Single Stories: Chic, “Le Freak”
Today is Nile Rodgers’ birthday, and to celebrate the occasion, we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone and pay tribute by writing about a famous Rodgers co-write – not to mention one of the most iconic songs of the disco era – which will be celebrating its 40th anniversary on Friday.
Co-written by Rodgers and his longtime collaborator, Bernard Edwards, “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. In short, a heck of a lot of people really liked “Le Freak,” so if you’re one of them, give it a spin today in honor of the birth of the man who co-wrote it…and – once more for the road – happy birthday, Nile Rodgers!
For more information, click the buttons below: