Wild Cherry went from hard rock to disco in 1976

Wild Cherry, an American hard rock band, debuted this famous song in 1976 during the 70s disco craze.

This song originated from a night performing at Club 2001 in New York when an audience member shouted, “Play that funky music white boy”. The idea for Wild Cherry’s number one hit song was born and the rest is history!

At first the band was not certain about the lyrics of the song, but front man Rob Parissi assured them it would work. The band even added a disco sound, which was different to what they had previously done.

You also might have noticed that the song’s bass line and vocal styling copied “Fire” by The Ohio Players. Despite this, the song secured the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1976.

In 1990 Vanilla Ice released a cover of Wild Cherry’s song as a follow-up to his hit “Ice Ice Baby”. The covered version achieved great success; it hit no.4 in the United States but a controversial lawsuit developed since Vanilla Ice didn’t credit Parissi for using the song.

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Can you guess the song? Here is a clue:

(Hey, wait a minute)
Now first it wasn’t easy
Changin’ Rock and Roll and minds and things were getting shaky
I thought I’d have to leave it behind
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’ (no I won’t)
Of how I learned my lesson that day

Watch Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” song here:

Are you a fan of Wild Cherry? Do you like this song? Where do you remember hearing it?