Play That Funky Music

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"Play That Funky Music"
Single by Wild Cherry
from the album Wild Cherry
B-side"The Lady Wants Your Money"
Released1976
Format7"
Recorded1975
GenreFunk rock[1]
Length5:00 (Album Version)
3:12 (Single Version)
LabelEpic
Writer(s)Robert Parissi
Certification2× Platinum (RIAA)
Wild Cherry singles chronology
"Voodoo Doll/Because Your Love Is Mine"
(1975)
"Play That Funky Music"
(1976)
"I Feel Sanctified"
(1976)
 
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"Play That Funky Music"
Single by Wild Cherry
from the album Wild Cherry
B-side"The Lady Wants Your Money"
Released1976
Format7"
Recorded1975
GenreFunk rock[1]
Length5:00 (Album Version)
3:12 (Single Version)
LabelEpic
Writer(s)Robert Parissi
Certification2× Platinum (RIAA)
Wild Cherry singles chronology
"Voodoo Doll/Because Your Love Is Mine"
(1975)
"Play That Funky Music"
(1976)
"I Feel Sanctified"
(1976)

"Play That Funky Music" is a funk rock song written by Rob Parissi and recorded by the band Wild Cherry. The performers on the classic recording included the members of the band at the time: lead singer Parissi, guitarist Bryan Bassett, bassist Allen Wentz, and drummer Ron Beitle, with session horn players Chuck Berginc, Jack Brndiar, Joe Eckert, and Rick Singer hired to play the horn riff that runs throughout the track's verses. The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 18, 1976 and was also number one on the Hot R&B Singles chart.[2] The single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of over 2 million records, eventually selling 2.5 million in the United States alone.[3]

History and description[edit]

The autobiographical song was inspired by the times. The song's title (and chorus) came from drummer Ron Beitle's observation during a break between sets at the 2001 Club in Pittsburgh. The group performed mostly hard rock, but disco was popular, and some of the group's loyal followers were asking for more dance songs. While taking a break between sets, Beitle uttered, "play some funky music, white boy". Parissi decided they should, and he wrote down the phrase on a bar order pad. They later recorded it in Cleveland with a funk sound.

Originally, it was planned that the song should be released on the B-side of Wild Cherry's cover of the Commodores' "I Feel Sanctified"; however, when the owners of Sweet City Records heard the song, they suggested that the B-side become the A-side. (Epic Records picked up the record for worldwide distribution.) The song sold over two and a half million copies in the US alone and was Wild Cherry's only hit.

The song listed at #73 on Billboard's Greatest Songs of All Time.[4]

Parissi said he often wrote songs in a similar style as a song he'd pick out from each new week of the Top 40. After writing songs in this manner for some time, one of the songs he wrote was Play That Funky Music". The song that served as inspiration for the hit was "Fire" by Ohio Players, which features a similar bass line and rhythm guitar part.[citation needed]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1976)Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report)[5]5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[6]6
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[7]8
Canada (RPM Top Singles)[8]2
Germany (Media Control AG)[9]42
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10]4
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[11]4
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[12]4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13]7
US Billboard Hot 100[14]1
US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play[14]12
US Billboard Hot R&B Singles[14][2]1

Certifications[edit]

RegionCertificationSales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[15]Gold75,000^
United States (RIAA)[16]Platinum2,500,000[3]

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Vanilla Ice version[edit]

"Play That Funky Music"
Single by Vanilla Ice
from the album To the Extreme
B-sideIce Ice Baby
ReleasedApril 25, 1990
GenrePop Rap
CertificationGold (RIAA)
Vanilla Ice singles chronology
"Satisfaction"
(1989)
"Play That Funky Music"
(1990)
"Ice Ice Baby"
(1990)

Vanilla Ice later released a song featuring an interpretation of "Play That Funky Music". Songwriter Robert Parissi was not credited. Parissi was later awarded $500,000 in a copyright infringement lawsuit.[citation needed]

Although it did not initially catch on, its B-side, "Ice Ice Baby", gained more success when a disc jockey played that track instead of the single's A-side.[17]

Following the success of "Ice Ice Baby", "Play That Funky Music" was reissued as its own single (with new lyrics), and peaked at #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and #10 in the UK.[18]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1990-1991)Peak
Position
Australia (ARIA)[19]13
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[20]19
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[21]16
Belgium (VRT Top 30 Flanders)[22]10
Canada (RPM 10 Dance)[23]4
Canada (RPM 100 Hit Tracks)[24]13
Germany (Media Control AG)[25]19
Ireland (IRMA)[26]4
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[27]14
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[28]12
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[29]7
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[30]14
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[18]10
US Billboard Hot 100[31]4
US Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales[31]42
US Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles[31]22
US Billboard Hot Rap Singles[31]7
End of year chart (1991)Position
US Billboard Hot 100[32]57

Other cover versions[edit]

There is an edited version of "Play That Funky Music" without "white boy" that was released for radio airplay around the Boston area, as the original version was briefly banned in that area upon its original release. Instead of "white boy," the words, "yeah, funky music" were substituted. That version is now a collector's item.[35]

Taylor Hicks sang "Play That Funky Music" on American Idol a week before he won. On March 31, 2009, Adam Lambert sang this song on American Idol.

