Chart Beat

Nile Rodgers on Chic's First Dance Club Songs Chart-Topper in 23 Years: 'It's Unreal'

Nile Rodgers
Courtesy Photo

Iconic pop/dance act Chic returns to the summit of Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart (dated June 20) with "I'll Be There" (2-1), featuring legend-in-his-own-right Nile Rodgers, the ensemble's founding member. Chic notches its first No. 1 since March 21, 1992, when "Chic Mystique" topped the list. Remixes of "There" from Basement Jaxx, ZHU and Strobe, among others, helped Chic return to No. 1 in style.

Chic Returns to Charts After 22 Years With 'I'll Be There'

Rodgers tells Billboard, "I'd like to sincerely thank all the Billboard reporting DJs, my band and the fans who've supported Chic in this long journey back to the top of the dance charts. I don't think anyone in history has gone over 20 years between No. 1 dance singles. And, if that's a fact, it's an awesome reality I'll never forget. I'm so humbled, it's unreal."

Rodgers is partly right: Chic's gap of 23 years and three months between No. 1s is the most for a group in the chart's nearly 39-year history (dating to its inception as a national survey on Aug. 28, 1976). Overall, soloist Cyndi Lauper holds the mark for the longest break between No. 1s. Perhaps the song she's most associated with, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," topped Dance Club Songs on March 24, 1984. Lauper didn't crown the chart again until June 28, 2008 with "Same Ol' Story," ending a wait of 24 years and three months.

"There," Chic's first Dance Club Songs entry since "Chic Mystique," is its fourth No. 1 overall. It first ruled with "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" / "Everybody Dance" / "You Can Get By" in 1977 and "Le Freak" / "I Want Your Love" / "Chic Cheer" in 1978. (Per Billboard rules at the time, different cuts could combine for one chart listing.)

Rodgers reigns for the first time as a credited artist under his own name. As a producer, of course, he's a father of disco and dance, having worked with the likes of Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, David Bowie, Madonna, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Avicii, Sam Smith and Lady Gaga, among others.

Partly reflecting the loyalty of dance fans, as well as the longevity of certain legends, other acts have returned to No. 1 on Dance Club Songs after long droughts. Aretha Franklin, for instance,  scored her first No. 1 in 16-and-a-half years back in January with "Rolling in the Deep (The Aretha Version)"; she'd last led with "Here We Go Again" in 1998.

Michael Jackson posthumously jammed at No. 1 with "Hollywood Tonight" exactly four years ago (June 11, 2011). Before that, the King of Pop had last led with sister Janet Jackson on "Scream" in 1995. Meanwhile, Duran Duran ended a nearly 16-year hiatus from the top spot when "(Reach Up for the) Sunrise" led in 2004. Its last No. 1 before that: 1989's "All She Wants Is."

When Donna Summer topped Dance Club Songs in 1995 with "Melody of Love (Wanna Be Loved)," it broke a 15-year dry spell, as her last No. 1 had been the Barbra Streisand duet classic "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" in 1979.

More recently, Giorgio Moroder topped the list dated April 18 with "Right Here, Right Now," featuring Kylie Minogue. His previous No. 1 had been "The Chase" (credited to Giorgio Moroder vs. Jam & Spoon) in 2000.

And Tori Amos rarely releases dance remixes, but when she employed Peter Rauhofer to remix "Flavor," she rose to No. 1 in March 2013 (with what turned out to be his last leading remix before his death that May). Before that, Amos had last ascended to No. 1 with "Jackie's Strength" in 1999.

--Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield