Chic – Le Freak

Ah Freak out!  Dance music is usually not my thing but Nile Rodgers guitar groove on this song is fantastic. It’s also a great memory of  5th grade for me.

Rodgers and Edwards wrote this after they were denied admission to a nightclub, even though their song “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” often played inside.

It was New Year’s Eve, 1977, and they were invited to Studio 54, a very popular club in New York City where many celebrities and trendsetters were known to hang out. A singer named Grace Jones wanted Nile Rodgers (guitarist) and Bernard Edwards (Bass Player) to do some production work for her and asked them to come down to the club as her guest.

When they got there, they were not on the list, and couldn’t convince the doorman that they were the group Chic. All dressed up and nowhere to go on New Year’s Eve, they left and started writing this song as a reply to the doorman. They called it “F–k Off,” but when they decided to record it, Edwards wasn’t comfortable with the cursing, so they tried it as “Freak Off.” That title sounded lame, but when they made the opening lines “aaaahh Freak Out!” instead of “aaaahh F–k Off!”, they came up with a better title: “La Freak.”

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100 in 1978. This was #1 in the US for six weeks. After a while, they stopped distributing it as a single to encourage people to buy the album.

 

From Songfacts

Chic was a group led by bass player Bernard Edwards and guitarist Nile Rodgers. Both were very successful writers and producers, combining to work on hits for Sister Sledge and Diana Ross. Edwards went on to produce for The Power Station, Joe Cocker, and Robert Palmer, while Rodgers has worked with Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Madonna. Edwards died of pneumonia in 1996.

They ended up not working for Grace Jones, although Rodgers produced her comeback album in 1986.

Studio 54 is mentioned in the last verse: “Come on down to 54.” A year after Rodgers and Edwards couldn’t get into the club, this was included on an album of dance songs called A Night At Studio 54. They had no trouble getting in at this point.

“C’est Chic” (which was not just the name of the album but also part of the lyrics to the song) is French for “It is Chic.” 

This is the best selling single of all time for Atlantic Records with 13 million sales, including 2 million in the USA.

This was the first single to be displaced from the US # 1 twice, each time regaining the top position. It first hit the top spot in December 1978, then dropped to #2 for a week to make way for “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” After reassuming the #1 position for a second week, it then dropped to #2 again for two more weeks, this time to make way for the Bee Gees’ hit “Too Much Heaven.” In January 1979, “Le Freak” then moved back into the #1 spot for a third time, holding down the top spot for four more weeks.

This song returned, remixed, to the UK Top 20 in 1987 as “Jack le Freak.”

Nile Rodgers told Billboard that the song “was our homage to a Chubby Checker song called the ‘Peppermint Twist.'”

Nile Rogers told the Big Issue that he knew “Le Freak” was going to be a monster record even though the record company hated the song. He recalled:

“By the time the song ended, after about seven and a half minutes, we’d cleared the conference room. We were just sitting there by ourselves – myself, Bernard Edwards and our attorney. Everybody else was outside trying to figure out how to tell us how much the song sucked, and wondering did we have anything else on the album that was better.”

Le Freak

Ah Freak out!
Le Freak, see’est Chic
Freak out!
Ah Freak out!
Le Freak, see’est Chic
Freak out!
Ah Freak out!
Le Freak, see’est Chic
Freak out!
Ah Freak out!
Le Freak, see’est Chic
Freak out!

Have you heard about the new dance craze?
Listen to us, I’m sure you’ll be amazed
Big fun to be had by everyone
It’s up to you, It surely can be done
Young and old are doing it, I’m told
Just one try, and you too will be sold
It’s called Le Freak! They’re doing it night and day
Allow us, we’ll show you the way

[Chorus]

All that pressure got you down
Has your head spinning all around
Feel the rhythm, check the ride
Come on along and have a real good time
Like the days of stopping at the Savoy
Now we freak, oh what a joy
Just come on down, two fifty four
Find a spot out on the floor

[Chorus]

Now Freak!
I said Freak!
Now Freak!

All that pressure got you down
Has your head spinning all around
Feel the rhythm, check the ride
Come on along and have a real good time
Like the days of stopping at the Savoy
Now we freak, oh what a joy
Just come on down, two fifty four
Find a spot out on the floor

[Chorus]

 

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

28 thoughts on “Chic – Le Freak”

  1. I hated this song when it came out- because it was Disco- and I was 17 years old. I couldn’t like a disco song. A decade later I had to admit to myself that it was a great single.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This song was HUGE around here. Back in the day of mirror balls and dance clubs, we danced our booties off to this one (along with We Are Family and Voulez Vous Couchez Avec Mois Ce Soir.) Good times!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We Are Family and this one goes with each other well. Love the funky groove of his guitar.

      Jennifer will ask me time to time which song I’m posting. I told her this one and her face lit up lol. She is waiting for me to post “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do remember it but I’m not a dancer…What did Schroeder from the Peanuts say? I’m a musician not a dancer lol. I tried…no rhythm at all.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Bump isn’t really dancing, you just bump somebody else to the beat, usually your hip side to their hip side, but of course there is improv. lol on your lack of dancing skills. You might be able to handle this one.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I remember on tv shows people doing it… Oh I remember one show What’s Happening! that they did it. Why that came to my small mind I don’t know.
        Yea even I could handle that one.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Tony Thompson…yes he also drummed for Led Zeppelin at Live Aid…and they considered reforming with him briefly.

      Like

  3. One of the most well-known bass solos. I loved this group and all the funk that rolled out of the 70s & 80s. I’d never seen the two singers, before. Not what I expected. I was thinking they would look more like A Taste of Honey. They look pissed. Maybe it was just the filming of the video.

    The violin line-up was cheesy. You know the strings are synthesized.

    Their sound is immediately recognizable. When Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams came out with Get Lucky, I KNEW someone from Chic was involved.

    Have Mercy…the time I spent dancing at our Youth Center…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s hard not to like this. Nile Rodgers is great…also as a producer. He produced David Bowies Lets Dance album.

      Bruce commented about Flares and White Violins…yea it was cheesy.

      Youth Center…we didn’t have one here. When I would go to my grandmothers…she had one near her and I had some great memories of it. Playing basketball and playing with toys that were there. Do they still exist anymore Vic?

      Like

      1. I had read about Rodgers on Bowie in your post. That was awesome.

        As far as I know, that youth center is still there as a youth center. After I graduated, they changed the name to Thataways. I was there, a lot, as my uncle worked security in uniform off duty from the PD. Oh, the shagging I did…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I forgot about that in the blog. I wrote a Bowie one the other day with it in it.

        LOL sounds like Vic had great times at the Youth Center!

        Like

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