Wild Cherry

Only the Wild Survive

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Fair or unfair, everything Wild Cherry recorded in the late 1970s was destined to be compared to "Play That Funky Music." Ideally, Cherry would have come out with a second smash single that was totally different but equally successful. That never happened, though, and one could say that while "Play That Funky Music" had millions of admirers, Cherry itself had only a small following. Only the Wild Survive was Cherry's fourth album and it would also be their last. Like I Love My Music before it, Only the Wild Survive is a decent but uneven and unremarkable soul/pop/rock LP that lacked the really strong single that Cherry desperately needed. The Pittsburgh outfit tries a variety of things, and the results are enjoyable on tunes that range from the ballsy "Hold on to Your Hiney" (which has a Rare Earth-meets-the Commodores sort of appeal) and the Motown-flavored "Take Me Back" to the dramatic, pop-minded "Starlight." But in 1979, decent wasn't enough to save Wild Cherry. Only the Wild Survive was ignored by both pop and R&B radio; the only people who bought the long out-of-print LP were Cherry's small group of diehard fans. At that point, Cherry's breakup seemed inevitable.

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