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If you don't dance, you don't stand a chance...

Welcome to WEEK 201 of 4T! (Video Episode #27) Chic – “Le Freak” (1978/1986)

Exceptions That Prove the Rule

A few episodes ago, I talked about the musical coming of age – i.e. that point in your life when you start to consciously decide what music is “yours”, not your parents’ or siblings’ or peers’ or whatever the culture tells you it should be. Though I do think it happens to almost 100% of everyone, it’s not a rule. But if it were, like any rule, it’s the exceptions that prove it. This here song by Chic is one of those exceptions.

I was almost 10 when “Le Freak” was released. And though by then I’d already gotten into the Beatles and Sean Cassidy and other pop of the day (especially songs my dad played in his live gigs) and Grease and Saturday Night Fever, among many other things, for some reason I remember this song having way more immediate impact on me. It was the first 45 single I bought with my own money, at K-Mart. I didn’t just want it, I NEEDED it. The spare yet compelling and never boring production. The positivity. The call to throw off all the pressure and just FREAK OUT. The infinite funkiness. It’s never left me. Part of the proof of that is that I bought this song TWICE. First, the 45 in 1978 (as discussed in Week 141), and then the 12” single in 1986 – when I was heavily into DJing. I couldn’t imagine a dance set that didn’t include this. And with all the tremendous changes in production, style & taste in those eight years, it shows the genius and perfect-ness of this song that it still hit home.

Staccato funk has been a part of my repertoire for decades. Here’s an example that meshes funk & pop & rock & grunge:

Do you like this song? Do you know who Nile Rogers is? Are you into funk at all? What song do you remember being the first one you HAD to own? Discuss dammit!

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