Le Freak
by Chic

Album: C'est Chic (1978)
Charted: 7 1
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  • 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.
  • 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 Rodgers and Edwards 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."

    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.
  • 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.
  • "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." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • 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."
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Comments: 7

  • Bill from UsTo S.d. = Savoy Dance Club of the 70's... uh try 1926! and they were stompin to Chick Webb and Erskin Hawkins among others!
  • Jim from Morgantown, WvSorry Nile. "Peppermint Twist" was by Joey Dee and the Starliters.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyFour of Chic's first five releases made the Top 10; DANCE, DANCE, DANCE (YOWSAH, YOWSAH, YOWSAH), peaked at #6, EVERYBODY DANCE, reached #38, LE FREAK, peaked at #1, I WANT YOUR LOVE reached #7, and finally GOOD TIMES, made it to #1...
  • Alan from Kuala Lumpur, MalaysiaI love this song when I was a kid!
  • S.d. from Denver, CoActually, the Savoy was yet another NYC dance club in the 70s. The "stompin'" reference probably had a double meaning in tribute to the song and movie, but the Savoy in this case was, like 54, an actual locale.
  • Alain from Ajaccio, FranceIn France, because of the french-flavored lyrics ("le" freak, "c'est" chic), many people think this song is about money! The French slang equivalent of "dough" is "fric" which approximately sounds like "freak". Some people think the song is an ode to wealth or materialism ("le fric, c'est chic!" would mean something like "It's cool/hip to have money!")... A French bank even chose the song as the soundtrack for their tv commercial...
  • Michael from Toronto, CanadaThe lyric "Like the days of ol' stomping at the Savoy,"

    is probably "Like the days of Stompin' at the Savoy"

    A reference to the song and movies by the same name.
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