Wild Cherry : Play That Funky Music
Love it or hate it, Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music" is one of 1976's most memorable songs and, for people of a certain age, a sure way to fill the dance floor. A rock band playing clubs in the disco era, Wild Cherry kept getting requests for funky music. People wanted to dance. A former manager of several Bonanza steakhouses, songwriter Robert Parissi knew how to give the customers what they wanted and the result is a single that topped the US charts for three weeks.
Parliament : Do That Stuff
1976 was a break out year for George Clinton and everyone associated with him, including Parliament, Funkadelic, and Bootsy's Rubber Band. On the verge of an arena tour, complete with a UFO stage set, Parliament released its follow-up to Mothership Connection . The Clones of Dr Funkenstein may not be as wild a trip as the cover suggests but this is a band at its peak. Horn-heavy thanks to great arrangements by Fred Wesley.
Funkadelic : Let's Take It to the People
Westbound Records released Tales of Kidd Funkadelic on September 21, 1976 after the band had left for Warner Brothers. Tales is a collection of outtakes so there's no coherent space funk storyline to follow here but there's plenty of funk, highlighted by "Let's Take It To The People", which was sampled by De La Soul for their Low End Theory song "Everything is Fair". Hardcore Jollies is a month away.
Earth Wind and Fire : On Your Face
Coming off of a massive Summer tour, Earth Wind and Fire released Spirit in September of 1976. Producer/Writer/ Arranger Charles Stepney died of a heart attack during the sessions which feature more slow songs than most Earth Wind and Fire albums. The album peaked at #2 on the US album charts and paved the way for my favorite of their albums, 1977's All 'N All.
Detroit's Dramatics worked with a variety of producers on Joy Ride, a R and B #11 hit, thanks in part to the strangely titled disco cut "Finger Fever".