Chic's "Le Freak" and post-punk

I'm reading Simon Reynolds's absolutely fascinating and comprehensive book about the history of post punk, titled Rip It Up And Start Again. In this book, as in his latest Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past, Reynolds does a masterful job at connecting the dots between people, bands, scenes, memes, and even business shenanigans that drive avant-garde (and ultimately pop) culture forward. I had just been reading in Rip It Up And Start Again about "mutant disco" and its international cousins when my pal Patrick Kelly sent me the link above to Chic performing "Le Freak" in 1978. Turns out, Chic -- from the funky drums to Nile Rodgers' chunka-chunk guitar -- was an influence on numerous post-punk bands ranging from The Beat (known in the US as The English Beat) to Orange Juice.

Also, I haven't read it yet but Nile Rodgers's memoir Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny is said to be terrific.


  1. And Chic recordings were primo material for the first wave of rappers–the Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” (which recycled “Good Times”) is probably the most classic example.

  2. While you’re in the mood…

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  3. Are you reading the US or UK edition of Reynolds’ book? I ask because I specifically got the UK version after listening to Henry Rollins (on Nerdist: ) discuss the conversation he had with the author after reading a bit of the US edition AFTER he’d already read the UK one, and how Reynolds told him he was asked by the publisher to “dumb it down” for the American readers…

    1. Thanks for the info. I haven’t gotten around to picking it up yet so your post was very useful. Muchas gracias! (Edit)

    2. Awwwwww man, don’t tell me I have to buy it again–I don’t have it handy, but I assume I have the US edition also. I really enjoyed it, though.

      1. I got mine from – a collective of 50+ North American & UK mom&pop booksellers. And I get to simultaneously support small businesses AND regularly feed my reading matter addiction! Enjoy!

  4. Chic should be in the Rock & Roll HOF.  The fact that Abba is in there and Chic isn’t is ridiculous.

  5. The whole Rock and Roll Hall of Fame thing is absurd. If they were honest about the whole thing, they would have to redefine what the Hall of Fame is about and start over.

  6. Story I heard is that Nile Rodgers and other members of the band were trying to get into Studio 54 and were barred.  They started making up a song that began with  “Fck you….” although Rodgers didn’t quite say that in the interview.

  7. Nile Rodgers’ autobiography is a great read.  Chic was cited by Duran Duran’s bassist as an inflence too.

  8. Mutant disco! Crass commercialism as an ironic artistic stance! Do they go into ZE Records, my favorite home of this stuff? James Chance/White/Black? Or my favorite bit of post-punk WTF, Captain Sensible from The Damned doing a funky rap number –

  9. I *love* James Chance and the Contortions. If I could be at any music scene in history, I would have definitely hung around the No Wave movement between 1978-1982. I was too young, alas.

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