Wednesday, April 4, 1979

Sister Sledge “We Are Family” released

We Are Family

Sister Sledge

Writer(s): Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers (see lyrics here)

Released: April 4, 1979

First Charted: April 28, 1979

Peak: 2 US, 2 CB, 11 GR, 3 HR, 3 RR, 30 AC, 11 RB, 8 UK, 12 CN, 19 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.4 UK

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 29.53 video, 162.5 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers were best known as the co-founders of Chic and that band’s #1 hits “Le Freak” and “Good Times.” The latter was sampled on the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight,” the first top-40 rap hit, and inspired Queen’s #1 song “Another One Bites the Dust.” The pair also penned Diana Ross’s 1980 #1 hit “Upside Down.” Rodgers alo produced #1 hits by David Bowie (“Let’s Dance,” 1983), Madonna (“Like a Virgin,” 1984), and Duran Duran (“The Reflex,” 1984).

However, it was Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” which marked Edwards and Rodgers’ first major chart success outside of Chic. In fact, it was the first song they wrote for another act. WK Atlantic Records President Jerry L. Greenberg wanted the two of them to write and produce for other acts on the label, but they didn’t feel confident enough to work with big-name, established artists. They suggested working with the label’s least established act to see if they could get a hit and then could take on bigger acts. WK

The inspiration for “We Are Family” came from Greenberg’s description of who Sister Sledge were – a group comprised of four sisters who, before the album We Are Family, sang backup for various artists. SF Cash Box described the song as having “caressing exuberant lead vocals backed by Sister Sledge’s infectious harmony vocals.” WK 19-year-old Kathy Sledge sang the lead vocal. A then-unknown Luther Vandross sang backup. SF

The sisters have said that because of the song, fans often share stories with them about their families. SF “We Are Family” has “gone on to be used more generally as an expression of solidtary in various contexts.” WK It has become “an anthem for women’s groups and a message of unity.” SF


First posted 7/14/2022; last updated 11/27/2022.

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