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Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 2



1.
Whats Going On Marvin Gaye Album CoverWhat’s Going On and Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) by Marvin Gaye: The title track of Gaye’s groundbreaking and timeless sociopolitical protest album What's Going On, released by Motown Records in 1971, was a huge hit on all accounts – creatively, critically and commercially (Pop No. 2 , Soul/R&B No. 1), as was the LP itself, reaching No. 6 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Second single, Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), was also a Soul/R&B Chart-Topper and climbed to No. 4 on Billboard’s Pop Chart. In 2002 the song won a “Grammy Hall of Fame Award". In 2003 the album was ranked No. 6 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time", and in 2004 the album's title track, What's Going On, was ranked No. 4 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs Of All Time”. The singles are also available on The Very Best Of Marvin Gaye.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

2.
Superfly Album Cover Curtis MayfieldFreddie’s Dead and Superfly by Curtis Mayfield: Freddie’s Dead was the first single to be released from Soul/Funk musician Curtis Mayfield’s 1972 soundtrack for the Blaxploitation movie Superfly. The single peaked at No. 4 on the Pop Chart and No. 2 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Superfly, the title track, was another million-selling single (Soul/R&B No. 5 and Pop No. 8). Critically lauded and commercially extremely successful, the Superfly album topped both the Soul/R&B and Pop Charts and is one of only a few soundtracks to ever out-gross its accompanying movie. These singles are also available on The Very Best Of Curtis Mayfield.





[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

3.
All Directions Album Cover The TemptationsPapa Was A Rollin’ Stone by The Temptations: Originally a minor hit for The Undisputed Truth in 1971, written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, The Temptations recorded their stellar 12-minute version in 1972, produced by Whitfield. This time around Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone topped the Pop Chart and peaked at No. 5 on the Soul/R&B Chart, and won three Grammy Awards, most notably for “Best R’n’B Song” and “Best R’n’B Performance By a Group”. The song was featured on 1972’s All Directions album, which reached No. 2 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone is also available on The Definitive Collection.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

4.
rockin chair album cover gwen mccrae90% Of Me Is You and Rockin’ Chair by Gwenn McCrae: American Soul/R&B singer Gwenn McCrae scored a No. 1 hit single with Rockin’ Chair on the Soul/R&B Chart in March, 1975, and made it all the way to No. 9 on the Pop Chart. Her debut album, also titled Rockin’ Chair, was released that same year and also included the single strongest recording of her career, the sleek and sultry 90 % Of Me Is You, an impressive showcase for her impeccable vocal skills. She used to be the wife of George McRae, who had a huge hit with Rock Your Baby in 1974. 90 % Of Me Is You is also available on the compilation The Best Of Gwenn McCrae.





[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

5.
Shaft Album Cover Isaac HayesTheme From Shaft and Do Your Thing by Isaac Hayes: The most famous Blaxploitation movie soundtrack, other than Curtis Mayfield’s Superfly, is Isaac Hayes’ soundtrack for Shaft. Released as a double album in 1971, it became a huge critical and commercial success, peaking at No. 1 on both the Pop Chart and the Soul/R&B Chart. The single Theme From Shaft also topped the Pop Chart, while reaching No. 2 on the Soul/R&B Chart. The near-20 minutes long album track Do Your Thing was edited down to an approximately 3:20 minutes single version, which also entered Billboard’s Top 40 Singles Chart (peaking at No. 30). Isaac Hayes was awarded an “Academy Award for Best Original Song”, and two Grammy Awards for “Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical”, and “Best Instrumental Arrangement”, respectively. The Theme From Shaft and Do Your Thing is also available on the 2-CD compilation Ultimate Isaac Hayes: Can You Dig It?



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

6.
Killing Me Softly With His Song Album Cover Roberta FlackKilling Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack: Roberta Flack is a classy, elegant Soul/R&B singer, smooth and sophisticated, as well as a very skillful pianist (at age 15 she was awarded a full music scholarship, but later changed major from Piano to Voice). Released in 1973, Killing Me Softly With His Song reached No. 2 on the Soul/R&B Chart and spent a total of five non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Pop Chart. And the song’s success didn’t stop there, as it also won all of three Grammy Awards for “Record of the Year”, “Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Female Performer”, and “Song of the Year”. In 1999 Roberta Flack's version of Killing Me Softly With His Song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. (In 1996 Hip Hop/R&B trio The Fugees reached Pop No. 2 and Soul/R&B No. 1 with their own version titled Killing Me Softly). Killing Me Softly With His Song is available on Roberta Flack's classic album Killing Me Softly (Pop No. 3 and R&B No. 2 ) and the hits collection The Very Best Of Roberta Flack.   



