Throwback: Chic-Dance, Dance, Dance


Chic debuted as a band in 1977 with their self-titled album which was mostly written and produced by co-founders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards. “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah)” was their first single and they had conceptualized it as a tribute to American dance marathons of the 1920s and 1930s. Producer and songwriter Kenny Lehman worked with them on the song as a co-writer and producer. They were inspired by American dance contests of the 1920s and 1930s and they added a jolt of funk with their interpretation of the actor Gil Young’s phrase ‘Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah’ from the movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?  Tony Thompson’s boxy-sounding drum kit, symphonic strings plus Rodgers and Edwards’ rhythm and bass guitars were the height of musicianship in disco music. Norma Jean Wright was the lead vocalist and Alfa Anderson, who would become the lead singer on the next album, provided background vocals with Luther Vandross.

Models Valentine Monnier and Alva Chinn who was one of the early Black models were photographed for the album cover. “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah Yowsah Yowsah)” was a big record for Chic scoring Top Ten and Top 40 chart positions domestically and abroad as well as a Gold certification. They considered themselves the rock band of the disco world with their global dance anthems which would be sampled and covered endlessly in the future. The album was remastered and reissued in 2006 and 2011. In 2018, Chic released It’s About Time after a 26-year hiatus with a new lineup. In 2023, Rodgers won two Grammy Awards for co-writing “Cuff It” on BeyoncĂ©’s Rennaissance album and a Special Merit Lifetime Achievement Grammy. Nile Rodgers & Chic are currently on the Duran Duran Future Past Tour.