Hipgnosis Scores Major Stake in Chic's 'Le Freak,' Sister Sledge's 'We Are Family' and Other Bernard Edwards Hits

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Courtesy of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited
Merck Mercuriadis and Nile Rodgers

Hipgnosis Songs, the Guernsey-registered music IP investment company set up by former Beyoncé and Guns N' Roses manager Merck Mercuriadis, has made another significant investment, acquiring a 37.5 percent stake in the catalog of Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards.

Edwards co-founded Chic in 1976 alongside Nile Rodgers and drummer Tony Thompson and co-wrote all of the band's era-defining songs including "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)", "Everybody Dance", "Le Freak", "I Want Your Love" and "Good Times."

Other tracks in the 290 song catalog include Sister Sledge hits "He's The Greatest Dancer", "We Are Family" and "Lost in Music", as well as Diana Ross' "Upside Down" and "I'm Coming Out."

Edwards died in 1996, aged 43. Paying tribute to his former bandmate, Rodgers -- who is managed by Mercuriadis and sits on Hipgnosis Songs advisory board – said, "I have the time of my life playing these amazing songs we created together everyday, but I will never be able to replace him and the special chemistry we had. Happily, that magic lives on in these wonderful songs that we get so much joy from everyday."

In addition to still being popular radio, film and TV staples around the world, many of Edwards' songs have been extensively sampled, remixed or reissued since they were first cut, points out a press release from Hipgnosis, which acquired a 100 percent stake in the catalog of frequent Justin Bieber collaborator Jason Boyd, better known as Poo Bear, earlier this month. In July, the company signed a deal for a 75 percent stake in The-Dream's catalog for a sum that could rise to more than $23 million.   

Commenting on its latest acquisition, Mercuriadis said that together Edwards and Rodgers "created one of the most iconic catalogues of all time."

"From "Everybody Dance" to "I'm Coming Out" and "Upside Down" to "We Are Family" their songs are classics and, to anyone who knows hits, the brand of Rodgers and Edwards is as meaningful as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Leiber and Stoller, Jagger and Richards or Lennon and McCartney," said Mercuriadis, who was CEO of London-based The Sanctuary Group prior to its sale to Universal Music in 2007 and counts Elton John, Guns N' Roses, Morrissey, Iron Maiden, Beyoncé and Diane Warren among his former management clients.

Although terms of the deal were not disclosed, Mercuriadis said that Edwards' songs have earned as much from the many songs derived from them, such as "Rapper's Delight" and "Gettin' Jiggy With It," as they have from the original works. He added, "It's a privilege for Nile and I to now be the custodians to this important piece of their legacy."


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