The Story of a Song: “Play That Funky Music”

The founder of the band Wild Cherry and the creator of the iconic song “Play that Funky Music,” Rob Parissi, joins Tim to do an anatomy of a funky song. That funky song, which has been named one of the top 100-performing songs of all time. Rob tells stories and gives a hint why new generations are embracing it even today.

The song is one of the best known of the disco era by one of the best-known bands of the disco era. But while so many other songs have faded along with the entire genre of disco music, this song continues to endure.

The song Play that Funky Music continues to find new fans decades after it was written.

Rob Parissi, one of the founders of the band Wild Cherry, and who wrote many of the band’s songs, tells us what it was like at the peak of the disco era and what it was like to write that one disco song that has stood the test of time.

Please Thank Our Sponsors

Please remember to thank our sponsors, without whom the Shaping Opinion podcast would not exist.  If you have the need, please support these organizations that have the same taste in podcasts that you do:


About this Episode’s Guest Rob Parissi

Robert “Rob” Parissi is an American singer, songwriter and guitarist, perhaps best known as frontman for the American funk group Wild Cherry, best known for their 1976 Parissi-penned chart-topper “Play That Funky Music”. He was born in 1950 and raised in the steel mill town of Mingo Junction, Ohio. He graduated from Mingo High School in 1968. Rob formed the band Wild Cherry in 1970 in Steubenville, Ohio, one mile north of Mingo Junction along the Ohio River.

The band played the Ohio Valley region, Wheeling, West Virginia and the rest of the Northern West Virginia panhandle, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After Wild Cherry disbanded in 1979 without another major hit, Parissi became a producer and dedicated himself to adult contemporary music. In 2017, he retired from the music industry, but continues to manage the properties he created during his career.