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Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco, and Destiny Hardcover – October 18, 2011
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A Letter from Author Nile Rodgers: The Reason I Wrote Le Freak
I started writing Le Freak to answer some questions I had about my life. Not the big existential ones, just the facts. I’d asked my mother a question about our early years and her answer would ignite another spark of curiosity rather than provide closure. In no time at all we were off and running like a couple of dog-track greyhounds. The more I wanted to know the more she wanted to tell-- like it was some sort of absolution ritual. Mom didn’t need to apologize for anything--nor did I--we’d already done that countless times throughout the years. When I started interviewing doctors, institutional historians, family members, and friends I noticed there was a real pattern to this process of rediscovery. Everybody wanted to contribute. My inquiries reminded them that we were all a part of an amazing period in American history. My early childhood was fascinating in the fifties; my teens were quasi-suicidal in the sixties; young adulthood was sexy in the seventies, and the edginess of the eighties lasted into the mid-nineties. Then that edgy life caught up with me. I only turned away from it when it finally threatened to take away my world’s most precious gift--music. This isn’t literally a book about music--maybe writing about music really is like dancing about architecture, as the old saying goes. But if music takes the jumble of life--the love and loss, the excitement and pain--and neatly arranges it into notes and chords and verses and choruses that somehow capture it all, then what I’ve done is a little reverse engineering by recovering all the stuff that got packed into those records, a story that trails around the world and back to a newborn leaving his teenaged mother’s arms on Welfare Island in 1952. So in a way this is a book about music because music is about, well, everything, isn’t it?
“[An] amazing memoir . . . steeped in the incestuous energy of the times: Punk, funk and art rock mixed it up in the downtown clubs, where musicians partied together and shared ideas. . . . Le Freak has plenty of sex and drugs. But it’s the music that makes it essential. . . . Rodgers gave those dreams a beat—and helped invent pop as we know it today.”—Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone
“This book is an absolute knockout: exhilarating, warm, and courageous, deeply moving and deeply funny. Le Freak is as much about the greatness of life as it is about Nile Rodgers’s extraordinary musical journey. As Rodgers well knows, the best music is the stuff we feel, the stuff that speaks to us and won’t let go. Le Freak does all that and much more. This is truly one of the best books ever written about art, music, life, and the way we grow to be exactly who we are. Actually, one of the best books period.”—Cameron Crowe
“A coming-of-age tale every bit as impressive as the musical insights and star-time chronicles that follow.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Consistently entertaining . . . His legacy as a funk-rock visionary is assured, and his autobiography serves as further proof that disco does not suck.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“An unforgettable, gripping book.”—The Sunday Times (UK)
“Name a star and you can bet they’re in this book, playing or partying with Rodgers. But far from being a succession of name-dropping anecdotes, this autobiography is a wonderfully funny, moving and wise reflection upon the important things in life: the people you love and the things you create.”—The Sunday Telegraph (UK)
“Rodgers’s page-turning memoir is packed with emotionally charged vignettes of a tumultuous childhood and equally dramatic adulthood that found him awash in cash, cars, and celebrities. . . . His storytelling skills propel the reader through the book, making the ending all the more jarring. Remarkable for its candor, this rags-to-riches story is on the year’s shortlist of celebrity memoirs.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
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Nile Rodgers life's tale is full of exciting things going on and surreal encounters with music legends, and this, combined with fluid and honest writing, makes this book a page turner. From a chance encounter with Tim Leary, Diana Ross watching from the wings, David Bowie alone in a bar, Michael Jackson making confessions, and Madonna, well, being Madonna... you can't wait to see what will happen next.
His story of almost dying several times due to drug abuse, and finally overcoming addiction successfully and permanently is truly inspiring. The absurd coincidence of being saved by hitting the wrong elevator button seems to me as no coincidence at all... as a Spiritist, I'm pretty sure his friends on the "other side" helped him avoid prematurely ending his present life. But since this does not come for free, I guess they already knew that besides bringing joy to the world through music, he would still do charity work, as it indeed turned out to be.
This book will delight every music lover. Guaranteed.
Throughout the book, Nile never forgets his roots, nor is he bitter when describing disappointment or when accolades eluded him. Nile is thoughtful and honest about his life and the people who meant so much to him. It's as though you're hearing the true story of an old friend for the first time.
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Highly recommend great book
Not something worth reading 100 times - but the very first is enough to...Read more