The Best of 1970s Soul Funk Music

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best of 1970s soul funk music? Look no further than this blog, where we’ll be sharing our favorite tracks from the era. From classic hits to obscure gems, we’ll be covering it all!


The 1970s was a musically diverse decade with a wide range of popular styles. One style that began to gain traction towards the end of the decade was soul funk. Soul funk is a fusion genre that combines elements of soul and funk. While it is similar to other genres such as disco, it has its own unique sound that sets it apart.

Some of the most iconic and influential soul funk songs were released in the 1970s. This was a decade that saw the rise of many new artists who would go on to shape the sound of popular music for years to come. In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the best soul funk songs of the 1970s.

The Birth of Funk

Funk started to gain popularity in the early 1970s. James Brown’s song “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” was one of the first popular funk songs. Other artists like Sly and the Family Stone and Parliament-Funkadelic also started to create funk music. Funk is a style of music that is based on groove and is often syncopated. The genre is known for its use of electric bass, horns, and guitar.

James Brown and the J.B.’s

The group that would come to be known as the J.B.’s was originally assembled by James Brown in late 1970, after the breakup of his backing band, the Famous Flames. The original lineup of the J.B.’s included Bootsy and Catfish Collins, Fred Wesley, Jabo Starks, and Bobby Byrd.

With the J.B.’s, Browncreated a new sound that was heavier and funkier than anything he had done before. The group’s first single, “Pass the Peas,” became a hit on the R&B charts and helped to launch the career of Bootsy Collins. The J.B.’s would go on to back Brown on some of his most famous recordings, including “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “Super Bad.”

In 1971, Brown disbanded the J.B.’s and replaced them with a new group of musicians, which included Maceo Parker and Alphonso Kellum. This lineup of the J.B.’s would record some of Brown’s most famous tracks, including “Soul Power” and “Hot Pants.”

The J.B.’s were an extremely influential band, and their sound can be heard in the music of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic collective, as well as in the work of other funk and soul artists like Sly and the Family Stone and Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel.

Sly and the Family Stone

Sly and the Family Stone was an American musical group from San Francisco. Active from 1967 to 1983, the band was pivotal in the development of soul, funk, rock, and psychedelic music. Headed by singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist Sly Stone, and featuring members such as bassist Larry Graham, guitarist Freddie Stone, saxophonist/keyboardist/singer Rose Stone, trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, and drummer Gregg Errico, the band had a diverse line-up of over 30 members during its lifetime.

The band’s music bridged the gap betweenpsychedelia and funk. Their work was most influential to African American music and culture of the 1970s. The band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.


Parliament-Funkadelic was an American band formed in the late 1960s by George Clinton as part of his Parliament-Funkadelic collective. The group developed a style that mixed soul, rock, and funk while incorporating elements of psychedelic music. They had a series of hit songs in the 1970s, including “Flash Light” and “One Nation Under a Groove”.

The band’s innovations have had a significant impact on both hip-hop and electronic dance music. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, first in 1997 as Parliament and again in 2012 as Parliament-Funkadelic.

The Golden Age of Funk

The 1970s was a golden age for soul funk music. Some of the best soul funk bands of all time were formed during this decade, including Parliament-Funkadelic, The Isley Brothers, and Kool & the Gang. These bands defined the sound of an entire genre and influenced generations of musicians.

The Ohio Players

The Ohio Players were an American funk and soul group, most popular in the 1970s. They are best known for the hit singles “Fire” and “Love Rollercoaster”. The group was formed in 1954 in Dayton, Ohio as The Ohio Untouchables, and initially consisted of singer-guitarist Robert Ward, guitarist Clarence satin, bassist Marshall Thompson, drummer Reno Williams, saxophonist Cornelius Johnson, and trombonist Julian Cannonball Adderley. The Untouchables signed with Chicago’s Vista label in 1962 and changed their name to The Ohio Players the following year.

The band’s lineup changed frequently over the next few years as members came and went. Ward was the only consistent member of the group during this time; he remained with the band until 1976. The Ohio Players reached their commercial peak in the mid-1970s with a string of hit albums and singles that included the gold albums Skin Tight (1974) and Fire (1974), and the number one singles “Fire” (1974) and “Love Rollercoaster” (1975).

The group’s popularity waned in the late 1970s as disco music became more popular; they disbanded in 1980.

Kool and the Gang

In the 1970s, Kool and the Gang was one of the most influential groups in funk music. The band’s unique blend of soul, jazz, and R&B made them a favorite among critics and fans alike. Their hits “Funky Stuff” and “Jungle Boogie” helped to define the sound of funk music and pave the way for future artists in the genre.

Kool and the Gang was founded in 1964 by brothers Ronald and Robert Bell. The group first gained notoriety with their self-titled debut album, which was released in 1969. The album’s lead single, “Funky Stuff”, became a Top 40 hit and helped to put the band on the map.

The group’s popularity continued to grow throughout the 1970s with a series of successful albums and hit singles. “Jungle Boogie”, “Hollywood Swinging”, and “Ladies’ Night” were all major hits for the band, cementing their place as one of the biggest names in funk music.

Kool and the Gang remained active throughout the 1980s and 1990s, though they failed to match their earlier commercial success. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Today, Kool and the Gang continues to tour and perform their signature brand of soulful funk music.

Earth, Wind, and Fire

Formed in Chicago in 1969, Earth, Wind & Fire is a soul and funk band that rose to prominence in the 1970s. The band is known for its Many of the band’s members came from jazz backgrounds, and their sound incorporated elements of pop, rock, R&B, and disco. The band had a string of hits in the 1970s and 1980s, including “Shining Star,” “That’s the Way of the World,” “Boogie Wonderland,” and “Let’s Groove.” Earth, Wind & Fire has won six Grammy Awards and been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The Legacy of Funk

The 1970s was the decade that Funk music truly flourished. James Brown, George Clinton, and Sly Stone were some of the most influential musicians of the time, and their innovative blend of R&B, soul, and funk created a new sound that would go on to shape the course of popular music. Funk music was all about groove and feeling, and it continues to be a favorite among music fans today.

Bootsy Collins

Bootsy Collins is an American bass player and singer who co-founded the Ohio Players in the 1960s and later joined James Brown’s band, appearing on several of Brown’s most famous recordings. In the 1970s, Collins began a solo career that helped to pioneer the funk music genre and cement his reputation as one of the greatest bassists of all time. His distinctive style – which combined elements of R&B, psychedelic rock, and disco – has influenced generations of musicians, and he continues to perform and record today.

George Clinton

George Clinton is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer. His music incorporated elements of soul, funk, and rock. He was the principal architect of the 1970s Parliament-Funkadelic collective, a group that notably extended the boundaries of African-American pop music and was noted for its outrageous stage performances and scatological humor. He has been cited as one of the foremost innovators of funk music along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 along with 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.


In the 1970s, soul music began to evolve away from the 1960s sound and style. One of the most important and influential figures in this new sound was Prince. Prince’s music was a mix of different styles, including R&B, pop, rock, and even disco. He was able to cross over into different genres and appeal to a wide range of listeners. Prince’s influence can be heard in the music of many artists today, including Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars.


The 1970s was a decade of great change for soul and funk music. Many of the genres’ biggest stars made their mark during this time, including James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, Parliament-Funkadelic, and Kool and the Gang. While disco would dominate the charts in the later part of the decade, soul and funk continued to be hugely popular with both critics and audiences alike.

If you’re a fan of soul or funk music, then there’s no better time than now to explore some of the best that the 1970s had to offer. This was a decade that saw these genres reach new heights of popularity and creativity, and it’s sure to have something that everyone can enjoy.

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