspiration for “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.

On September 19, 2005, Edwards was honored posthumously for his outstanding achievement as a producer, when he was inducted into the Dance Music Hall of Fame at a ceremony held in New York.