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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Le Freak, C'est Chic
The music of Nile Rogers was the soundtrack to my early adult years. I knew little of the man until I discovered the blog through which he has chronicled his fight with aggressive cancer over the past year.

Beginning with the recollections of a childhood from which few would have emerged unscathed, the narrative moves to Rodgers discovery of a passion and hard...
Published on 9 Nov 2011 by T. Jones

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Thin on the main event.
Enjoyed the detail of Nile as a youngster. However I feel perhaps the marching powder took its toll on the memory as the detail or stories around the Chic good times were thin on the ground and that period was over in a flash. Just too few anecdotes to make it a rivetting read.
Published 12 months ago by Mr. Robert Wells


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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Le Freak, C'est Chic, 9 Nov 2011
By 
T. Jones (Hants, UK) - See all my reviews
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The music of Nile Rogers was the soundtrack to my early adult years. I knew little of the man until I discovered the blog through which he has chronicled his fight with aggressive cancer over the past year.

Beginning with the recollections of a childhood from which few would have emerged unscathed, the narrative moves to Rodgers discovery of a passion and hard earned ability to make music. Influenced by the jazz that had always surrounded his life, he served a musical apprenticeship on Sesame Street before meeting his collaborative partner Bernard Edwards Together their band Chic filled dance floors around the world drawing on influences as diverse as Roxy Music and Kiss.

Chic were soon victims of the abrupt demise of disco but his talent was soon in demand once again on the other side of the mixing desk. An uncanny self belief and ability to distill the essence of popular music led to his first production taking Diana Ross back to the top of the charts and at this point his story and the story of 1980s popular music become one and the same. Working with the fledgling Madonna, a struggling Bowie and his wild nights of excess at Studio 54 are all described with an honesty and openness and which make this an essential read for anyone who wants to get close to one of the most influential musicians of the modern era.

I found Le Freak a compelling read: humorous, sometime shocking, but always engaging and uplifting.

As a postscript, I have been considering why I couldn't quite give five stars when I posted the review (I would have given four and a half if I could). I then heard a radio interview with Niles where he said the original draft was twice as long but his publisher had made him edit it down - The stories in the book are so well told that I am left wondering what gems could have been included in another 150 pages. I'll save the fifth star for the extended 'Nile Rodgers Remix' edition....
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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GOOD TIMES GUARANTEED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, 10 Nov 2011
Nile Rodgers (or `Pud' to his family) is a lucky man. Not in terms of his successful musical career as a songwriter and producer, or the long list of people he's worked with, but lucky in fact that he's lived to tell the tale, and what a story it is.
From the age of seven this New York native witnessed his parents injecting themselves on a daily basis, his constant asthma attacks, plus the fact that his mother was always leaving him with another relative, as he said himself "I felt I wasn't good enough to keep".
Add to this the fact that his grandmother was raped and became pregnant as a result; the school caretaker was abusing the children around him. To be a survivor he would have to look after himself, this included skipping school and befriending a wino who'd write sick notes for him. His father had being left at the altar by his mother, turning his dad into a bum on the streets and ironically Nile would run into him, as he says "not once, but twice, 10 years apart in a city of 8 million people".
Moving back to California (so his mother could shake her drug habit), Nile would start glue sniffing, lose his virginity, while his mother would be raped.
Despite all this, it was music he wanted to pursue, and getting that first guitar for Christmas changed everything. Once his mothers' boyfriend tuned it and he could play A Day In The Life, and he never looked back. As he says himself "I strummed and a perfect G-major chord rang out......then strummed an E minor and dropped to the seventh. There are no words to accurately describe what this felt like". This is why he ran away from home at 14, with his guitar, eventually joining the Sesame Street theatrical road show (a 70s version of Glee perhaps).
Not long after his dad died, Nile turned professional. His first band was the New World Rising. He jammed with Hendrix and found the last chord (their musical nirvana), played coffee commercials and played with Screaming Jay Hawkins at the Apollo (funny story).
While working as a session musician he would meet his soul-mate Bernard Edwards, and the rest as they say is CHIC-tory. Replicating Kiss's anonymity and Roxy Music's musical diversity, and ensuring every one of their songs had that D.H.M. (deep hidden meaning) they cleverly got studio team by paying an elevator operator 10 bucks to let them in when everyone was gone home.
But it's fascinating to hear their story from New Year's Eve 1977 when they failed to gain entry to a Grace Jones party. They went home pissed off, wrote their biggest hit `Le Freak' and 12 million copies, and 30 years later the doorman would facebook Nile to apologise for not letting him in. Who's laughing now?
On the success of that, Edwards would walked into a car showroom and asked "which one of these cars goes with a brown tie" and would eventually buy two, as Nile says "unbalancing their carefully styled showroom".
There are tonnes of these stories sprinkled between the cocaine habits that almost cost him his life on many occasions. There's the time he ended up in the same Emergency room as Andy Warhol, how he saw a famous female movie star being shagged in the balcony of Studio 54, Sister Sledge asking him to change the lyrics of `He's The Greatest Dancer', how Diana Ross blamed them for trying to ruin her career, (only months before that song would top the charts), what tattoo Bowie has on his lower leg, how Duran's record company didn't like `The Reflex' or why he walked out on Madonna, and wouldn't shag her.
Bowie wanted "hits" and Nile provided them, provoking Bowie to later credit him in a speech "Nile Rodgers, the only man who could make me start a song with a chorus" (Let's Dance). While success was everywhere for him, over 100 of his friends and associated were dying and in February 1991 he would have died himself, only he accidently pushed the wrong floor number in the lift. He's certainly used up most of those nine lives, and would go on to work with Michael Jackson (who revealed to him a year in advance that his marriage to Lisa-Marie was heading for the divorce courts) long before the media had a clue of it.
Thankfully he would be there when his great friend Bernard Edwards died in a Tokyo Hotel, but Nile insists that his family sit down every year for Thanksgiving and thrash out all these stories. This year it's Nile turn to discuss his recent cancer scare, and hopefully he'll be around for many years to come. This book is a fascinating and absorbing read from start to finish. Good times.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost as good as Chic, 29 Dec 2011
By 
J. Goddard "Jim Goddard" (Shipley) - See all my reviews
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I've just finished this. As one might expect from Nile Rodgers, it's a cut above the average autobiography. He doesn't come across as very likeable during his full-on hedonist phase, to be honest. There also remains the occasional narcissism, hero-worship and self-obsession that one often gets with celebrities. However, in contrast to that, he does come across as very loveable. You can see why so many people were drawn to him. I guess that there was much left out of this account of his life, but everyone is entitled to their secrets. One still gets a sense of honesty in his persistent attempt to provide balanced reflections on what was happening. I also admired his refusal to indulge in self-pity or point-scoring.

