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The New York Connection: What do Blondie, Chic, the Clash and the Sugar Hill Gang (Allegedly) Have in Common?

The New York Connection: What do Blondie, Chic, the Clash and the Sugar Hill Gang (Allegedly) Have in Common?

Photo: (Clockwise) Debbie Harry, the Sugarhill Gang, the Clash and Chic.

The odd answer to that question is they all allegedly shared a stage in New York on a night that gave rise to the Sugar Hill Gang’s subsequent single, Rapper’s Delight.

Blondie, Chic and (some say) the Clash were playing a couple of nights at the Palladium in New York in 1979 and when Chic played Good Times, some of the members of what became the Sugarhill Gang got up onstage and rapped with the band.

Weeks later one of the members of Chic, guitarist Nile Rodgers, heard an early version of Rapper’s Delight in a New York nightclub and asked the DJ about it. Initially pissed off about the unauthorised sampling of Chic’s song, eventually Rodgers and Chic’s bass player, Bernard Edwards, received the songwriting credit on the track.

Rodgers later said it was one of his favourite records of all time.

Even though I was heavily into Punk and New Wave music, I really liked Rapper’s Delight when it was released in the UK in 1979. I also enjoyed some tracks by Chic back then too, mainly for the fantastic bass lines, so Rapper’s Delight was a win-win for me. Although I remained unaware of rumours of the Clash and Blondie’s Punk involvement in that momentous night until I was researching the track for its mention in my 1970s-1980s Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!.

The Clash’s role in proceedings that night has been hotly disputed by people who were at the gig, as a comment below this article makes clear, but Blondie members were definitely there.

Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php

The Sugar Hill Gang – Rapper's Delight ( HQ, Full Version )

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 www.bombedoutpunk.com © Peter Alan Lloyd

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1 Comment

  1. Dave

    Peter. This event NEVER HAPPENED!!! The Wikipedia page for Rappers Delight is 1000% WRONG when it comes to any involvement with The Clash, Blondie and Chic at the Palladium in 1979. The clash played the Palladium in February 1979 and 2 more shows there in September. In Feb opening acts were The Cramps & Bo Diddley. In September (when I saw them) opening acts were Sam & Dave and The Undertones. The confusion arising from The Clash having anything to do with the birth (for lack of a better term) of hip hop is because when the Clash played BONDS (not the Palladium) in 1981 (not 1979) they had Grandmaster Flash (some say Sugarhill Gang also but that is probably incorrect) as one of their opening acts for a few of their 17 Bonds shows. However a WEEK BEFORE the Clash shows at the end of May there was a benefit show that involved Blondie and Chic (NOT The Clash) playing together. Somehow that show and the Clash shows have gotten merged together, and venue and year have gotten mistaken. The event that people THINK involved The Clash, Blondie & Chic is here. I repeat THE CLASH WERE NOT INVOLVED IN THIS!!!!! http://youtu.be/mfYQXd6ssqU.

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