Bernard Edwards was born October 31, 1952 in Greenville, North Carolina. He grew up in Brooklyn, New York where in the early 1970’s, he met Niles Rodgers (pictured left) when both worked as musicians in the Sesame Street touring theatrical show. The two soon formed a funk rock band called The Boys and then in 1972, The Big Apple Band, which served as backup for a soul group, New York City, which had a top-15 hit with “I’m Doing Fine Now.”
In 1976, Bernard Edwards and Niles Rogers formed Chic with drummer Tony Thompson, keyboardist Raymond Jones, and singer Norma Jean Wright. Chic dominated the disco, funk, and soul genres with a string of hits from 1977 to 1992 that included “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)”, “Everybody Dance”, “Le Freak” (number one for five weeks), “I Want Your Love”, “Good Times” (number one for six weeks), “Rebels Are We”, and “Soup for One” (which was the title song for a film). The team also wrote and produced top hits for other artists including “I’m Coming Out” (Diana Ross), “He’s The Greatest Dancer” and “We Are Family” (both for Sister Sledge).
His bass line from Chic hit “Good Times” has become one of the most copied pieces of music in history and had a huge impact on musicians of many genres.
In 1983, Edwards released a solo album Glad to Be Here and two years later helped form the supergroup Power Station. Edwards produced Robert Palmer’s hit album Riptide that same year and worked with the likes of Diana Ross, Adam Ant, ABC, Missing Persons, Nona Hendryx, Rod Stewart, Grayson Hugh, Air Supply, and Duran Duran. Bernard wrote & co-wrote over 350 songs and was nominated for four Grammy Awards for his work with Chic, Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, and Robert Palmer.
Having disbanded when disco waned, Chic regrouped in the early 90’s and released the album Chic-ism in 1992. Edwards died of pneumonia in Tokyo after a performance with Niles Rodgers while on tour in 1996.
Bernard was honored in 2005 for his outstanding achievement as a producer with his induction into the Dance Music Hall of Fame. In 2016 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and a year later was selected as the 53rd greatest bassist of all time by Bass Player Magazine.
Bernard Edwards legacy is left behind with his timeless music and his legacy as a bass player and producer.