Top 10: music acts most likely to ‘do a Rodgers’

Nile Rodgers, Bobby Womack and Johnny Cash have all showed how musical reinvention is done – who’s next?

 

It can happen just like that. One day you’re another heritage act plodding away two levels above the wedding band circuit.

You’ve had your hits, but that was years ago. People remember your name and can hum your biggest tunes, but most think you are dead. You are making a decent living from royalties – miraculously, your lawyers, managers and labels didn’t completely rip you off – and the cash from gigging is grand.

Then, boom, it all changes. It might be on the back of a collaboration with a younger, hipper act, or it might come down to a career-redefining new album produced by a credible musician or producer. You’re suddenly hip, your agent is getting you better-paying shows and people who wouldn’t take your calls are begging you to get in touch. You have dodged the wedding band circuit. You’re back, baby.


Take the Rodgers road
Nile Rodgers would probably argue that he didn’t quite require Daft Punk to return to the limelight. Since Chic’s appearance at the Sonar festival in Barcelona in 2006, Rodgers and his band had well and truly left the supper club circuit behind to play the hipper European festivals.

But Rodgers’s unmistakable guitar work on Get Lucky was the catalyst for people to decide they wanted some disco in their lives, and who better than the man behind Le Freak? Chic’s gigs this year have been life-affirming, as audiences have flocked to pay their respects to the master. He can now tour until he drops, such is his pulling power.

Giorgio Moroder is another who has benefited from the Daft Punk effect.

Plenty of other acts have reignited their mojo through such associations in recent years. Two of last year’s standout albums were from Bobby Womack and Dr John, both produced by younger guns (Damon Albarn and XL Records’ Richard Russell in the case of the former, and Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys for the latter). Johnny Cash’s renaissance in the last years of his life owed it all to a stellar Rick Rubin-produced run of albums.

Many veteran acts are happy with their lot in life. For all that, there are sure to be many looking at the likes of Rodgers and Moroder, and who fancy a bit of that. Here are 10 acts that could “do a Rodgers”.

Chaka Khan
Surely, it can only be a matter of time until Rufus superfan Questlove decides to do something with the band’s former singer, the iconic Ms Khan?


Jazzie B
The Soul II Soul man may have plenty of gigs to occupy his time and pay the bills, but there’s always room for more from the don who put the original Keep On Movin’ crew in motion at the Africa Centre in London all those years ago.


Mark Hollis
Formerly of Talk Talk, Hollis has been largely absent since a stunning, haunted solo album back in 1998. While that voice and those songs are timeless, Hollis’s reticence to do anything else may hamper any move. That said, he did supply some music to ace US TV show Boss and was spotted at Electric Picnic a few years ago so hope springs eternal.


Kevin Saunderson
The Detroit producer took house and techno to the masses via Inner City’s hits such as Big Fun and Good Life. It’s time for him to have a second spell in the limelight.


Neneh Cherry
We may be on the money with this one, as the Buffalo Stance lady has been working with Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) of late and there was also that glorious album with The Thing from last year.


Jonathan Richman
A collaboration between the man behind punky gem Roadrunner and current hot guns Haim would be a great proposition.


Green Gartside
The Scritti Politti frontman always was a master of the off-kilter pop twist. A prime candidate for a rerun.


Roy Ayers
The jazz-funk pioneer has a string of great hits to his name, including Everybody Loves the Sunshine and Running Away.


Maceo Parker
The saxophonist has worked with everyone from James Brown and George Clinton to Prince and Bryan Ferry, but we reckon there’s room for a Chic-like revival in his fortunes.


Evie Sands
The lady behind the iconic, hugely underestimated Any Way That You Want Me album is still recording and performing. Anyone seeking a brilliant blue-eyed soul singer should check her out.

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