70’s and 80’s Funk Music: The Best of Both Decades

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 both decades when it comes to funk music? Then check out our list of the top 70’s and 80’s funk tracks! From classics like Parliament’s “Flash Light” to lesser known gems like The Bar-Kays “Sexomatic”, there’s something here for everyone.


The 1970s and 1980s were both decades that saw the rise of funk music. While the 1970s is often considered the golden age of funk, the 1980s saw the genre evolve and change in interesting ways. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best funk music from both decades.

From classic tracks like James Brown’s “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” to innovative and experimental tracks like Parliament’s “Flash Light”, funk has always been a genre that is impossible to pigeonhole. In the 1970s, funk was at its height, with artists like George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and Sly Stone pushing the boundaries of what was possible with the genre. The 1980s saw funk continue to evolve, with artists like Prince and Rick James helping to bring it into the mainstream.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best funk music from both the 1970s and 1980s.

What is Funk Music?

Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-1960s. It is a style of R&B that is characterized by a repetitive, syncopated bass line and often includes elements of soul, jazz, and rock. Funk songs are often danceable and have a distinct groove.

The term “funk” was first used to describe this type of music in 1967 bylesbian singer-songwriter Betty Davis. She said funk was “a way of life, a way of being…it’s just total freedom.” Funk ensembles typically have horns and keyboards, as well as a rhythm section consisting of bass, drums, and guitar.

Funk began to emerge as a distinct genre in the early 1970s with bands like Parliament-Funkadelic and Sly & The Family Stone. Funk music reached its commercial peak in the late 1970s with artists like George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, and James Brown. In the 1980s, Prince helped to bring funk back to the mainstream with hits like “Kiss” and “Purple Rain.”

Today, funk continues to be popular with artists like Bruno Mars, Mark Ronson, and Justin Timberlake incorporating elements of the genre into their own unique sound.

The Best Funk Songs of the 70’s

The decade of the 1970s was one of the most innovative and influential periods in funk music history. With the advent of new technology and the rise of new genres, funk artists were able to experiment with different sounds and create some of the most timeless songs in music history. Here are 10 of the best funk songs of the 70s.

1. “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder
2. “I Want You Back” by The Jackson 5
3. “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” by James Brown
4. “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” by James Brown
5. “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)” by Parliament
6. “Flash Light” by Parliament
7. “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Funkadelic
8. “One Nation Under a Groove” by Funkadelic
9. “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now” by McFadden & Whitehead
10. “I’ll Be There for You/You’re All I Need to Get By” by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

The Best Funk Songs of the 80’s

The 1980’s was a great decade for funk music. Some of the best funk songs of all time were released during this time, including classics by Prince, Rick James, and Parliament-Funkadelic.

Here are our picks for the 10 best funk songs of the 1980’s:

1. “Super Freak” by Rick James
2. “Kiss” by Prince
3. “Atomic Dog” by Parliament-Funkadelic
4. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” by Prince
5. “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)” by Parliament-Funkadelic
6. “Flash Light” by Parliament-Funkadelic
7. “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc.
8. “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” by James Brown
9. “Beat It” by Michael Jackson
10. “(Not Just) Knee Deep” by Funkadelic


In conclusion, funk music from the 70’s and 80’s is some of the best music ever created. The beats are catchy, the bass lines are groovy, and the horn sections are year. If you’re looking for a musical style that is both unique and timeless, then look no further than funk.

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