From the TOP!
During the 1970s this fun and futuristic music changed the streets of America with its outrageous fashion, unique vision and streetwise slang. Funk was a celebration of being black, providing a platform for a new lifestyle that was able to unite the black community. Funk was born from the influence of many genres such jazz, R&B, soul, and African grooves. Over the decades it has even influenced the genre of hip-hop. But despite its multiple points of origin, funk is often traced back to the work of one man…James Brown.
The Godfather of Funk!
James Brown had a successful career as a soul singer in the early 1950s, with hits like ‘Think’. His creative style and focus on live performance led to his development of what we know as funk in the mid to late 1960s. Brown would make his band play sections of songs over and over again until they mastered the rhythm or beat he had in his head. Funk put emphasis on the first beat and this can be heard in many of Brown’s songs. Cold Sweat’ is often cited as the first original funk song, with its one-chord, bass and drum-focused instrumental. This song is also known as the turning point of James Brown as the “Godfather of Soul” to the “Godfather of Funk”.
Other Faces of Funk
Groovin' with the FACTS!
- James Brown started off as a R&B singer in the 1950s.
- James Brown became The Godfather of Funk in 1967 with the release of “Cold Sweat”.
- Funk is all about the base, drums, and horns.
- There is more emphasis on the base and drum locking in funk music.
- Funk stresses the first beat and is known as “the rhythm of the one”.
- Groove was more important in funk rather than the middle part or vocals in other genres.
- The groove of funk changed when Fly and the Family Stone came to be with songs such as “Dance to the Music”.
- Fly and The Family Stone were a band where everybody contributed, no one person lead everything. Everybody contributed their own part.
- Slap base is a sound most associated with Funk, created by Larry Graham (a member of Sly and the Family Stone”).
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