Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry

September 19, 2021

With an unmistakably groovy opening guitar riff, today’s song is the hit tune “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry.

Fun Facts:

  • It was recorded when rock clubs were losing ground, and disco clubs were becoming all the rage. Bands were looking for ways to blend the heavy sounds of rock with the upbeat dance music in clubs.
  • Wild Cherry band founder Rob Parissi wrote the song on the fly after a club owner told the band they needed to add dance songs to their setlist.
  • Parissi said the lyrics were a bit tongue in cheek, adding some humor to the song and referring to an incident where the band’s drummer was told to “play that funky music white boy.”
  • Parissi wrote the song right then, and it has since become one of the greatest hybrid rock-disco songs of all time.
  • While some found the “white boy” lyric somewhat controversial, Parissi knew he had struck gold and stuck to his guns.
  • “Play That Funky Music” made the Top 10 on the Billboard music charts in 1976.
  • Wild Cherry won an American Music Award and garnered two Grammy nominations. The band also appeared on the Grammy awards show.
  • Parissi still finds humor about a rock band conquering the charts with a disco song.
  • He said in an interview that even though it’s been over 40 years since the song went gold, that he is “still white.”

Lyrics:

(AZ Lyrics)

Hey, do it now

Hey, once I was a boogie singer

Playin’ in a rock-and-roll band

I never had no problems

Burnin’ down the one-night stands

And everything around me

Got to start to feelin’ so low

And I decided quickly

Yes, I did

To disco down and check out the show

Yeah they were dancin’ and singin’

And movin’ to the groovin’

And just when it hit me

Somebody turned around and shouted

“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 ’til you die.”

‘Til you die?

I tried to understand this

I thought that they were out of their minds

How could I be so foolish

To not see I was the one behind

So still I kept on fighting

Well, losing every step by the way

… we can do

I said, I must go back there

I got to go back

And check to see if things still the same

When they were dancin’ and singin’

And movin’ to the groovin’

And just when it hit me

Somebody turned around and shouted

“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 ’til you die.”

‘Til you die?

Oh, ’til you die

Gonna play some electrified funky music

Hey, wait a minute

Now first it wasn’t easy

Changing rock-and-rolling minds

And things were gettin’ shaky

I thought I’d have to leave it behind

Oh, but now it’s so much better (it’s so much better)

I’m funking out in every way

But I’ll never lose that feelin’ (you know, I won’t)

Of how I learned my lesson that day

When they were dancin’ and singin’

And movin’ to the groovin’

And just when it hit me

Somebody turned around and shouted

“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 ’til you die.”

‘Til you die?

Oh, ’til you die

They shouted

“Play that funky music

Play that funky music

Play that funky music

You got to keep on playin’ funky music

Play that funky music

Play that funky music

Play that funky music

Gonna take you high and low.”

“Play that funky music, white boy

Play that funky music right

Play that funky music, white boy

Play that funky music right

Play that funky music, white boy

Play that funky music right

Play that funky music, white boy

Play that funky music right.”

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