Usage in other media[edit]

This song has been used in the films Evolution (2001), The New Guy (2002) and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004).[36] A rap version is played in the film Malibu's Most Wanted (2003), while an instrumental version of the song is played on bagpipes by Matt Stifler in the direct-to-video movie, American Pie: Band Camp (2005).

The song appears in the video games Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero (as a playable track), Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 (a cover version), Don King Presents: Prizefighter and Shaun White Snowboarding.

In the sitcom Friends, Phoebe, who wants Ross to play his own compositions on his keyboard, encourages him by saying, "Play that funky music, white boy!". The song appeared in "Patch Boomhauer", an episode of the animated TV series King of the Hill. The song is also heard in a Season 3 episode of the US TV sitcom The Office.

Robin Williams has used the song title, delivered in a Lawrence Welk impression, as a one-liner.

Intel used the song as part of a 1997 television advertising campaign for their Pentium MMX line of processors.

The International Game Technology (IGT) manufactured a video slot machine called "Super Cherry" which features the song during a bonus round in the game.

Duracell used the song during a 1999 television commercial for their batteries. The character's car has a mechanical breakdown and is stranded on the side of the road. Installing batteries into his cell phone, he calls a tow truck company for assistance. The music on hold is Play That Funky Music and the character dances to the music in the middle of the road. As the caller on the phone returns, the character asks to be put back on hold (to listen to more of the song).

On an episode of The Oblongs, Bob Oblong sings the tune "Play that funky music, white boy. 'Till you die!"

In the last episode of Home Improvement (Backstage Pass), there is a montage of the Taylor family dancing to "Play That Funky Music."

On the third season of NBC's show The Voice, Coach Cee Lo Green sang Play That Funky Music along with contestant Nicholas David Mrozinski.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Instrumentalist, ed. (1996). The Instrumentalist, Vol. 50, N° 7 à 12. p. 64.  "Play That Funky Music by Robert Parissi, arranged by Chris McDonald. (...) This is a nice dance tune in a funk/rock beat that calls for some careful work with keys, ranges, and rhythms."
  2. ^ a b Joel Whitburn (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 623. 
  3. ^ a b Paul Grein (August 26, 1978). "Billboard Vol. 90, No. 34". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.). Retrieved June 8, 2012. 
  4. ^ Elisabeth Parker. "Wild Cherry's Rob Parissi evolves from 'funky music' to smooth jazz". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ bulion. "Forum - ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts - Chart Positions Pre 1989 Part 4". ARIA. Australian-charts.com. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Ultratop.be – Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  7. ^ "Play That Funky Music - WILD CHERRY". VRT (in Dutch). Top30-2.radio2.be. Retrieved July 29, 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 8
  8. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 25, No. 25, September 18 1976". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music". Charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Wild Cherry - Play That Funky Music search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  12. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  13. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "Wild Cherry awards at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music". Music Canada. 
  16. ^ "American single certifications – Wild Cherry – Play That Funky Music". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  17. ^ Gary Westfahl (2000). "Legends of the Fall: Behind the Music". Science Fiction, Children's Literature, and Popular Culture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 100. ISBN 0-313-30847-0. 
  18. ^ a b "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  19. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  20. ^ "Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music – Austriancharts.at" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  22. ^ "Play That Funky Music - VANILLA ICE". VRT (in Dutch). Top30-2.radio2.be. Retrieved July 29, 2013.  Hoogste notering in de top 30 : 10
  23. ^ "Dance/Urban - Volume 53, No. 13, March 02 1991". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  24. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 53, No. 13, March 02 1991". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Vanilla Ice - Play That Funky Music". Charts.de. Media Control. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  26. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". IRMA. Retrieved July 29, 2013.  Only one result when searching "Play that funky music"
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Vanilla Ice - Play That Funky Music search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  29. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  30. ^ "Vanilla Ice – Play That Funky Music – swisscharts.com". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  31. ^ a b c d "To the Extreme awards at Allmusic". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Billboard. The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  33. ^ "PopJazz: Information from Answers.com". Answers.com. Answers Corporation. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  34. ^ "Warren Hill's - Popjazz". HBH. Smooth-jazz.de. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  35. ^ Craig Allen (October 13, 2012). "Meet Wild Cherry [PHOTOS, VIDEOS]". New Jersey 101.5. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  36. ^ "Le nouveau (2002) - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
Preceded by
"(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" by KC & the Sunshine Band
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
September 18, 1976 – October 2, 1976
Succeeded by
"A Fifth of Beethoven" by Walter Murphy and the Big Apple Band
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
September 4, 1976 – September 11, 1976
Succeeded by
"(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty" by KC & the Sunshine Band