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The Top 10 Best Funk Songs Ever, For Now

Best Funk Songs Ever

Funk. Huh?

In a funk, smelling funky, funky haircut, funky shoes, funkadelic… oh yeah!

Now we’re talking.

Funk is the music made famous by artists such as, Parliament-Funkadelic, James Brown, and The Meters.

The heart of funk music is the rhythm section, electric bass and drums.

On top of that, the electric guitar and keyboard (often B3, Clavinet, and Fender Rhodes) must remain in the pocket, as musicians like to say, adding to the overall groove.

These songs, spanning several decades, will lead you to a better understanding of what the funk the fuss is all about.

One Nation Under a Groove

One Nation Under a Groove - Funkadelic

Artist: Funkadelic
Song: One Nation Under A Groove
Album: One Nation Under A Groove

Everything Funkadelic released sounds like a party I’d never want to leave.

Released in 1978, One Nation Under a Groove has all the elements that define funk music.

Pocket, repetition, groove, a happy danceable hook of a chorus, and lyrics that have become part of the funk lexicon with phrases like ‘Feets don’t Fail Me now” and “One Nation under a groove, getting down just for the Funk of it.”

It’s true funkiness comes from the 8th note bass line, scratch guitar and steady handclaps on 2 & 4.

Listen to it here.

Pass The Peas

Food For Thought - The JB's

Artist: The JB’s
Song: Pass The Peas
Album: Food For Thought

Maceo Parker, still alive and funking away, was the original alto saxophone player for James Brown and The Playboys. He still plays this tune in concerts that last up to 3 hours.

There’s a great swing feel to this tune, as there is in much of James Brown’s music.

The lyrics are more about groove and rhyme than following any real narrative.

Pass the peas, the cheese
Pass the peas like we used to say it
Pass the peas like we used to say it
Pass the peas like we used to say it
Come on now!

Listen to it here.

Just Kissed My Baby

Just Kissed My Baby - The Meters

Artist: The Meters
Song: Just Kissed My Baby
Album: Rejuvenation

The New Orleans musical institution that is The Meters released this original funk classic in 1974.

Sparse arrangements, tight rhythmic syncopation, and a shout chorus-style B section are considered necessary listening for any aspiring funk aficionado.

Featuring electric guitar, drums, clavinet, brass/reeds, and B3 organ, this old school style recording swings like nobody’s business.

It’s a great example of the use of space, restraint and arrangement, with a loping, swinging drum beat, sparse driving bass line and greasy vocals by the band’s founder, Art Neville, of The Neville Brothers fame.

“I feel like a king, cuz I just kissed my baby.“

We hear you Mr Neville.

Listen to it here.

Thank You

Thank You - Sly & The Family Stone

Artist: Sly & The Family Stone
Song: Thank You
Album: Greatest Hits

Sly & The Family Stone was another one of those collective, eclectic ensembles that embodied the very word funk.

They mixed psychedelia, rock, soul, and R&B into several huge hit songs, including Family Affair, (If you want me to) Stay, and Everyday People.

In 1993, Sly and The Family Stone were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

In 2010, Rolling Stone included them in their presitigious 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

Listen to it here.

Jungle Boogie

Jungle Boogie - Kool and The Gang

Artist: Kool And The Gang
Song: Jungle Boogie
Album: Wild and Peaceful

Could the band that brought the world Cel-E-Brate-Good-Times- C’mon! also have released the infectious Jungle Boogie?

Believe it, Kool and The Gang were as much a funk band as a dance music machine that scored hits with Celebration and Get Down on It.

Jungle Boogie , with its signature horn section roar, gets down and dirty.

Listen to it here.

Give Up The Funk(Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)

Give Up The Funk - Parliament

Artist: Parliament
Song: Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
Album: Mothership Connection

Parliament is to funk what Bob Marley is to reggae.

From Parliament’s 1975 release, Mothership Connection, Give Up The Funk contains many themes.

Listen to it here.

Love Rollercoaster

Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Players

Artist: Ohio Players
Song: Love Rollercoaster
Album: Honey

The years of glam costumes, afros and high heeled boots.

The Ohio Players were a huge part of that scene and Love Rollercoaster from 1975 has endured as a classic funk/pop hit.

In 1996, the Red Hot Chili Peppers covered Love Rollercoaster for a Beavis and Butthead movie, reintroducing it to a new generation of listeners.

Listen to it here.

Brick House

Brick House - Commodores

Artist: Commodores
Song: Brick House
Album: Commodores

The Commodores were a band in the style of EWF, Kool & The Gang, and others that straddled the line between pop/disco and a deeper, greasier style of music.

Brick House emerged out of an in-studio jam session and ended up charting as high as No. 4 on the Billboard charts.

Sex is not far from any good funk song. This ones about a lady who’s frame is ahem, solid.

It’s got a Fender Rhodes electric piano, bass, drums, electric guitar, and a horn section.

Listen to it here.

Pick Up The Pieces

Pick Up The Pieces - Average White Band

Artist: Average White Band
Song: Pick Up The Pieces
Album: AWB

The Average White Band ruled the airwaves with this instrumental song from 1974 through 1975.

Featuring great saxophone sectional and solo playing, the record company didn’t want to release it as it had no lyrics.

While it failed to chart in the U.K, it reached No. 4 on Billboard’s Soul charts, was a number 1 hit on the U.S. singles chart, and even made it to the Disco charts.

Listen to it here.

Sex Machine

Sex Machine - James Brown

Artist: James Brown
Song: Sex Machine
Album: Sex Machine

The Godfather of Soul, as he was known, brought the funk into every move he made.

Choosing just one James Brown recording is impossible.

Sex Machine still reigns as perhaps the best known, funkiest single ever recorded.

A JB show was an unforgettable experience with a crack unit of musicians, including the funkiest drummer, bass player, and all the rest.

The sparseness of the recordings made for great sampling material. JB is one of the most sampled artists of all time, by hip-hop and MCs worldwide.

Listen to it here.

There are so many other influential funk artists that deserve mention here: Bootsy Collins, The Brothers Johnson, Prince, Chaka Khan, Cameo, George Clinton, and Tower Of Power. Check them out and leave me your thoughts below!