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Nile Rodgers hints at David Bowie tribute in summer concerts

Published 14/01/2016

Nile Rodgers spoke of his friendship with the late David Bowie
Nile Rodgers spoke of his friendship with the late David Bowie

Musician Nile Rodgers has recalled the moment David Bowie came into his bedroom and played what would become one of his greatest hits.

The renowned producer, 63, said he has a "million" fond memories of Bowie but the first time he played Let's Dance stands out.

Rodgers hinted that his Fold music festival, set to take place in London for three days in June, may feature a tribute to Bowie - but he was tight-lipped about what form it would take.

Curated and produced by Rodgers, Fold Festival at Fulham Palace is billed as a music celebration and will be headlined by Chic each evening, as well as featuring artists including Alison Moyet and John Newman.

Asked if he is planning a tribute to Bowie at the shows, Rodgers told the Press Association: "It's hard to...I don't want to give away too much about what we do and what our set's going to be like."

But pressed on whether he was remaining coy for the sake of wanting to surprise concertgoers, he said: "I am saying, yeah, exactly that, exactly that."

Recalling one of the good times he shared with Bowie, who died of cancer on Sunday, Rodgers said: "I would say one of the greatest and the funniest was when he originally came into my bedroom and he played Let's Dance, and it sounded like a folk song.

"He was playing a 12-string guitar, and the problem is is that Bowie and I had laid out what the album would sort of feel like holistically, and then he comes in and plays a song that's the antithesis of what we had planned.

"And I thought 'Wow, this is weird," because he prefaced it by saying 'Nile dahling, I think this song is a hit'. And it was totally different than what we had talked about. So I asked him if I could make an arrangement, if I could do an arrangement of the song.

"So I had manuscript paper, and I wrote it out. Bowie doesn't read music, so he could only hear it after I went in and cut it with the band. And after I played it for him, I said 'David, did I make this too funky?' And he looked at me and he says, "Nile, is there such a thing?'"

Bowie is to be honoured with a tribute at next month's Brit Awards and his death will also be marked by a memorial concert at New York's Carnegie Hall on March 31.

Speaking about whether a similar show should be staged in the UK, Rodgers said he does not know if Bowie's career can be "summarised in a singular event".

Rodgers said revellers at the Fold Festival can expect a "bunch of hit records", adding: "I feel like I'm the luckiest guy in the world that I get to play with musicians from all genres, all age groups, and we all come together. If you look at our audience, it's a reflection of my life, it's a great thing for me."

Fold Festival takes place on the weekend of Friday June 24 to Sunday June 26.

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