Monday, 29 August 2011

Play that funky music white boy Play that funky music right Play that funky music white boy Lay down that boogie and play that funky music till you die…

Quick Hit

“Play that Funky Music” by Wild Cherry (1976)

They used to be called “Wild Cherry” flavoured, but now if you check the box of cherry Vicks cough drops they just say “Cherry”. When they were called “Wild Cherry”, Rob Parissi (lead singer, guitar) was recovering from a hospital stay and thought the name on the box sounded like a good name for his new band. From Steubenville, Ohio, the band originally played straight up rock music and produced a few fairly unknown albums.

Parissi’s shot at recording in the early seventies did not go too far and he found himself disillusioned, working as a manager of a steak house. He decided to give it one more shot.

He formed an entirely new band which soon attracted a devout following in Pittsburgh. Disco was on the rise and when a table full of black fans kept coming to the stage and teasing: "Are you white boys gonna play some funky music?", they finally obliged.

Supposedly written on a bartenders order pad in 5 minutes it was not intended to be an ‘A’ side single. Due to the enlightened encouragement of studio engineer Ken Hamann, Epic records put it out on the “A’ side.

In 1976, “Play That Funky Music” went to number one, as did the album “Wild Cherry”. Sadly, any follow-up they did quickly fell into obscurity. The fans of music can be fickle ...go figure.

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