August 1978: Chic Releases "C'est Chic"

Chic perform on stage in London, October 1979. Left to right: Luci Martin, Bernard Edwards, Nile Rodgers and Alfa Anderson. (Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns)
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(Gus Stewart/Redferns)

Nile Rodgers and the band Chic arrived like gangbusters with their self-titled 1977 debut album. Packed with dance-floor hits, the record sent tracks like "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" and "Everybody Dance" up a variety of charts, including pop, R&B and club play. The New York band was just as successful in England. The one achievement Chic was unable to hit with that first album, however, was a #1 song on the Hot 100. That would all change just one year later with the group's second studio effort, C'est Chic.

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C'est Chic hit American record stores on August 11, 1978. The album's lead single, "Le Freak," followed a month later, but the writing was on the wall. Dance DJs were already spinning the monster hit, which twirled up the charts until landing #1 on the Hot 100 for the week of December 9, 1978. Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond grabbed the top spot on the following week's chart, but "Le Freak" was not done. Chic reclaimed #1 for the week of December 23, 1978, and the week after that, making it the last #1 song of 1978.

It was the Bee Gees, however, who'd score the first #1 song of 1979 with "Too Much Heaven," which held onto the spot for the first two weeks of January 1979. Chic stormed back to #1 for the week of January 20, 1979, for another three weeks as the most popular song in America. The song's epic run was finally ended in February 1979 by Rod Stewart's "Da Ya Think I'm Sexy." The record was so big that despite being released in 1978, it would rank as the third biggest song of 1979.

The song was famously inspired by Nile Rodgers and his Chic bandmate, Bernard Edwards, being denied entry to Studio 54 for the big New Year's Eve 1977, per Grace Jones' invitation. Being Grace Jones, she promptly forget to tell the doormen about the invite, and the pair were turned away. That's when they sent straight to their practice space and wrote the furious jam, with the words "F-ck You" being the title. They wisely changed the track's name to "Le Freak."

Chic followed "Le Freak" with the second and final single from C'est Chic, "I Want Your Love." The sweeping and symphonic dance track was another big hit, peaking at #7 for the week of May 5, 1979.

C'est Chic did brisk business as a whole, with the album clearly being a popular gift for the 1978 holiday season. The record peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 for the week of December 23, 1978. The #1 album in America that week: Billy Joel's 52nd Street.

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