The 70s music scene spawned many things that continue on today, one of which is the sound of funk. The elements of this music movement including ever moving basslines, quick horn hits and head nodding rhythms moved into popular music more and more as it hit crowds in 1970s. Amongst those trying to incorporate the parts of funk into their own sound, there were many pioneers of the movement that grew exponentially during the era. These artists helped define the sound that is easily discernible from other genres and have gone on to inspire future musicians many years later.
From Ohio this trio of actual brothers began by simply harmonizing their voices as a purely vocal outfit. Inspired by gospel music which clearly matched their vocal capabilities and also influenced by doo-wop they quickly moved from their soul roots into a funkier sound. What makes this group so unique is that they still had much variation in their songs, allowing their hits to range from the obviously funky ‘It’s Your Thing’ to bouncy yet soulful ‘Showdown’.
Kool And the Gang
With some of their biggest hits also some of the most recognisable funk tracks of the decade that really haven’t gone away. Huge hits like ‘Jungle Boogie’, ‘Get Down On It’ and of course ‘Celebration’ are still in frequent circulation today, especially since their broad party sound makes them perfect for licensing. The band that was formed in New Jersey in the 60s rose quickly to fame thanks to their catchy sounds and stage full of lively musicians. This group that has over ten members at any time really put on a great show and clearly left a mark on the sound of pop funk.
Who can forget this marvelous magician of music, the blind keyboard/piano player from Detroit who has been rocking the world with his skills for 50 years? Though many people may think of him as a pop artist, thanks to his celebrity status, Stevie’s sounds are clearly full of funk. Moving from his Motown roots into the funky 70s songs like ‘Superstition’ open with an immediate funky keyboard sound and flair. Moving into his popular world uniting track ‘Higher Ground’ has the pitch shifting and constant bubbling bass of any good funk track. This hit was recognisably covered by the Red Hot Chili Peppers who are purveyors of funk rock themselves.
I mean this one is fairly self explanatory, as funk is in their name. This bunch of talented musicians was formed by eccentric funk rocker George Clinton who was responsible for creating the equally funk heavy band Parliament. Their mix of guitar driven funk sounds moved into psychedelic rock (which is where their name was derived). With tracks that included the group vocals commonly associated with other disco style funk acts to sheer loose and wild solos and abstract sounds. The band has clearly been a huge influence on musicians ever since recently inspiring bands such as noise rockers Sleigh Bells and Hip-hop star Childish Gambino who created an entire album based on their 1971 album Maggot Brain.