TGIFive Spot: Five Great Funk Songs About the Weekend
It’s the weekend, something that music has provided the soundtrack for in many of our favorite weekends, over the course of many of our lives.
But this time we wanted to focus on songs by musical acts specifically referring to the magic those weekends can bring.
While rather than rap and rock, we switch it upclude punk and funk.
If you haven’t already read the PUNK incarnation, click here.
Johnny Kemp-Just Got Paid
This was the official set-the-weekend-off anthem in 1988, and it still works just as well three decades years later. For what seemed like all of ’88, it was inescapable on the radio in Philly, with customized station-name versions of the lyric after “radio rocking” on both Power 99 (the R&B station) and Eagle 106 (the pop station). Superproducer Teddy Riley, founder of Guy and later Blackstreet, was in an absolute zone at the time, while laying out the blueprint for a high-BPM new R&B/Funk/Hip-Hop-infused sound called “New Jack Swing”. “Just Got Paid”, which came just two months after he laced Keith Sweat’s “I Want Her”, and six months before he blessed us with Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative”, was one of the landmark cuts that helped convert the masses to this new sound.
The song sadly outlasted Johnny Kemp himself, who slipped on some rocks in Jamaica in the spring of 2015, hit his head, then was found drowned in Montego Bay shortly before boarding the annual Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage charity cruise, where he was scheduled to perform, booked almost entirely off the power and legacy of this song. Kemp may be gone, as is a time where his hairstyle would be in style, however the sentiment and sound of this jam, will outlive us all.
Rick James-Mary Jane
We’ll cop to cheating a bit here, since nothing about the weekend is mentioned in Rick’s song. However, due to the above scene, it is now indelibly linked, to one of the greatest weekend-celebrating weed-movies of all time, the classic first Friday. You can watch these two minutes from the flick to see exactly why despite being released in 1977, they chose to use it twenty years later, as well as why Chris Tucker (in his film-starring debut) went on to become one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood on Rush Hour 2 ten years later, despite revealing last Friday on The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz that he made just $10,000 for what’s still his greatest performance, as Smokey in Friday.
As for our admitted coloring-outside-of-the-categorical-lines by inserting Rick here, let’s be real: if we managed to make this double-shot Five Spot of TGIF Funk + Punk, without including a selection from The King of Punk-Funk?!? We’d only be cheating ourselves.
Debbie Deb-Lookout Weekend
Speaking of Fridays, as well as The Dan LeBatard Show, you can hear this song closing out “the club” weekly wrap-up montage, as the last segment of every Friday afternoon before the weekend begins. With good reason. Miami native Debbie Deb’s quirky, angular “freestyle” funk on this song and her other biggest hit, “When I Hear Music”, still sounds so fresh, in part because it pretty much anticipates the EDM sounds still thumping around the world today.
Cherrele featuring Alexander O’Neal-Saturday Love
What better way to move from Friday into Saturday, than with this classic? Which followers of The Wudder on Spotify, heard in its extended 12-inch form on our tribute to another pair of super-producers/writers/musicians, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, following their epic Red Bull Music Academy symposium two months back.
Cherrelle & Alexander O'Neal, like a mid-80’s, R&B, Minneapolis-sound/synthesized-funk version of the late great Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, never made a bad song together, with Jam & Lewis at the controls. Still "Saturday Love" is on the shortest of lists, for being both the best cut in this category, as well as in each of their respective, underrated careers.
Released in the Fall of 1985, inexplicably stalling at #26 on the Billboard Pop Charts (#2 R&B, #6 U.K. Pop), we still can’t get over this gem, nor will we ever be able to get over the sweater that Alex is rocking in this accompanying video.
Chaka Khan-Any Old Sunday
Once we get to the Sunday portion of the weekend, or in other words, the conclusion of this double-shot weekend of The Five Spot, it’s about time to smooth it out a bit. Don’t get me wrong, this song is still funky as hell, in its own groove-based way. It's those fantastic horns, percussion perfectly in the pocket, at least after Chaka tosses eye shade at the 27-second mark, in this live performance at The Roxy in L.A. That’s before we even get to her brother Mark Stevens’ part, in that stellar back-up vocal arrangement, and then of course Chaka Khan herself.
If Chaka MuthaFUNKing Khan isn’t in your Top 5 Female vocalists of all-time?!?!
You better recheck those equations, you're off a few decimals.
This one might not have had the angelic lilting grace of “Sweet Thing”, the insistent driving rhythm of “Ain’t Nobody”, or the futuristic-funk-banger of Chaka doing Prince’s “I Feel for You”. Still, it seems to find a cozy middle ground between all those places, as Chaka’s vocal seeps into your soul. On a lazy Sunday around the house, this will do. For your listening pleasure while you’re doing your chores, “Any Old Sunday” is a lock to leave you beaming, as you’re cleaning.