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Le Freak

"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. Along with the tracks "I Want Your Love" and "Chic Cheer", "Le Freak" scored number one on the disco charts for seven weeks. The single achieved sales of 7 million and also scored number seven in the UK Singles Chart.

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

Lyrics

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 54", a reference to Studio 54, which was a popular nightclub in New York City at that time.

History

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!"; 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'.

"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 Nicci Gilbert of the group Brownstone, which first appeared on the soundtrack to the 1998 movie Woo and also included 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". On July 14, 2018, Drake surpassed all of these singles when his hit "Nice For What" reached the pole position four separate times.

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

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.

Le Freak shares melody and backing rhythm with the 2014 worldwide hit Uptown Funk recorded by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

Track listing and formats

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

    Weekly charts

    Year-end charts

    All-time charts

    Certifications