About The Band
The band Wild Cherry was formed by Rob Parissi in 1970 in Steubenvielle, Ohio. Wild Cherry was the name of the cough drops that Rob was taking while he recovered in hospital and this is how the band got its name.
In the early days the band played pure rock music and went through numerous lineup changes, even breaking up before reforming with new personnel in tow.
While gigging around Pitsburgh audience members would frequently ask them to play some disco music which was becoming more and more popular at the time.
During one gig, some black fans around a a table enquired repeatedly, "Are you white boys gonna play some funky music?" Not long after this incident on a night between sets the group's drummer Ron Beitle uttered the words, "Play that funky music white boy."
This consequently inspired Rob to pen the future hit, which he wrote in 5 minutes. On release it proved to become a huge hit topping both the Billboard pop charts and R&B charts in 1976. The song remained at the top of the charts for 3 weeks. The group's eponymous debut album "Wild Cherry" from which the single was drawn also went platinum.
These feats garnered much praise and they were awarded titles such as Top R&B single at the American Music Awards, and were Grammy nominees for Best New Vocal Group and Best R&B Performance by a group for that year.
Sadly this would prove to be the apex of a relatively short recording career as their follow-up album Electrified Funk flopped. Their 2nd and 3rd albums did not manage to chart any Top 20 singles, while by the time their fourth album "Only The Wild Survive" was released the dust was already settling and a Top 100 single was beyond them.
In this period following their 1st album, their highest reaching single was "Baby Don't You Know" which reached a chart position of 43 in 1977.
They were as the phrase goes a 1 hit wonder and although they did manage to come up with some good songs after their big hit, they were never able to match their frontrunner "Play That Funky Music" in terms of chart success.
Ultimately following their demise the group split in 1979 to go their separate ways. Today if you were ever to go to Carolina and visit a beach music or carolina shag club, you might hear their soul single "1 2 3 Kind Of Love" which is a beach music staple having featured in anthologies on the beach music rubric.
Or if you walked into any music shop and picked up a funk or disco compilation CD then the chances are wildly good that your eyes will scan across those words that will forever be attached to Wild Cherry "Play That Funky Music." Walk into any 70's themed night and I dare you to bet against hearing the song at some point during the night.
This was a band that could play some really good funk/ rock music but found it hard to live up to the intitial success that came their way.