“Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl?”
26 years after the release of the band’s last studio album, Entertainment Weekly talked to Nile Rodgers, the 65-year-old songwriter, guitarist, and superproducer behind Madonna‘s Like a Virgin album, seminal albums from icons of the ’80s and the ‘ 90s and his very own Chic Organization project.
Rodgers sat down with EW to talk about his new record, fame, longevity, and why he’ll always play the hits. Here are a couple of Madonna-related excerpts from the interview.
EW: But when artists you’ve worked with do hit, they’ve been huge. Do you feel that you have some special Nostradamus sense for talent?
NR: No! I’m good at liking them, but my taste is rather eclectic, so I’m trying to make artists that are just interesting and have a huge amount of style. Like Madonna — when I first met Madonna I was perplexed. The second time I met Madonna. I was in love. So it went from ‘Huh’ to ‘You’re the f—ing greatest s— I’ve ever seen.” [laughs]
There’s a famous picture of Madonna and I sitting in the middle of Madison Square Garden and not one person there bothered us or tried to take a picture with her. And within two to three months everyone was taking a picture of her and there was no way she could have sat in the middle of the Garden.
It happened that fast, because everybody was watching those first MTV Awards, going “Who’s that girl?” and I experienced that almost every time I was with her, walking into a pub or whatever and people going, “Who’s that girl? Who’s that girl?”
EW: Then she went and made a movie called Who’s That Girl… Is there any project you’ve ever said no to that you regret now?
NR: Oh, a lot of things. The biggest one was Miles Davis. We lived next door to each other at certain points in time, and we’d go out. He had a reputation for sometimes being quite cruel to people, but he was never cruel to me. He was fabulous.
We had so much fun, and that’s been my relationship with every single artist that you can think of that you know as being difficult, be it Prince, be it Miles, be it Madonna, anybody — when we’re together, they’re just as comfortable as you and I.