The Songwriters Hall of Fame is headed for some “Good Times” in its executive branch.
Chic co-founder and hitmaker Nile Rodgers — a SHOF inductee in 2016 — has been unanimously elected by the Board of Directors to serve as the organization's chairman for the next three years, succeeding Philly soul architects Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff.
In a statement, Rodgers — currently preparing for the Sept. 14 release of It's About Time, Chic's first new album in 26 years — said that, “I am truly honored and beyond humbled to be elected by such an esteemed group as this illustrious board. I will try and serve with all my heart. I hope I can make you half as proud of me as I am to even sit in the room with you who've done so much for the furtherance of composition. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the songwriting community.”
Other incoming SHOF officers include Senior Vice President David Israelite, Secretary Mary Jo Mennella and Deputy Secretary April Anderson, while the new Board of Directors includes Robbin Ahrold, Martin Bandier, Caroline Bienstock, Desmond Child, Linda Lorence Critelli, Charlie Feldman, Fletcher Foster, Randy Grimmett, John Josephson, Evan Lamberg, Nancy Munoz, Matt Pincus, Jon Platt, Irwin Robinson, Don Schlitz, Karen Sherry, John Titta and Paul Williams. Linda Moran remains President and CEO, alongside CFO and Treasurer Tom Kelly and Senior Vice Presidents Beth Matthews and Mike O’Neill.
“Nile is respected and admired by his fans and his peers alike for his multi/cross-genre music and for being a musical pioneer,” Moran said in her own statement. “More importantly, Nile’s eloquence in talking about songwriting and its process makes him the ideal voice for the songwriting community as Chairman of the SHOF.”
As a songwriter and producer, Rodgers has been responsible not only for Chic singles such as “Le Freak” and “Good Times” but also hits for Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, INXS, Duran Duran and Daft Punk, among others. In 2017 he received an Award for Musical Excellence from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Last year Rodgers told said that his first revelation about the power of songwriting came when he was young, taking guitar lessons and balking at having to be in a Top 40 band playing mainstream hits such as the Archies' “Sugar Sugar.” His teacher “really berated me. He looked at me and goes, 'Whoa, Nile, what makes you believe these are bulls–t songs?. What makes you believe you're the ultimate consumer? Any song that sells and gets to the Top 40, gets into the Top 10, gets into the Top 20 — any song like that is a great composition. It speaks to the souls of a million strangers.'
“He was trying to teach me how to not be a snob. I was like, 'Wow,' and two weeks later I wrote a song called 'Everybody Dance,' 'cause that was so profound on me. I wanted to learn to speak to the souls of a million strangers. That woke me up to the power of what we call pop music.”