Once Upon a Time in the Top Spot: Chic, “Le Freak”
38 years ago today, Chic landed atop the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. They would, however, return to the #1 spot two more times…with the same song!
Written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers, “Le Freak” was written as a tribute to Studio 54, paying sarcastic homage to the nightclub’s notorious tendency to make customers wait in line for extended periods of time, only to be turned away on the whim of whoever was working the door that evening. The bit where they say, “Freak out”? Yeah, it didn’t start out saying that: Chic just ended up going in a more polite direction because their original lyrics to the refrain involved a certain F-word followed by an “off.”
“Le Freak” would’ve gone down in history just by virtue of having sold seven million copies, but it actually holds a legitimate Billboard record: it was the first song ever to rise to the top of the Hot 100 on three separate occasions, returning to the top spot on December 23 and January 20.
Although it’s been covered a few times over the years and sampled more times than you can imagine, we subscribe to the belief that you should accept no substitutes. When it comes to dance floor fillers, it still doesn’t get much better than “Le Freak.”