Another one of those one-hit bands, WILD CHERRY, came out of Mingo Junction, Ohio (near Steubenville) IN 1970. Founded by Guitarist and Lead Vocalist Rob Parissi with a changing lineup of players like most small bands, Wild Cherry had a devoted fan base on a tour-loop that included The Ohio Valley, from Wheeling, WV to Pittsburgh, PA, and was working a lot, but they just didn't seem to be able to grow and expand their audience after releasing several singles that didn't get airplay, so the band broke up and Rob went to work at a Steakhouse.
It didn't take him long to miss making music, so he quit the restaurant and formed another band that was following pretty much the same pattern as the last until one night at a Black Night Club in Pittsburgh, some of the customers asked the band, "Aren't you going to play any Funky Music?" After a break returning to stage the drummer, Ron Beitle commented to Parissi, "Play some Funky Music White Boy."
It was an "AhHa" moment for Rod, who grabbed the bartenders order pad and wrote the song in about 5 minutes. Soon the group went into the Studio and recorded the song, which blew away the recording engineer, Ken Hammen, who took it to Sweet City Records distributed by Epic/CBS, and released "Play That Funky Music White Boy" immediately.
The record was an almost instant hit, spending 3 weeks at the top of the Billboard Pop Chart, and going #1 R&B at the same time, quite a feat for a group of white boys (the stations may have thought they were black). Both the single and the same title album went Platinum and Wild Cherry was named Best Pop Group Of The Year by the industry magazine.
It was the archetypal One Hit Wonder, for a year Wild Cherry basked in the light of Rock Stardom, and then it began to fade...never again would Rod and his band have a record that reached the Top 50.
Fun Fact: The name Wild Cherry came from a box of cough drops. Like so many of these ear bugs, I think as soon as you hear it, memories of that time in 1976 will come back to you... if you were alive and old enough to hear music. Thanks to the re-release of many artist's live performance videos from The Midnight Special, we can watch them back then now, with Quality Picture and Sound. Rock On! @therealdonrocks
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