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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating from beginning to end
An excerpt in the New York Times magazine had me excited to read this autobiography, in which Nile Rodgers maintains a bemused and conversational tone. He was born to a 13 year-old mother, raised by an assortment of relatives, and ran around both coasts as a skinny, brainy, insomniac, asthmatic child with a gift for music and a knack for survival. Dealers, users, hit men...
Published on October 1, 2011 by Pasiphae

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 - better than your average tell all
So many artists want to tell their stories and, at times they can be fascinating, unbelievable, self-serving, confessional, and even boring. Le Freak is rarely boring but it does touch on the others.

I remember playing Chic's records at my first job working in a roller rink waaay back in the day and there's no denying that he's been a huge factor in some of the...
Published on January 21, 2012 by Steve


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 - better than your average tell all, January 21, 2012
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This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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So many artists want to tell their stories and, at times they can be fascinating, unbelievable, self-serving, confessional, and even boring. Le Freak is rarely boring but it does touch on the others.

I remember playing Chic's records at my first job working in a roller rink waaay back in the day and there's no denying that he's been a huge factor in some of the most danceable music ever, as well as being a big part of a cultural phenomenon that sweep through the country in the 70s and 80s. His tale encompasses all of these stages in his life with all the ugliness, joy, and stupor that went with it. Nile has lived hard and played hard and nearly lost his life in the process.

I tend to read books like this in a bathroom kind of way, e.g. I open it and read from that page. It's anecdotal and I read it as such. I've read more autobiographies/biographies than I care to remember and Le Freak is a good one for those who like the juicy tidbits to flavor the storyline. You won't be disappointed by Roger's story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET THIS ONE!!, November 17, 2011
This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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I am usually very hestitant to get books about true show biz stuff because some just name drop you to death. Wow not this one, I want a volume two with more celeb stories. This is a great read. Harsh sometimes and gritty but very very good. I have to admit, I didn't know the name Nile Rodgers before getting the book, but as stated before...GIVE ME MORE. This guy worked with everybody and produced some of the biggest songs ever for the top artists. Try Madonna, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Sister Sledge, Diana Ross, the list goes on and on. Read this one folks. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good (and Bad) Times, November 4, 2011
This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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An insightful, absorbing memoir of a musical genius. Nile Rodgers' "Le Freak" (2011) covers plenty of territory - ranging from the Chic breakthrough to the brutally honest personal life and post-disco work. The detailed chapter on his 1983 collaboration with David Bowie justifies the purchase price. Rodgers' passion for music and survival remains intact.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nile Rodgers Helps Write The Soundtrack Of World, October 17, 2011
This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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For many of those in my age group---mid-thirties---it is really amazing how much of the music that icon Nile Rodgers helped to craft that still finds its way into our music collection. He is an individual who was not only in line with his time but able to see ahead and create music that would be viewed as timeless.

In the book LE FREAK we are able to get a better glimpse of the man: the good, bad and the road that seems to go through redemption and now beyond. There was quite a bit that fascinated me about his time and the way that even though he was seen to be quite brilliant race was an issue that kept rearing its ugly head. Whether he was dealing with the vices of rock and roll or just of life in general this frank and sometimes amusing view of the mind allows us to see that even in music it's not all fun and games.

Why write the book now? That was a question I wondered at first, but after I finished it I realized that it was a book that is just as a relative for us today as it might have been some decades ago. The other thing I thought was the way it allows us to reflect on what was and what has in many ways appeared again. I cam eo realize that in music as is the case in life there are really no new things under the sun.

This is a timeless read that you will enjoy and want to share.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging Book from a Musical Mastermind, October 11, 2011
This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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I have been listening to Nile Rodger's music since I was a teenager. I was particularly drawn to the album C'Est Chic. I grew up in a small town where, for some reason, our public library had a lot of great albums (including Chic) that we couldn't buy at the local store.

Rodgers goes into great and shocking detail about his life with drugs and his family and their non-ordinary life. I particularly enjoyed Nile Rodgers talking about the various musical influences and the mentors he had that allowed him to develop the Chic sound with partner Bernard Edwards. The book really captures the spirit of the New York club scene and music scene of the 1970s.

In the end, too many drugs and too many dead friends make for a sad conclusion to the book (including Rodgers being diagnosed with cancer). The book is nearly as interesting as the music it chronicles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quel Le Freak, October 11, 2011
This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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Chic was more than a one-hit wonder; however, their time in the spotlight was short--the Warholian 15-minutes of fame and not a second more--as the massive popularity of Disco led to a huge backlash. We never really got a chance to know guitarist and song writer, Nile Rodgers, or his partner, bassist Bernard Edwards, as the concept of Chic from its inception was that they would be a faceless back up band fronted by two female singers--who were somehow equally faceless and interchangeable. They were inspired, believe it or not, by KISS, and the way they hid behind their make up. Also by Roxy Music, and the way the marketing and image, for instance, using Playmates and models on their album covers, was almost as important as the music. Personally I was not a fan of Chic, and I was glad the fad of Disco died when it did, but when I heard that Nile Rodgers produced David Bowie's biggest selling album, Let's Dance, I suddenly became a lot more interested.

Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny is Nile Rodgers autobiography, and it is a fascinating read, as Nile has led a fascinating life and tells his story candidly, revealing not only the excess of life in the fast lane, but also his own deepest fears and insecurities. Like the river he was named after, Nile is deep. Though his hit songs seem simple, they are invested with Deep Hidden Meaning (DHM) by Rodgers and song writing partner Bernard Edwards. The book details his unconventional family background and upbringing, and his musical education. He could read music because he played clarinet in school, but when he switched to guitar it didn't really sound right--until an uncle showed him how to tune the darn thing. He soon became adept and was hired to play for the house band at Harlem's Apollo Theater. He could read the charts, but had to learn that they required a certain R & B feel.

He soaked up the feel of the funk, combined it with the classical and jazz he had studied, and by a bit of serendipity doo dah he described as "hippie happenstance" he arrived locked and loaded just in time for the Disco Inferno that was peaking around about 1979. The Last Days of Disco also marked the end of Chic. But a second act ensued for Rodgers as a producer and a hit maker--for other artists. Dianna Ross is one who benefitted from the Rodgers touch, and the story of how he was inspired to write "I'm Coming Out" for the diva is one of the more amusing anecdotes in the book. For me, the highlight of the book was the making of David Bowie's Let's Dance album. It was both progressive and retro, and you had to put on your red shoes and dance the blues when it began to play, under the moonlight, the serious moonlight. The inclusion of Stevie Ray Vaughn's guitar solo was brilliant. The next chapter in his career as producer was developing a new artist named Madonna. He produced her Like a Virgin album, and launched her career. Perhaps you've heard of her?

There is also a lot of ink spilled describing Nile in his off hours, and tales of debauchery in Studio 54 and other New York and Los Angeles clubs abound. Of course, all of this excess was bound to catch up with him, and Nile is unsparing in his description of the toll it took on him. A lot of other stories involve his family, who were quite a colorful clan. There are a lot of chance encounters with famous people such as Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary, and Screamin' Jay Hawkins. He met a young Michael Jackson when The Jackson Five played The Apollo, and the two bonded backstage over The Furry Freak Brothers comix.

At some points the narrative becomes a little muddled, but hey, it was the 80's, and if you remember the 80's you weren't there. One criticism I'll make is that at one point he is describing instances where he or people he knew totally blacked out and had no recollection of doing things. He numbers three incidents, but the third one is more of a tangent, and should have been labeled 2. b--or not to be. Sorry, I could not resist. The Bottom Line is that Le Freak portrays a fascinating period in musical history, and profiles one of its primary movers and shakers and his unconventional life. Quel Le Freak.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Memoir (full of DHM), November 6, 2011
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This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
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I loved this book. I'll admit to being a fan of Nile Rodgers' music-his production of Bowie's Let's Dance and Madonna's Like a Virgin. And I like rock star memoirs (Pat Benetar, Belinda Carlisle, Andy Taylor from Duran Duran) so reading was a no brainer for me.
It's the best memoir out there of what the 80's music scene was really like. Rodgers holds back little about his personal life and he does it in a modest, humble way. I was engaged from the first page to the last. Whatever ghostwriter he used knew how to frame the book because you get a sense of both the music scene at the time as well as Nile the person. He manages to show the connections in his life as well as have some juicy details (Madonna, Bowie, Kiss, plus others he worked with). That said, the juicy details are not lurid or gossipy-he shows restraint. Unlike other autobiographies, I get the feeling he's being honest with the reader and not spouting a bunch of pc bs for money. In a memoir, I want the juicy details but I also want a sense of the person and this book delivers both.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating story, June 2, 2013
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The story of nile rodgers is not one for the faint of heart. What he went through from day one and came out alive is simply amazing. To see just how widespread his influence would become on American pop music is astounding
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, May 29, 2013
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This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny (Hardcover)
After meeting NIle Rodgers this spring I had to read all about his life. Amazing story, truly amazing man. You will be in awe of his life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a journey., May 18, 2013
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I have to say IM envious of the experiences NIle Rodgers has had and the life he has led. This book is well written one of my favourite biographies very inspiring.
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Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny
Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny by Nile Rodgers (Hardcover - October 18, 2011)
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