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Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 9 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A well-written, fascinating memoir

    To say that Nile Rodgers grew up in a dysfunctional, unusual family would be an understatement. His mother Beverly was barely a teenager when her son was born. His biological father was absent for most of young Nile's life; instead the youngster had a stepfather to teach him about life. Bobby Glanzrock, Nile's stepfather, was White, Jewish, wore the best clothes and had style to spare while his mother was a bright, beautiful African American. What kept the unusual pair together was their appreciation for good clothes and the fact that they were junkies. To young Niles, whose parents had little time for him, his life was "normal." He had no boundaries, watched television whenever he wanted, called his mother by her first name, and by his teens, was pretty much on his own. With just a guitar strapped to his back and musical talent galore (which the author credits to his biological father), Rodgers chronicles how he met his long-time partner, Bernard Edwards, a bassist for a band on the 'Chitlin' Circuit' and how their careers exploded with the rise of Disco. While their initial interaction didn't go too well, "Nard" Edwards and Rodgers soon hit it off and would be together for many years. Rodgers chronicles how their band Chic rose to fame during the Disco era, how they suffered through the "Disco Sucks" backlash, his big break writing for Diana Ross, as well as his time working with David Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran, Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, and so many others. Throughout Rodgers' amazing career, he had a growing drug and alcohol problem which he addresses with candor in Le Freak. Convinced, at the time, that he wasn't an alcoholic because he never drank that "brown stuff" (whiskey), his drug use was never in question. Encouraged early in his career while hanging out at such places as Studio 54, where drug use was an accepted norm, Rodgers used and abused many drugs. Through the years, Rodgers spiraled deeper and deeper into drug and alcohol abuse until the day came when the Grim Reaper called. Ever wonder what a drug-induced psychosis is like? You'll undoubtedly never want to learn for yourself after reading Rodgers' account. Rodgers writes with a clear, captivating voice that never seeks sympathy for his sometimes rough life, but rather adds a bit of humor and self-deprecating wit to the dialogue. The reader gets to meet musical celebrities up close and see what they're really like while working on an album. We meet Madonna as she goes ballistic on an assistant who had the temerity to take a bathroom break. We get a glimpse of Bowie's genius as he plays a little tune on his twelve string guitar (that only had six strings); Rodgers didn't particularly care for the song, but with a little tweaking from Rodgers, it was turned into the mega-hit "Let's Dance." Rodgers also includes little tidbits on how he tweaked songs to make them go from a "B Side" song to a hit. He discusses, without getting technical, how/why he might rework a tune, what he felt wouldn't work, and what might work for one artist, but not another. Quill says: A well-written, fascinating look into the life of a very talented musician/writer. If you're fascinatied by the music industry (and even if you're not!), this book is one you don't want to miss.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2011

    UnPutDownable

    As an avid reader and musician, I've read a wide gamut of musician's biographies and have to say this very likely tops them all. The eccentric combination of good fortune, bad luck and mismet yields to an ecclectic and amazing life of one of the world's most well-respected music makers.

    Simply, the book is amazing. An incredible, true account of a unique and charmed life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    You must check it out!!!

    I've pre-ordered Le Freak in great anticipation. I can't wait to get my hands on this book and read about the life and times of legendary Nile Rodgers - music producer, song writer, and guitarist for the hit musical group, CHIC. Autumn will never be the same again!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Justin

    Caine?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2013

    Karson

    Hey Kat ;)

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    Darkpaw

    "We dont have a Mistickit!" She yowled pinning the cat. With one swift swipe of her claws at the cats face he bleeds and it doesnt stop.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2012

    Vineclaw

    A hawk flys overhead then drops to the geound turning into a cat. Nice

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  • Posted July 8, 2012

    You have probably never heard of Nile Rodgers. Born to a teenage

    You have probably never heard of Nile Rodgers. Born to a teenage, junkie mother and a deadbeat father, Nile never had what most would consider a normal life. As his mother went from boyfriend to boyfriend, he found himself embarking on multiple cross country trips between New York and California and in the care of his two grandmothers. With a lack of guidance, structure, and discipline, young Nile was forced to grow up quickly, and discover a self reliance that would serve as the foundation for the rest of his life.

    While you may have never heard of Nile Rodgers, you have definitely heard his music. amongst a childhood full of drugs, abuse, incest, and even murder, a young Nile Rodgers discovered a natural talent for music. By the age of fifteen, he ran away from his family and devoted the rest of his life to his craft. Through his band, Chic, and through many other artists such as Diana Ross, David Bowie, Duran Duran, Madonna, and countless others, Rodgers became the man behind multiple hits including, Le Freak, good Times, We Are Family, Like a Virgin, Modern Love, I'm Coming Out, The Reflex, and Rapper's Delight.

    While this story mirrors that of many other artists, all of whom struggle with addiction, poverty, and reaching artistic fulfillment, Nile's tale is a uniquely moving recollection that reads like a great work of fiction. He has a clear voice that is accessible, even to those who, like me, are unfamiliar with his name and career. I was surprised that I could relate to the kind of "matter of fact" views that Rodgers expressed about his life. This memoir is not only an inside look into the creation of some of the best music of the past forty years, but an introspective portrait of a flawed character striving to create a perfect art in an imperfect world.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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