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 (1978-09-21)
RecordedJanuary 1978
Genre
Length
  • 5:23 (LP version)
  • 3:30 (7-inch edit)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Bernard Edwards
  • Nile Rodgers
Chic singles chronology
"Everybody Dance"
(1978)
"Le Freak"
(1978)
"I Want Your Love"
(1979)
Music video
"Le Freak" on YouTube

"Le Freak" is a 1978 funk / disco song by American R&B band Chic. It was the band's third single and first Billboard Hot 100 and R&B number-one hit 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]

The lyrics mention "Stompin' at the Savoy", a 1933 song composed by Edgar Sampson. They also invite the listener to "Come on down to 54", that is, Studio 54, a popular nightclub in New York City at the time. This song is written in the key of A minor.[9]

History[edit]

This song commemorates Studio 54 in New York City 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 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!";[10] 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'.[11]

"Le Freak" was the first song to score the number one position on the Billboard Hot 100 three separate times. It spent a total of six non-consecutive weeks at the position.

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.

MC Lyte sampled the song "Woo Woo (Freak Out)" featuring Nicci Gilbert of the group Brownstone, which first appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 movie Woo and was also included on her album Seven & Seven, titled "Woo Woo (Party Time)", which released three months later.

Reception[edit]

Cash Box wrote it is "a handclapping disco song bolstered by solid bass work and airy vocals."[12]

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

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[42] 2× Platinum 448,000[41]
France (SNEP)[43] Gold 500,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] Gold 500,000^
United States (RIAA)[46] Platinum 4,000,000[45]
Summaries
Worldwide 7,000,000[5]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

In popular culture[edit]

This song was used in a 2010 film Toy Story 3 scene in which Ken models his outfits for Barbie.[47] It was also shown in the 2004 film Shrek 2, when they were partying in Shrek Swamp. This song also appears in the 1995 film Heavyweights during one of Tony Perkis’ exercise regimens with the struggling campers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Heather Phares. "Disco Fever, Vol. 2 [SPG] on Allmusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 6, 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. ^ a b 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. ^ Bronson, Fred (August 2, 2013). "Hot 100 55th Anniversary: The All-Time Top 100 Songs". Billboard. Retrieved August 9, 2013.
  8. ^ "National Recording Registry Reaches 500". Library of Congress. March 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  9. ^ Bernard, Edwards; Nile, Rodgers; Chic (May 27, 2019). "Le Freak". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved June 8, 2021.
  10. ^ "CLASSIC TRACKS: Chic – 'Le Freak'". Sound On Sound Magazine. 2005. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  11. ^ "Episode 1". Nile Rodgers: How to Make It in the Music Business. August 25, 2018. BBC4.
  12. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. October 7, 1978. p. 24. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  13. ^ "Chic – Le Freak" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  14. ^ "Chic – Le Freak" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  16. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Disco Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on October 11, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  18. ^ "Le Freak in Canadian Top 15 12inch Chart (with Macho man)". Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved June 16, 2013.
  19. ^ "Le Freak in French Chart". Dominic DURAND / InfoDisc. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved June 16, 2013. You have to use the index at the top of the page and search "Chic"
  20. ^ a b "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved November 28, 2009.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Chic" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  22. ^ "Chic – Le Freak" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Chic – Le Freak". Top 40 Singles.
  24. ^ "Chic – Le Freak". VG-lista.
  25. ^ John Samson. "Le Freak in South African Chart". Retrieved June 5, 2013.
  26. ^ "Chic – Le Freak". Singles Top 100.
  27. ^ "Chic – Le Freak". Swiss Singles Chart.
  28. ^ a b "Chic". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  29. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 48.
  30. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 27, 1979". tropicalglen.com. Archived from the original on October 1, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  31. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Chic – Le Freak". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
  32. ^ "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. ^ "Kent Music Report No 288 – 31 December 1979 > National Top 100 Singles for 1979". Kent Music Report. Retrieved January 10, 2023 – via Imgur.com.
  35. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (July 17, 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  36. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart".
  37. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 19__". Archived from the original on August 19, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 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. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  40. ^ "Hot 100 turns 60". Billboard. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  41. ^ "Maple Briefs". Billboard. April 20, 1985. p. 66. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved November 14, 2022 – via Google Books.
  42. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Chic – Le Freak". Music Canada.
  43. ^ "French single certifications – Chic – Le Freak" (in French). InfoDisc. Retrieved March 29, 2012. Select CHIC and click OK. 
  44. ^ "British single certifications – Chic – Le Freak". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  45. ^ Perrone, Pierre (April 27, 1996). "Obituary: Bernard Edwards". The Independent. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
  46. ^ "American single certifications – Chic – Le Freak". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  47. ^ "The Number Ones: Chic's "Le Freak"". Stereogum. January 15, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2022.