Did Chic’s “Le Freak” originally have a different title?
Yes. Guitarist Nile Rodgers was irate that he was turned away from the nightclub Studio 54, even though his band’s hit song “Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)” was playing within. So he wrote a song about it. The chorus: “Aww, fuck off!”
“I’m a former Black Panther,” Rodgers told me, “but Bernard [Edwards, Chic’s bassist,] was religious.” So they compromised. “Freak off” was watered down and lame, but when they changed it to “Aww, freak out!” they had a song that would spend five weeks at #1 in 1978, and establish Rodgers and Edwards as the preeminent producers of disco. Needless to say, Rodgers didn’t have any trouble getting into Studio 54 after that.
(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)