Chic hardly would've lived up to its name if the funk band had said what was really on its mind in "Le Freak," the disco staple that reached No. 1 for the first time on this week in 1978.
The song's signature call-out—"Ahhh, freak out!"—was originally written as "Ahhh, fuck off," a far from chic retort aimed at Studio 54. Guitarist Nile Rodgers and bassist Bernard Edwards claim they were denied admission to the legendary nightclub on New Year's Eve 1977, even though they had been invited by Grace Jones and their Top 10 hit "Dance Dance Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" was a dance-floor fave.
In the recording studio, however, the duo quickly realized the insult dampened the fun factor and changed it to a head-scratching "Freak off!" before finally coming up with the call to action that continues to resound with giddy dancers.
"Le Freak," which Rodgers also describes an "homage" to the 1961 hit "Peppermint Twist," went on to become the first single to reach No. 1 three separate times.
One week after it was knocked from the top spot by Barbara Streisand's duet with Neil Diamond, "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," "Le Freak" regained the crown for two weeks before getting overtaken by the Bee Gees' "Too Much Heaven." But then the song proved its success was definitely not a freak, coming back two weeks later to recapture No. 1 for a record third time and an additional three weeks.
It remains the most successful single in the history of Atlantic Records, selling more than 13 million copies worldwide. Freak out!