Wild Cherry

Play That Funky Music

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Sometimes a vinyl single's B-side was just an afterthought, something to fill the second side. Though in some cases, the B-side can prove to be a career-making track like it was for Tyrone Davis' million-selling "Can I Change My Mind." For Pittsburgh rock band Wild Cherry, the B-side served both purposes. Their hard rock sound was being rejected by disco-loving patrons of the 2001 club that they performed at. After one show, lead singer Robert Parissi suggested to the band that they put out a cover record of the Commodores' "I Feel Sanctified" and that the B-side be an original song. Drummer Ron Beitle quipped that song should follow the advice of the patrons' shouts of "play that funky music, white boy" (a phrase that became a part of pop culture/comedic slang). Sensing an idea for a song, Parissi quickly scribbled down the phrase on a bar order pad. Cleveland recording engineer Ken Hammond suggested that the drums and bass for "Play That Funky Music" be mixed up front, something that rock music did rarely at that time with the one notable exception being David Bowie's "Fame." Carl Maduri and Mike Belkin, owners of Epic-distributed Sweet City Records, suggested that the B-side become the A-side. Written and produced by Robert Parissi, "Play That Funky Music" sold over two million copies, topped the R&B charts for two weeks and the pop charts for three weeks in fall 1976.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Billboard Top Hits: 1976 1976
Various Artists
Rhino 3:18
No Image 1976 Epic 5:01
Sounds of the Seventies: 1976 1989
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:17
No Image 1990
Original Soundtrack
Epic 0:00
Son of Super Bad 1991
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:12
In Yo' Face!: The History of Funk, Vol. 3 1993
Various Artists
Rhino 3:17
Blame It on the Boogie 1994
Various Artists
3:10
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Phantom
Only Rock 'N Roll 1975-1979: 20 Pop Hits 1995
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels
Old School, Vol. 4 1995
Various Artists
Thump Records 4:57
Party On 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:58
Billboard Top Hits: 1975-1979 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:18
Nightfever 1995
Various Artists
Global TV
Club Epic, Vol. 4 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 5:20
Overpowered by Funk 1996
Various Artists
Renaissance Records 3:12
Rock On 1976: Summer 1996
Various Artists
Madacy 4:59
Mega Hits, Vol. 3: Disco Heat 1996
Various Artists
Priority Records
Disco Mix 96 1996
Various Artists
WEA International
Old School, Vols. 1-5 1996
Various Artists
Thump Records 5:00
25 Years of Number 1 Hits, Vol. 4 1996
Various Artists
Connoisseur
DJ Disco Mix 1997
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution 4:56
VH1 8-Track Flashback: The One-Hit Wonders 1997
Various Artists
Rhino 3:17
Whole Lotta Rock: 1976-1977 1997
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 4:58
Pure Disco, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
Polydor / Polygram 3:17
No Image 1997
Various Artists
BCI-Eclipse Distribution / Eclipse Music Group 4:57
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:17
Disco Super Hits 1998
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 4:59
DJ Mix: 25 Years of Dance 1998
Various Artists
Simitar Distribution
Original Party Music 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:16
Sports Rock & Jams, Vol. 3 1998
Various Artists
Cold Front Records / K-Tel Distribution 3:16
Millennium Party: Funk 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:16
Tales of the City 1998
Original Soundtrack
Polygram 3:09
Funk Jam! 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 3:17
Greatest Sports Rock and Jams [Box] 1998
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:16
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 4:57
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Metacom 3:17
DJ Don's Party Mix: Dance Party 1999
Various Artists
Power Records (Fitness / Dance) 3:20
Disco Box 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:16
Disco Mania, Vol. 1-3 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 5:00
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 5:00
Instant Party Disc: Extra Strength 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
Best of the Best: 70's Pop & Rock, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Primary Colors 3:16
That '70s Show Presents That '70s Album: Jammin' 1999
Various Artists
Volcano Records 3:17
Millennium Party [Rhino Box] 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:16
Pop Music: The Modern Era 1976-1999 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:11
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:11
Soul Train: The Dance Years 1976 1999
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Rhino
Whatever It Takes [Original Soundtrack] 2000
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 4:58
Platinum R&B Party 2000
Various Artists
Legacy Rock Artifacts Series / Sony Music Distribution 3:10
Keeping the Faith 2000
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 1:02
New Millennium Party 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 3:16
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Experience Music Project
Play the Funk 2000 Sony Music Distribution 4:59
Disco Freakout 2001
Various Artists
WEA International 2:46
Boston Celtics: Celtic Pride 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 4:55
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City Sports Records / Alphabet City 4:57
New Jersey Nets: Jersey Style 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City 4:53
Sacramento Kings: Kings of the Court 2001
Various Artists
Alphabet City 4:55
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:16
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:15
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 4:59
Mega Disco Funk 2001
Various Artists
Wagram Records 2:55
One Hit Wonders: Hard Two Get Hits [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
One Hit 3:10
Roadblock 2001
Various Artists
Import 3:03
A Year in Your Life: 1976, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 4:59
I Love Disco [EMI] 2002
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 3:06
Solid Gold Funk 2002
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 4:59
Super Hits 2002 Legacy / Columbia 5:03
No Image 2002
Various Artists
Medalist Entertainment 3:18
Soul Hits of the '70s [Sony Box Set] 2002
Various Artists
Immediate 5:02
Top Hits of the Seventies: Chart Toppers 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 4:59
Soul: Play That Funky Music 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 5:01
Greatest Songs of the 70's [Sony] 2003
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 4:59
Disco for Dummies 2003
Various Artists
Superb Records 4:58
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Ex Works
Gone but Not Forgotten [2004 Import} 2004
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd. 3:11
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed: The Album 2004
Various Artists
Warner Bros. 3:16
Funk Explosion 2004
Various Artists
Koch 4:58
Oldies But Goodies: 13 of the Best 70's Funk 2004
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 5:01
Old School Soul Party 2005
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / TJL 4:57
The Pop Years: The 70s 2010
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 3:10
Jackie: The Party Album 2010
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 3:10
Ministry of Sound Anthems: Disco 2010
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 3:11
Las 50 Grandes Canciones de Universal 92.1 FM Stereo 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:09
Pure... 70s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:05
Pure... Drive 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:04
100 Hits: The Best Disco Album 2018
Various Artists
100 Hits 3:04
100 Hits: Pop Essentials
Various Artists
DMG TV 3:12
100 Hits: The Best Seventies Album
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 3:11
70s U.S. Playlist
Various Artists
Crimson 3:12
No Image
Various Artists
EMI / Mixed Repertoire 3:08
Old School Gold Box Set
Various Artists
Thump Records 4:57