Nile Rodgers has told Music Week about his "fantastic" time working with George Michael as the late singer's reissued 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1 heads for the top of the charts.
The Chic legend collaborated with the singer prior to his untimely death on December 25 last year and visited the former Wham! star at his home just two days before he died.
The Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer was interviewed for the acclaimed Freedom documentary, which was broadcast on Channel 4 last Monday and released his reworked version of Michael's Fantasy single in September.
"I cannot tell you the amount of tears that I shed in that house working on that film and that song," said Rodgers, speaking to Music Week.
"I never had any idea of what George thought of me as a musician and that even in Wham! they were playing [Chic's] Good Times live. I was getting so high in the old days that my relationships and my ability to feel the love around me was becoming dulled, because I was partying on this treadmill that just wouldn't stop.
"How could I not see that George Michael, whose work I loved, was right behind me? When I was the No.1 producer, he was the No.2 producer. I had no idea he produced his own stuff, I had no idea his favourite band was Chic and then I'm working on the film and all I'm reading are these old articles where he's saying, 'Chic is my favourite group'. It was so emotional for me, working on the record."
I kept looking for messages from George because I wanted to talk to him about the record. Instead, I get an alert that George Michael was found dead. I couldn't believe it, it was just devastating
Rodgers recalled playing Hammersmith's Eventim Apollo with Chic in aid of Autism Rocks on December 23 last year. "We played to a total sell-out crowd and it was fantastic," he said. "The entire [Freedom] film crew came back to Hammersmith [Apollo] with us for the show. It was wonderful.
"Now it's Christmas Eve. We're all in the best place possible but I had to fly home to New York. I told George I would speak to him on Christmas Day. Typically, my girl and I go out to a movie on Christmas Day, and we did so, but I kept looking for messages from George because I wanted to talk to him about the record. Instead, I get an alert that George Michael was found dead. I couldn't believe it, it was just devastating."
Earlier this month, Rodgers guided viewers through his musical legacy in the three-part BBC Four series, Nile Rodgers: How To Make It In The Music Business, in which the multiple Grammy winner shared the secrets of his success, what it takes to make it to the top of the music industry and how to stay relevant decade after decade. It is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.