Hit Parade

Give Up the Funk Edition

In the ’70s, funk tore the roof off the charts, and taught a generation what it meant to get on the One.


Episode Notes

In the ’70s, funk was pop—the cutting edge of Black music and the way listeners got their groove on, before disco and hip-hop. After James Brown taught a generation a new way to hear rhythm, and George Clinton tore the roof off with his P-Funk axis, nothing would be the same.

Rising alongside blaxploitation at the movies, funk took many forms: Curtis Mayfield’s superfly storytelling. War’s low-riding grooves. Kool & the Gang’s jungle boogie. Earth, Wind and Fire’s jazzy crescendos. But when funk began fusing with rock and disco took over the charts, would these acts have to give up the funk?

Join Chris Molanphy as he traces the history of funk’s first big decade. You’ll ride the mighty, mighty love rollercoaster and get down just for the funk of it.

Podcast production by Kevin Bendis.

A promotional note for listeners in South Carolina! On Thursday, October 20, at 6:30 p.m., Chris will be making a live appearance at the Richland Public Library, sponsored by the University of South Carolina’s School of Information and Communications. It’s free and open to the public. Chris’s talk will be about “Pop Culture, Music, and South Carolina,” and his discussion of a certain Palmetto State musician may make it into a future Hit Parade episode. More details here.


About the Show

Chris Molanphy, a pop-chart analyst and author of Slate’s “Why Is This Song No. 1?” series, tells tales from a half-century of chart history. Through storytelling, trivia, and song snippets, Chris dissects how that song you love—or hate—dominated the airwaves, made its way to the top of the charts, and shaped your memories forever.

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  • Chris Molanphy is a feature writer and critic who writes widely about music and the pop charts.