I’ve written countless times on this blog that the 1980’s were a decade of transition of R&B. Funk went through the transition from being performed by self-contained bands full of horns, guitars, and keyboards to become synthesized. This transition wasn’t always met with success, but one thing remained: a funky groove. Be it boogie, remnants of disco, hard funk, sophisticated funk or some mish-mash of them all, the funk remained.
This post is a continuation of the previous Funky Friday post that celebrated funky songs from the 1980’s. Some of these are well-known to many; others are only known to R&B/Dance music diehards. Many of them were popular from 1980-1983, though a few were released later in the decade. This list got a bit long because I got carried away. Before I knew it, I had twenty (yes 20!) songs on the list. And I couldn’t bear to part with any of them.
The playlist is below if any of the videos don’t work on the site.
The song listing for 80’s Funk, Vol. 2:
- “Risin’ To The Top” by Keni Burke
- “Outstanding” by The Gap Band
- “Take Your Heart Away” by Kleeer
- “Just An Illusion” by Imagination
- “Turn The Music Up” by Lakeside
- “You Are The One” by AM-FM
- “Body Moves” by Rare Essence
- “Let’s Do It” by Convertion
- “I’m In Love” by Evelyn “Champagne” King
- “Thighs High – Grip Your Hips And Move” by Tom Browne
- “Act Like You Know” by Fat Larry’s Band
- “Dance Wit Me” by Rick James
- “Searching To Find The One” by Unlimited Touch
- “On The Beat” by The B.B. & Q. Band
- “The Very Best In You” by Change
- “Show Me The Way” by Skyy
- “What’s Missing” by Alexander O’Neal
- “Encore” by Cheryl Lynn
- “Doo Wa Ditty – Blow That Thing” by Zapp
- “I Like” by Guy
I think this list covers just about every style of funk that existed during the decade. By the end, R&B had begun turning into New Jack Swing, which emphasized hip-hop beats and grooves in the music. The example of that in this list is the closing track by Guy. Teddy Riley was one of (some say the main) architect of the sound, and this was his group.
I even managed to find a go-go record from the group Rare Essence. I had forgotten about “Body Moves” until I heard it the other day. The song was one of their first releases from way back in the day. The group (with various personnel changes) is still going strong today and released a new album last year. They also play live dates around the Washington, DC area.
A couple of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis productions made the cut. “Encore” by Cheryl Lynn I’ve written about before on the blog, but Alexander O’Neal’s “What’s Missing” is new here. O’Neal was reportedly the original lead singer of The Time, but Prince cut him out of the band and replaced him with Morris Day. Jam and Lewis never forgot O’Neal, and a few years after they left the group and became hit record producers, they managed to craft a few hit songs for their former bandmate.
Enjoy these 80’s classics; these are some more of my favorites from the decade. Have a great Friday! Thanks for reading and listening.