Nile Rodgers Recalls When Prince Skipped Out On Him At New Year's Eve Gig

While Chic cofounder and hitmaking music producer Nile Rodgers never made a record with Prince, the two music icons enjoyed a long-lasting friendship as peers.

Nile tells the At First Listen podcast that he and Prince had a strong rapport through the years and as mercurial as the Purple One could be, their relationship was completely level.

"Our relationship was one of respect and admiration, and I didn't have to feel uncomfortable with Prince or anything like that," Nile recalls. "It was never, 'Uh, don't look in Prince's eyes.' None of that weirdness."

But there was one time when Prince did leave Nile hanging.

Nile was playing an intimate New Year's Eve gig in 2012 or 2013 and Prince agreed to come out and perform David Bowie's "Let's Dance" with Nile's band. When the time came for Nile to bring Prince onstage, the Purple One simply vanished.

"What was particularly embarrassing about that was that people that I had known for years were there," Nile recalled. "Jon Bon Jovi was there. Jon Bon Jovi started at the studio that I worked at — he used to clean up my room. ...So he was there at the show, and other famous people were there. It was like, 'Wow, they get to see me play with Prince tonight.' So I say, 'Ladies and gentlemen, Prince!' And then Prince, not only does he sneak off, he runs off.

"People told me that he took off, and then at the end of the night, he came and just sat down and was hanging with me. I don't remember if I asked him why he didn't show up. I was just going, 'Well, I will never make that mistake again.'"

While Nile never did invite Prince to perform with him again, Prince seemingly tried to make amends at the 2014 Essence Festival in New Orleans when he simply showed up during Chic's set.

"Fast forward to about another year later, he asked us to guest star at the Essence Festival," Nile continued. "Now we're talking 70,000 [people] ... we're playing at the Super Dome. So now Prince says, 'Okay, I'm gonna come out and play 'Let's Dance' with you.' I'm going, 'No, no, no. You're not gonna skip out on me tonight.' So we get out there and we're [in the bridge of 'Let's Dance'] going 'Jump, jump, jump, jump, jump!' ... The crowd starts screaming, I have no idea why they're screaming like that. I'm going, 'Dude, we do this every night, we don't get this kind of reaction.' And then I look over to my left and there's Prince, fist in the air, like Black Power, and he's jumping."

Nile signaled to his band to keep playing, so Prince could solo. His only regret is that he had to cut the performance so Chic didn't eat into the set time of the next act.

"Even though I was there with Prince and we were having a good time, it's like, 'Dude, okay, the song's over now," he says. "So we cut it, but it was amazing. It was such a good feeling playing with him."

Listen to the full At First Listen episode on iHeartRadio or wherever you get your podcasts.

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