The first single from Daft Punk's fourth studio album Random Access Memories features American rapper and record producer Pharrell Williams on vocals and studio legend Nile Rodgers of disco pioneers Chic on guitar. Speaking to Rolling Stone about his work on the French duo's record, Nile Rodgers said: "About a year ago, I get a knock on the door - first a virtual one and then a real knock - from Guy-Manuel and Thomas. The collaboration felt so unbelievably natural that it made me realise that I need to be in the studio with people. I love partnering with people. And then from that moment, a windfall of recording started happening. I just started going in with whomever I could."
The Random Access Memories official website features a video series called The Collaborators. Speaking on one of the clips, Pharrell explained that he originally met with the Daft Punk duo during a Madonna party. He offered his services and availability for the project, adding sarcastically, "If you just want me to play a tambourine, I'll do it."
Once Pharrell had met up in Paris with the French pair, he showed them some of his own material he had been working on that coincidentally was inspired by Rodgers, unaware they had already recorded a track featuring the Chic founder member. Pharrell said, "It's crazy, because, you know, [we're] on two sides of the Atlantic, [and] we're in the same place." It was in these sessions in Paris that the American rapper-producer laid down the vocals for this song.
The song broke Spotify streaming records on the day of its release. It achieved the highest number of streams on the Swedish online music site in 24 hours in both the UK and US. British band Bastille's single "Pompeii" previously held the record in the UK and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' track "Thrift Shop" in the US.
This was Daft Punk's first UK #1 single. The French duo's previous best was 2000's "One More Time," which peaked at #2.
This was the first non-charity or Christmas single to sell in excess of 150,000 copies for two weeks running in the UK since Pop Idol finalists Will Young and Gareth Gates did so with their debut singles within weeks of each other in early 2002.
This song is a prime example of Daft Punk's move away from pure House to more of a Funk-style in the album Random Access Memories, following a popular song structure (verse, chorus, middle 8, etc.) rather than the typical EDM structure (intro, build-up, drop, breakdown, drop). It features Nile Rodgers of '70s Funk band, Chic, and lends itself far more to their music than that of Daft Punk; the typical Daft Punk sound only coming in at 3:27 (or 2:21 on the radio edit) with the characteristic processed vocals. It is for this reason that a particular London Times writer hailed Daft Punk's comeback as a move to 'Dad Punk,' turning the clocks back to the '70s and losing their hold on their avantgarde reputation. Despite this, "Get Lucky" managed to break the record for the highest number of plays on the day of its release on Spotify.
When talking about his collaboration with Daft Punk in The Collaborators album, Pharrell Williams refers to the duo as "the robots," often talking about them as though they had come from another planet, yet still able to write "human" music. In their first meet-up, according to Pharrell, when asked what he had been working on he replied that he was "in a Nile Rodgers place" at the time. Amazingly, the duo looked at each other and showed him a clip they had already recorded of Nile Rodgers previously playing riff for them to use.
Children of the '80s will fondly remember "Get Lucky" as the title to the popular Loverboy album featuring the song "Working For The Weekend." They will surely wax nostalgic over the memorable album cover, and may find themselves telling their Daft Punk-loving kids about the days of hairspray and MTV.
Speaking about the song in Rolling Stone, Pharrell Williams said: "I was trying to slice a really good moment and keep it on repeat. 'Up all night to get lucky' means you don't want the night to end. You want that golden moment on repeat, like the music repeats."
When Daft Punk played Nile Rodgers their original recording of this song, he asked them to remove all instruments except drums. Then the American musician plugged in his 1959 Fender Stratocaster and went in search of a groove. "In my way of composing, of feeling if something is grooving, it's got to hit me in my soul," Rodgers explained to UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph . "It doesn't have to be overly intellectual or some complicated thing, it just has to be cool. I can't explain it but I know it when I arrive there."
"The Daft Punk record is a perfect example," he continued, "because whatever was on the track was inspirational but it wasn't doing that thing."
Rodgers experimented with different guitar lines until he saw, "both guys smiling. Then I thought, 'OK, I'm there.'" So pleased were the Daft Punk duo with Rodgers's contribution, that he ended up on two more songs on Random Access Memories.
Spin magazine named this as their Best Song of 2013 stating that "the retro-future clufu (no, not us either!) has defeated all comers."
Pharrell Williams was involved on two of 2013's landmark songs: this one and "Blurred Lines." Speaking to GQ after being named Hitmaker of the Year by the magazine, Williams said that the success of his tracks with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke were down to people wanting to escape from all the bad things in the world. "Both songs are for people who need a break," he said. "There's a lot of f---ed-up travesty in the world. Sometimes you just need a Hallmark card. Sometimes you just need to shake your ass."
This won for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and for Record Of The Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards. Daft Punk was on hand to accept the award, but Pharrell Williams spoke on their behalf - "France is really proud of these guys right now," he said.
Daft Punk did not foresee this song's success as they released "Get Lucky" as the first single from Random Access Memories just to set up "Lose Yourself to Dance" as the expected big hit. "Oops," Nile Rodgers said with a laugh as he reflected on what happened during a 2017 SXSW keynote address. "'Get Lucky' wound up being absolutely massive, and as terrific as 'Lose Yourself to Dance' was, it just didn't have that thing that 'Get Lucky' had - that thing that spoke to the souls of a million strangers."
Halestorm transformed this song into a rocker on their 2013 cover.