Funk music is easily recognized by its distinct musical style of repetitive beats and driving bass lines, with clear roots in jazz, blues, gospel and soul music. By the late 70′s, funk had its tentacles in just about every genre. The funk infusion with the worlds of rock, jazz, soul, and motown had given us progressive rock, jazz-funk, fusion, acid jazz and disco, and would eventually find itself firmly responsible for a large amount of hip-hop and electronica
Going back to the 1960s, in amongst all the rock and folk -oriented popular music of the time, there was an artist who arrived on the music scene who would be held widely responsible for this explosion. A man who changed the face of music forever, the Godfather Of Soul, James Brown.
James Brown was one of the first artists to use funk as a main distinguishing feature of his sound. The result has been not only an astonishing career and many great recordings, but also the funk legacy that grew with him, a genre that would eventually visit places that Brown himself could not even have imagined.
So where did he get the idea? What are the origins of funk music?
The Rock’n'Roll hall of fame claims that “James Brown and others” credit Little Richard’s 1950′s road band to be the first to inject funk into the rock’n'roll sound. Praise indeed, or so it seems, but where did funk originate? Specifics seem difficult to track down.
The first known appearance of the word “funk” in a formally-written piece of music was Buddy Bolden’s “Funky Butt” in 1907 but before that it was already a word of encouragement, shouted to bands by enthusiastic audiences in African American clubs.
So… here it is… my first ever “quest of the moment” on the RMF is The Search For Funk.
Who were these “African American” bands playing underground funk to exclusive club audiences pre-Little Richard?
When was the first time someone laid ears on what we now know as funk?
Post your answers and opinions on our forums.
Tags: bootsy collins, father of funk, funk, george clinton, godfather of soul, james brown, jazz, jazz-funk, little richard, origins of funk, origins of funk music, where did funk originate, who started funk music