Le Freak

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"Le Freak"
Chicfreak.jpg
One of the US editions
Single by Chic
from the album C'est Chic
B-side
  • "You Can Get By"
  • "Savoir Faire"
ReleasedSeptember 21, 1978
Format
RecordedJanuary 1978
Genre
Length5:23 (LP version)
3:30 (7" edit)
LabelAtlantic (3519)
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Bernard Edwards
  • Nile Rodgers
Chic singles chronology
"Everybody Dance"
(1978)
"Le Freak"
(1978)
"I Want Your Love"
(1979)

"Le Freak" is a song by American R&B band Chic. It was the band's third single and first Billboard Hot 100 and R&B number-one song.[2][3] Along with the tracks "I Want Your Love" and "Chic Cheer", "Le Freak" scored number one on the disco charts for seven weeks.[4] The single achieved sales of 7 million[5] and also scored number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

Billboard magazine ranked it as the number 3 song for 1979.[6] The song was ranked number 21 on Billboard magazine's top 100 songs of the first 55 years of the "Hot 100" chart.[7] In 2018, it was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or artistically significant."[8]

Lyrics[edit]

Part of the lyrics mention "Stompin' at the Savoy", referencing a song of the same name composed by Edgar Sampson. They also invite the listener to "Come on down to the 54", a reference to Studio 54, which was a popular nightclub in New York City at that time.

History[edit]

This song commemorates Studio 54 for its notoriously long customer waiting lines, exclusive clientele, and discourteous doormen. According to guitarist Nile Rodgers, the song was devised during New Year's Eve of 1977, as a result of his and bassist Bernard Edwards' being refused entrance to Studio 54, where they had been invited by Grace Jones, due to her failure to notify the nightclub's staff. He said the lyrics of the refrain were originally "Fuck off!" rather than "Freak out!";[9] for the documentary "How to Make It in the Music Business", he said that 'fuck off' was what the doorman had said to him when he slammed the door on them; first it was changed to "freak off" after Rodgers mused that they wouldn't be able to say 'fuck off' on the radio, but that sounded "terrible", so he changed it to 'freak out'.[10]

"Le Freak" was the first song to score the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times. MC Lyte sampled the song "Woo Woo (Freak Out)" featuring Brownstone's Nicci Gilbert, which first appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 movie Woo and also appeared on her album Seven & Seven, titled "Woo Woo (Party Time)" which released three months later. This record remained until 2008, when three different songs, "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis, "Whatever You Like" by T.I., and his follow-up single "Live Your Life", featuring Rihanna all achieved this feat. Bruno Mars also managed this in 2011 with "Grenade", as did The Weeknd with his 2015 single "Can't Feel My Face".

In 1987, an acid house-styled re-mix was issued under the title "Jack Le Freak". It reached number 18 in the United Kingdom, becoming Chic's last top 40 hit to date in that country.

Popular culture[edit]

In 2010, "Le Freak" was covered by the electronica band Millionaires for the MTV movie Turn the Beat Around. The bass line from the song was used by American industrial rock group My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult for their track, "Waiting for Mommie" on the Confessions of a Knife... album that was released in 1990 by Wax Trax! Records.

The song is also used in the films Heavy Weights, The Last Days of Disco, Mystery Men, 102 Dalmatians, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Shrek 2, It's Pat!, Son of the Mask, Roll Bounce, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Furry Vengeance, Toy Story 3, Super 8, Buddy, and Think Like a Man Too.

The song was used in the second episode of the second season of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars as a "Lip Sync For Your Legacy" song. It was performed by contestants Alaska and Katya, each seeking to win $10,000 and the power to eliminate a competitor.

The song appears in a 2016 TV commercial for Walmart.[11]

Track listing and formats[edit]

Atlantic 7" 3519, September 21, 1978

  • A. "Le Freak" (7" Edit) – 3:30
  • B. "Savoir Faire" – 4:57

Atlantic promo 12" DSKO 131, 1978 / Atlantic 12" DK 4700, 1978

  • A. "Le Freak" – 5:23
  • B. "Savoir Faire" – 4:57

Atlantic 12" DK 4620, 1978 / Atlantic Oldies promo 12" DSKO 178, 1979

  • A. "Le Freak" – 5:23
  • B. "You Can Get By" – 5:36

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Canada (Music Canada)[40] 2× Platinum 20,000^
France (SNEP)[41] Platinum 700,000[42]
United Kingdom (BPI)[43] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[44] Platinum 4,000,000[45]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heather Phares. "Disco Fever, Vol. 2 [SPG] on Allmusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 July 2013. "disco hits like Chic's "Le Freak,""
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 116.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Chic > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 56.
  5. ^ Haden-Guest, Anthony (February 24, 1986). New York Magazine: "Jewel of a Nile", p. 49. New York Magazine. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  6. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1979
  7. ^ a b Bronson, Fred (2 August 2013). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  8. ^ "National Recording Registry Reaches 500". Library of Congress. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  9. ^ "CLASSIC TRACKS: Chic – 'Le Freak'". Sound On Sound Magazine. 2005. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  10. ^ "Episode 1". Nile Rodgers: How to Make It in the Music Business. 25 August 2018. BBC4.
  11. ^ "Saatchi & Saatchi New York: Walmart 'Freak Out', 'Holiday Helpers', 'The Man' and 'Fairy Princess'". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  12. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Chic – Le Freak" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – Chic – Le Freak" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  16. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Disco Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  17. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Top 15 12inch Chart (with Macho man)". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Le Freak in French Chart". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2013. You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Chic"
  19. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Chic – Le Freak". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  20. ^ a b "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  21. ^ "HPI – Settimana del 20/01/79". Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Chic" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Chic – Le Freak" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  24. ^ "Charts.nz – Chic – Le Freak". Top 40 Singles.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Chic – Le Freak". VG-lista.
  26. ^ John Samson. "Le Freak in South African Chart". Retrieved 5 June 2013.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Chic – Le Freak". Singles Top 100.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Chic – Le Freak". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ a b "Chic". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 6 July 2013.
  30. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 48.
  31. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 27, 1979". tropicalglen.com. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  32. ^ "Lescharts.com – Chic – Le Freak" (in French). Les classement single.
  33. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  34. ^ "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2016-12-26.
  35. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  36. ^ http://nztop40.co.nz/chart/?chart=3868
  37. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 19__". Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  38. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1979/Top 100 Songs of 1979". www.musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  39. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1979". tropicalglen.com. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  40. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Chic – Le Freak". Music Canada. Retrieved 29 March 2012.
  41. ^ "French single certifications – Chic – Le Freak" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Select CHIC and click OK. 
  42. ^ "Les Singles en Or :" (in French). Infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  43. ^ "British single certifications – Chic – Le Freak". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 29 March 2012. Select singles in the Format field. Select Gold in the Certification field. Type Le Freak in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  44. ^ "American single certifications – Chic – Le Freak". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 29 March 2012. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  45. ^ Perrone, Pierre (27 April 1996). "Obituary: Bernard Edwards". The Independent. Retrieved 22 April 2013.

External links[edit]