34. Rick James – Super Freak

She’s a very kinky girl, the kind you don’t take home to Mother.

In early 80s Australia, the most popular music show was Countdown on ABC 2, hosted by Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum. Countdown often had great Aussie music and a deep love for Madonna, but it felt like Molly would often play bands to whom he had some connection in order to promote his own interests. In other words, it felt like a small-market show.

Also in the 80s, Channel 10 imported Solid Gold. Being American it had a bigger budget and access to more international artists. The music was for the most part awful (REO Speedwagon! Woo!) but the big attraction were the Solid Gold Dance team. These girls were muscular, fit and athletic and they danced to funkier beats than the whiny English music that usually played on my stereo. I wanted a Solid Gold Dancer for myself. So I watched the show a fair bit, and one day I caught Rick James’s Super Freak. He talked about how Punk was from the white ghettoes of England and his music was from the black ghettoes, so it was Punk Funk.

Look at Rick James – dreds, glitter, shoulder pads, pimp moustache and a waistcoat that has been attacked by a Bedazzler. He’s got a troupe of dancers. This is about as far from early 80s Cure as you could get.


A few years ago Jean and I went up to Vancouver to see a rugby game between Canada and an ‘England A’ team. It was a death-defying trip up I-5 in a rickety old coach full of the Seattle men’s and women’s rugby teams and driven by a pensioner on speed. At one point the drunk boys on the bus were singing John Denver songs like Leaving on a Jet Plane and the dude sitting behind me, Seattle’s sole black player, wanted to sing something with funk so the two of us stood in the aisle of the rocking bus and sang Super Freak. Good times.

A year later Falco released his hit song Der Kommissar and stole the line from Superfreak. The best outcome of this is a mix of the two made by a guy called Matt pop: Der Superfreak Kommissar.

In Australia, the kids TV show Hi-5 had a song about “funky, punky music” but I don’t think Super Freak was what they had in mind. I can’t find the actual song, but here’s a different one so you can get the idea. Then again, after watching this maybe super freak fits after all.

Rick James’s ‘hits’ album:

rick james

Next: 33. Foo Fighters – The Pretender

Previous: 35. U.N.K.L.E. – Chemistry


5 Responses to “34. Rick James – Super Freak”

  1. 1 mistyd
    July 28, 2009 at 18:26

    So weird. I JUST watched the American Hi-5ers this morning with my kids and they just sang the exact scuttley crab song.

    and I very much rick james, bitch. After that Dave Chapelle bit I can’t say his name with out saying bitch after.

  2. July 28, 2009 at 18:49

    I’m biased, but the Aussie one is the original and best. But if you check out the comments on that Hi-5 page you’ll see the perverts really like Charli.

    I had to check out the I’m Rick James, bitch stuff, I hadn’t seen it before.

  3. 3 Jean Curtis
    July 29, 2009 at 00:05

    I remember the round of SuperFreak on the bus was superb. Also the smell of the full and sloshy toilet in the back as the beer began to send all the boys back. I held it as long as I could.

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