|Single by Rick James|
|from the album Street Songs|
|Released||July 10, 1981|
|Format||Vinyl record (7")|
|Genre||Rhythm and blues, funk|
|Length||3:24 (album version)
7:05 (12" version)
|Writer(s)||Rick James, Alonzo Miller|
|Rick James singles chronology|
"Super Freak" is a 1981 hit single produced and performed by Rick James. The song, co-written by James and Alonzo Miller, was first released on James' album Street Songs and became one of James' signature songs. It features background vocals from Motown labelmates The Temptations, in which the bass singer is James' uncle Melvin Franklin, and Canadian singer Taborah Johnson. "Freak" is a slang term for, as described in the song's lyrics, "...a very kinky girl / The kind you don't take home to mother". Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #477 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
The song was a big hit for James in 1981, charting on the pop, R&B and dance charts in the U.S. On the Billboard Hot 100 chart, the song peaked at #16 in the fall of 1981 and spent 10 weeks in the top 40. Together with two other singles from Street Songs, "Give It to Me Baby" and "Ghetto Life", it spent three weeks at #1 on the American dance charts earlier that year.
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||2|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||40|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||2|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||3|
|New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)||4|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||16|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B Singles||3|
- In 1984, Los Angeles-based novelty band Big Daddy (whose comic conceit was to cover fast songs as ballads and slow songs up-tempo, and all contemporary songs done in 1950s style) recorded the song to a slower beat as if it had been done by the Everly Brothers.
- In 1989, the song was covered by thrash metal band Mordred on their album Fool's Game.
- In 2006, Chicago-based alternative rock band Straitjacket covered this song on their album Vices.
- In 2006, a cover by Billy Crawford was included on the soundtrack to the 2006 animated film Asterix and the Vikings.
- In 2007, the song was covered in bluegrass style by Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby on their eponymous collaborative album.
- In 2013, Welsh post-hardcore band The Blackout recorded a cover version as a bonus track on their fourth studio album Start the Party.
Live cover performances
- Australian Idol 4 finalist Bobby Flynn performed a version of the song in 2006.
- In 2004, the Dave Matthews Band covered Super Freak live on Alpine Valley Music Theatre. The song features on Live Trax Vol. 8.
- The song was covered by Irish band Dirty Epics on The Podge and Rodge Show in February 2009.
- The 2012 season of Strictly Come Dancing featured this song for it Halloween week. It was danced-to by Denise Van Outen and James Jordan.
- The riff of the song was most popularly sampled in 1989 by MC Hammer in his best known single, "U Can't Touch This". The song was also sampled Wassuup by Da Muttz in 2001.
- Hip hop artist GZA/Genius sampled the song on his debut 1991 album Words from the Genius.
- In 1997, artist Jude's song entitled "Rick James" (#28 Billboard Modern Rock Chart) featured the words "Oh, Rick James was the original Super Freak" in its chorus line.
- The title track of Jay-Z's 2006 comeback album Kingdom Come features a sample from "Super Freak".
- In the 2007 song "Freaky Gurl" by Gucci Mane, the lines in the chorus pay homage to the original Rick James song.
- In 2007, French actor/rapper Disiz la Peste released a rap song in French that uses of "Super Freak" as the instrumental backing.
In 2006, the Beatfreakz covered the song, as "Superfreak", and gained a #7 UK hit with it.
|Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)||5|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Dance Flanders)||8|
|Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)||6|
|Irish Singles Chart||20|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||34|
|Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)||26|
|UK (Official Charts Company)||7|
In popular culture
- The song appears in the soundtrack of the 1983 movie Doctor Detroit.
- In the 1986 movie Heartbreak Ridge, Mario Van Peebles as Corporal 'Stitch' Jones, sings most of the song before he is thrown out of a bar.
- An instrumental version of the song was featured in the 1992 movie Batman Returns.
- In a 1998 episode of Just Shoot Me, disappointed to find out she hadn't been the inspiration to the fictional song "Nina in The Cantina", Nina Van Horn found solace in the belief that she was at least the inspiration to Rick James' Super Freak.
- In the 2006 comedy film Little Miss Sunshine, Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) performs a burlesque routine to the song at a children's beauty pageant.
- On the episode of One on One, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Alfonso Ribeiro sings the song on the season 1 episode, "Me and My Shadow" which originally aired in 2002 where Flex (Flex Alexander) and Duane (Kelly Perine) decide to have a high school band.
- In Season 4 of The A-Team, Rick James guest stars and performs this song in the episode 'The Heart of Rock n Roll'
- In an episode of George Lopez, George sings this song to the baby he thinks is in Angie's womb.
- In Season 7 episode 10 of Two and a Half Men a drunk Charlie Harper sings this song at the wedding of his brother Alan.
- Hank Stuever. "James may have been freaky, but he made us all dance". The Washington Post. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 July 2013. "Rick James (...) will sing eternally the 1981 R&B dance hit that made him: "Super Freak,""
- Stuart Rosenberg (2009). iUniverse, ed. Rock and Roll and the American Landscape: The Birth of an Industry and the Expansion of the Popular Culture, 1955-1969. p. 143. ISBN 978-1440164583. "Rick James (...) would later go on to record the 1981 funk classic, “Super Freak;”"
- "Ultratop.be – Rick James – Super Freak" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "Super freak in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Rick James search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Rick James – Super Freak" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100.
- "Charts.org.nz – Rick James – Super Freak". Top 40 Singles.
- "awards on Allmusic". Allmusic.
- "Ultratop.be – Beatfreakz – Superfreak" (in Dutch). Ultratip.
- "Beatfreakz: Superfreak" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
- "Lescharts.com – Beatfreakz – Superfreak" (in French). Les classement single.
- "Superfreak in Irish Chart". IRMA. Retrieved 14 July 2013. Only one result when searching "Superfreak"
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – Beatfreakz search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Beatfreakz – Superfreak" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100.
- "2006 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive - 21st October 2006". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition, 1996
- Super Freak at Discogs
- Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
"Try It Out" / "Hold Tight" by Gino Soccio
|Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single
(with "Give It to Me Baby" and "Ghetto Life")
July 25, 1981 - August 8, 1981
"I'm in Love" by Evelyn King