The Top 8 Artists in Funk Music History

8. Prince

Known as one of the most unique musical artists of all time, Prince has used his eclectic talents to change how people perceive music. His “Minneapolis sound” pioneered a new wave of funk music that infused electronic, rock, and new wave sounds with traditional funk.

7. Curtis Mayfield

Mayfield was a pioneer of soul music, influencing what would later become funk. After releasing a few hit songs with his group The Impressions, Curtis went on to create the soundtrack for the movie Super Fly which further catapulted his solo career.

6. Earth, Wind & Fire

Earth, Wind & Fire have been a powerhouse in funk music since the early seventies and they are still going strong today. The group is the first African-American act to ever sell out Madison Square Garden and can still be seen performing today.

5. Sly & The Family Stone

Led by multi-talented Sly Stone, Sly & The Family Stone helped bring funk music into the mainstream. With songs like “Stand!” and “Everybody Is A Star”, Sly and his band changed the face of African American music forever.

4. Rick James

“The King of Punk Funk” will always be remembered for delivering time spanning hits such as “Give It To Me Baby” and of course “Super Freak”. Unfortunately for James, with success came legal and medical issues. Rick eventually died of pulmonary and cardiac failure most likely caused by an abundance of drug abuse over the years.

3. Stevie Wonder

Known as one of the greatest musicians of all time, Stevie provided us all with music spanning more genres than funk alone. His song “Superstition” however is one of the most enduring funk songs of all time. Even in his old age, he is still playing to sell out crowds in places likeĀ Madison Square Garden.

2. Kool & the Gang

Kool & The Gang are known worldwide and have sold over 70 million copies of their various works. One of the group’s most well known songs is “Jungle Boogie”. This song is instantly recognizable from sports arenas to movies. After almost 50 years, the Gang is still touring and performing music to this day.

1. James Brown

James has appropriately been nicknamed the “Godfather of Soul” for good reason. Originally rising to fame as a member of The Famous Flames, Brown went on to create some of the most iconic songs in the history of funk music. Some of his biggest hits include “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)”.