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Funk Used to Be a Bad Word

1 hour
First broadcast:
Saturday 22 December 2012

From the 1960s through to the present day, funk music reverberates through popular culture. Whether it's in fashion, street language, TV, the movies or pop music, the far reaching influence of funk is everywhere. In this three-part series American actress Pam Grier takes listeners on an historic funk odyssey. She's been a fan of the music since she starred in the so-called Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s. Back then, funk was not only the soundtrack to her films but also to a vital time in American history. It was a time of self discovery, struggle and social change. The music reflected all of that.

In this first part, Pam goes back to the source, when funk - in the words of George Clinton - "used to be a bad word." Pam reveals how jazz and the R&B music of the 50s informed the rhythms and energy of funk music. As well as the all important architects of the sound like James Brown and Sly Stone, the programme also shines a spotlight on some of the unsung heroes such as Charles Wright and the Last Poets.

The series features contributions from Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & the Gang, Sly & the Family Stone, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, P-Funk musicians, Average White Band, Cameo, Clyde "Funky Drummer" Stubblefield, Charles Wright, The Last Poets, Beverley Knight, Matt Fink, Acid Jazz's Eddie Piller and rapper Shock G.

Music Played

2 items


Frank Wilson
James Hale


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