Let the music play on
HOW CHIC CREATED THEIR BIGGEST TUNE AFTER BEING DENIED ENTRY AT STUDIO 54
Le Freak one of the biggest Disco tunes was created by the producers of Chic out of frustration and rejection.
After Chic released their first single "Dance Dance Dance" in 1977 and the single did very well on
the billboard charts by going straight to No 1 on the disco charts and No 6 on the pop charts
The success of dance dance dance changed the lives of Nile Rogers and Benard Edwards in terms of who they now rubbed shoulders with in the industry also they had now become rich by the virtue of the single selling over a million copies resulting in more money in their pockets .
Chic ( Image: BBC Music)
During one of the industry meetings they ran into Grace Jones sometimes in December 1977 and
she asked both Nile and Benard to join her at studio 54 (one of the hottest disco night clubs in New York) where she had a gig, she also, while inviting them to studio 54 discussed with them the idea
of the duo producing her next album, so on the 31st of December 1977 Nile and Benard were dressed to the nines, Nile was dressed in a Cerruti dinner jacket while Benard was dressed in an
Armani suit, Unknown to the guys from Chic, maybe intentionally or an oversight, Grace Jones
did not leave their names on the guest list, the painful thing was they could hear their new single
Dance, Dance, Dance being played in the club and the club patrons were enjoying it, they both
mentioned to the door man that "we are Chic"and the guy at the door said "Chic shit" after trying
to get in through the back door and were not successful, they now decided to go to the front door
Where an acquaintance of theirs, the soon to be famous Marc Benecke was manning the door,
Grace Jones (image: TV tropes)
when Benard and Nile told him they were personal guests of Grace Jones, he told them "Yeah right" when they politely and urgently asked Marc to please check the list, he actually stopped, looked it up and down, scanned all the pages and then said in a clear precise definitive voice "I looked and you are not on the list, he returned to scanning the crowds for notables, we knew that was the end of the negotiations.
Nile and Benard left studio 54 and now went to the apartment of a deejay friend of theirs Robert Drake where they drowned their sorrows by drinking bottles of vintage Dom Perignon and a
little cocaine and while drinking and snorting they started jamming. Nile on his guitar and Benard
on his bass and started singing the words that the stage doorman had said to them earlier on
“Fuck off” and Nile added fuck studio 54 aw fuck off, they played this over and over grooving and
laughing, they developed the groove and even wrote a bridge, then Nard while enjoying it realized
that as good as the groove sounded, they can never get the sound on the radio and while still thinking of how to get around it, suddenly the proverbial light bulb went off and he suggested
that they replace fuck with freak and sing freak out.
Le Freak Album Sleeve ( image: Wikipedia)
After playing and singing for a while, Benard made it a complete song by adding le freak, c’est chic
In place of fuck studio 54, the record was released in the summer of 1978 and it went triple platinum which is like six million then, Benard and Nile got their first seven figure cheque from the single and the album went multi platinum, the single le freak has sold twelve million copies till date and it has been the highest selling single for Atlantic records .
1.Excerpts taken from everybody dance, Chic and the politics of Disco
2.Excerpts taken from Nile Rodgers, le freak, an upside down story of family, disco and destiny.