Super Freak (Part 1) – Rick James | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#16) & R&B (#3); 1981

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

In Super Freak Rick James brought together all the different sounds that he’d assimilated over the years, from rock to classic soul to funk. Surprisingly, neither Rick nor his band thought Super Freak was singles material, so Give It To Me Baby was released first.

Give It To Me spent five weeks on top, then Super Freak stayed five at #2. Their one-two punch reignited Rick’s career, which had stalled after his banner year of 1978 when he reached #1 and #3 R&B with Mary Jane.

Super Freak also put the temptin’ Temptations – who contributed vocal harmonies – back in the spotlight. At Grammy time, Super Freak brought Rick a nomination for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.

Now it was the Temptations‘ turn. With Rick James as a featured guest, the Motown stalwarts reached the R&B Top 10 for the first time in seven years in 1982 with Standing On The Top – Part 1.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Rick James

Lyrics Written by:

  • Rick James
  • Alonzo Miller


  • “Super Freak” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1982
  • “Super Freak” was certified Platinum in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America