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

7.
Lets Stay Together Album Cover Al GreemLet’s Stay Together by Al Green: Undisputedly one of the all-time greatest Soul classics, Al Green co-wrote and recorded his signature song Let’s Stay Together with legendary Producer Willie Mitchell. Released as a single in 1971, it topped the Pop Chart for sixteen weeks and the Soul/R&B Chart for nine weeks. Recorded at Royal Recording Studio in Memphis, the 1972 album Let’s Stay Together reached No. 8 on the Pop Chart and was the first of six Al Green albums to peak at No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Quite a feat. Let's Stay Together is also available on the classic Al Green compilation Greatest Hits.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

8.
All and All Album Cover Earth Wind and Fire3Fantasy and Love’s Holiday by Earth, Wind & Fire: Written and composed by Maurice White, his brother Verdine White, and Eddie del Barrio, over a period of three months, Fantasy was released as a single in 1978, peaking at No. 32 on the Pop Chart and No. 12 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Fantasy received a well-deserved Grammy Award nomination that same year for “Best R’n’B Song”. It remains a hugely popular song, as evidenced by its release as a digital single in Japan in 2009, which by May 2011 had resulted in 100.000 downloads (certified Gold). Love’s Holiday wasn’t a hit single, but it’s a fan favorite, and deservedly so. Both songs are featured on Earth, Wind & Fire’s ninth album All ‘N’ All, released in 1977. Reaching No. 3 on the Pop Chart and No. 1 on the Soul/R&B Chart, it became the best-selling Soul/R&B album of 1978, and has since then been certified triple Platinum for sales of three million copies in the United States alone. 



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

9.
Innervisions Album Cover stevie wonderHigher Ground and Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder: Higher Ground is a Funk song written by Stevie Wonder in a three-hour burst of creativity. When released as a single, it peaked at No. 4 on the Pop Chart and topped the Soul/R&B Chart. As a side-note, the album version of the song (to be found on 1973’s Innervisions) is 30 seconds longer than the single release, since it contains an extra verse. Another hit single from the album was Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing, which reached No. 16 on the Pop Chart and No. 2 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Considered to be one of the landmark albums of Stevie Wonder’s “classic period”, Innervisions was his sixteenth album release, topping the Soul/R&B Chart and reaching No. 4 on the Pop Chart.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

10.
Rose Royce II In Full Bloom Album CoverWishing On A Star and Do Your Dance (Part 1) by Rose Royce: In 1977, Soul/Funk band Rose Royce released their second album, produced by ex-Motown super-producer Norman Whitfield, responsible for successful recordings by such artists as The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Gladys Knight & The Pips. The album titled Rose Royce II: In Full Bloom was released that same year, topping the Soul/R&B Chart and reaching No. 9 on the Pop Chart. The first single off the LP was Do Your Dance (Part 1), which reached No. 39 on the Pop Chart and peaked at No. 4 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Second single Ooh Boy became a hit, too, but it was nowhere nearly as strong as third single Wishing On A Star (Soul/R&B No. 52, Pop No. 101). By far the greatest song on the album, it was -- inexplicably -- only a minor hit in the U.S., though it did peak at No. 3 in the U.K. Today it’s considered a timeless classic, and rightly so.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

11.
Chic Debut Album CoverDance, Dance, Dance and Everybody Dance by Chic: Released in 1977, Dance, Dance, Dance was Chic’s first hit single, reaching No. 6 on both the Pop Chart and the Soul/R&B Chart. Their second hit single was Everybody Dance, which peaked at No. 38 on the Pop Chart, but climbed all the way to No. 12 on the Soul/R&B Chart. Dance, Dance, Dance and Everybody Dance feature '80s Soul/R&B star Luther Vandross on backing vocals (he was working as a session singer at the time) and can be found on Chic’s debut album Chic, which reached very respectable positions on both the Pop Chart and the Soul/R&B Chart (No. 27 and No. 12, respectively) and was certified Gold by the RIAA, selling more than 500.000 copies. Available on the 2-CD compilation The Definitive Groove Collection.



[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]

12.
Stretchin Out In Bootsys Rubber BandI’d Rather Be With You by Bootsy Collins/Bootsy’s Rubber Band: William Earl “Bootsy” Collins is an iconic, much-respected and sought-after Funk and R&B bassist, whose unique, inspired and clever chord progressions were put to great use as a band member of James Brown’s backing band from 1969-1971, and innovative, P-Funk mastermind George Clinton’s Funkadelic and Parliament. Acknowledging Bootsy Collins’ immense talent as a musician and songwriter, George Clinton suggested that he form his own band, and in 1976 Bootsy’s Rubber Band released the album Stretchin’ Out In Bootsy’s Rubber Band. The single I’d Rather Be With You reached No. 25 on the Soul/R&B Chart and has been heavily sampled by numerous artists, including Rap band N.W.A, and Soul/R&B singers Adina Howard and Beyonce. In 1997, Bootsy Collins was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with fifteen other band members of Parliament and Funkadelic.

 

[Purchase from Amazon or iTunes]


For more classic '70s Soul, R&B, and Funk, also read:

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 1

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Fun, Vol. 3 

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Fun, Vol. 4

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Fun, Vol. 5

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 6

Classic 1970s Soul, R&B, and Funk, Vol. 7

Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Tuesday, March 26, 2013
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