Thursday, February 6, 2014

"Super Freak" by Rick James

Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  0706
Date:  08/08/1981
Debut:  74
Peak:  16
Weeks:  24
Genre:  R&B, Funk

Pop Bits:  James' LP "Street Songs" got off to a great start with his second Top 40 song (#1 R&B) "Give It to Me Baby" (#40). This second single would do even better reaching the Top 20 (oddly, only #3 R&B) and eventually it would become his signature song. Although the original 45 single would not even go gold back then, the song has been so popular over the years that it has been certified as selling over 500,000 digital downloads. The song would also get James a Grammy nomination for Best Male Rock Vocalist while "Street Songs" would get him a Grammy nom for Best R&B Vocals.

ReduxReview:  For pop radio, I think both they sexy lyrics and the R&B funk kind of limited airplay on this one. Pop radio was still resistant to a lot of R&B (and rap wasn't even present there yet) so this song should have done a lot better than its #16 peak. It's a real classic and all it takes is the four opening notes for anyone to recognize this song. It's awesome for me is the best thing James ever did.


Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) He calls them out in the song, but in case you haven't paid attention, The Temptations sing backup on this song. A member of the group, Melvin Franklin, is James' uncle.  2) The song was famously sampled in the MC Hammer hit "U Can't Touch This" (#8, 1990). This was back when sampling was becoming more prominent in dance and rap recordings and there were no clear laws on credits for the samples. Since this song was a mega hit and obviously used the "Super Freak" opening riff (without credit or consent), Rick James sued. The case was settled and James received writing credit on the track, which was a huge payoff since the MC Hammer LP "Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em" eventually sold over 18 million copies.


No comments:

Post a Comment