The cultural importance of the work of Nile Rodgers and his collaborators in Chic (chiefly Bernard Edwards, of course) has been given insufficient recognition. Rodgers is aware of this but he isn't bitter or resentful to any great degree. His generosity of spirit towards others, regardless of colour or any other aspect of culture or background, is a telling indicator of why he managed to achieve so much. It is also in stark contrast to the casual racism that he and Bernard Edwards had to deal with repeatedly over several decades. That they did so with grace and humour is a testament to their decency and maturity and contrasts with the small-mindedness of many of those they dealt with. Accusations of racism are sometimes bandied about too freely these days, but Rodgers' comments about the impact of racism on Chic's achievements in the field of dance music and music more generally strike me as restrained if anything. The 'Disco Sucks' movement was just the tip of a singularly ugly iceberg.

Talk of the maturity of Nile Rodgers might seem to jar with the excesses of his lifestyle. However, given the picaresque horrors of his childhood it's a miracle he managed to handle his stellar rise as well as he did for so long. His tales of adult drink, drugs and sex strike one as neither salacious nor boastful. This isn't writing as therapy, it is writing as witness. In some respects, his obvious flaws and weaknesses make his achievements as a musician and as a person seem even more admirable.

Rodgers is not a writer, so one shouldn't expect a literary masterpiece. However, his briskly factual approach, with its lack of melodrama, make for a good read. He also has an occasionally beautiful turn of phrase that doubtless draws on decades of lyric-writing. He is a highly-intelligent, thoughtful individual. He doesn't brag or boast about this. He doesn't need to.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET LUCKY, 28 April 2013
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' Get Lucky ' :) ...& Purchase A Great Read About A True Music Legend & He's Still Influencing Music Today ' Daft Punk 'New Single Look How Big That Is .....Nile's, Showing The Kids Of Today What They've Been Missing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dig Yourself Pud, 18 Sep 2012
By 
TerraceGaz (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
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The best book I've read in ages. Just when you thought you'd heard about every blowout & excess that the Music Industry has to offer, Nile comes along with this tome & tops everything I've ever read just on the grounds of how early the debauchery started. In all seriousness I am amazed that Nile ever made it to his teens! Never mind the fact that he remained cognisant, skilled & prolific enough to arguably write, produce & perform some of the best & most memorable music of the whole disco era, but he also made many more waves beyond this period in his career as a music producer (David Bowie - Let's Dance album, Madonna - Like a Virgin album are probably the two most notable examples of his production work). Not merely a book about an amazing Musician, but more a book about an amazing life. Well worth a read simply on the strength of the mad antics of his dysfunctional family. BRILLIANT!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!, 27 Aug 2012
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At last an intelligently written disco/pop autobiography, Nile's story is compulsive reading from start to finish, I would recommend it to anyone who realises the genius of Nile and Nard's work!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars insightful, funny and fast-moving, 16 July 2012
By 
C. Dolan-betney "Kateb" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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this autobiography of such a talented musician is really funny. I had feared it would plod along, but from the first pages it dashes along, truthfully, (I think), proud and loving about his challenging upbringing, and full of jokes and joy. It's quite uplifting to read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Freak, 9 Jan 2012
This a realy good autobiography and the further you get in the book the more you realise what an amazing lfe Nile Rodgers has had .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Disco Heaven! Great Bio!!, 16 July 2014
By 
C J. Lafferty "Col" (NW England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Le Freak: An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny (Paperback)
This is a great biog of a musical legend from the late 70's / early 80's. Quite sad in places, it really sums up the high and lows of living and working in the music industry at this time. It continued to amaze me, the amount of musicians, singers, writers, and composers that Nile has worked with over the years. I would say that the start of the book is slow to start with, which details his early family life (thats why ive given it 4 and not 5 stars). But it soon kicks in to his musical journey in LA and NYC, leading to Chic, Bowie, Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and randomly - the Thompson Twins!!! Buy this book and relive your disco days - Le Freak C'est Chic!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 9 July 2014
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K. L. Pearson - See all my reviews
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Brilliant read
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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 (Paperback - 5 July 2012)
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