In 1966, I was 14 years old. I had already heard of James Brown, but that year he released a song that sounded amazing to me. He co-wrote and produced the song, and I soon had a copy on a vinyl single. Fifty-six years later, I still think it is an amazing song.
Funk is a musical genre that has been interpreted in many ways by numerous artists and bands over the years. From James Brown’s ‘Make it Funky’, Tom Browne’s ‘Funkin For Jamaica’ and rock band Wild Cherry’s ‘Play That Funky Music White Boy’, it has been an enduring theme for over forty years. In 1986, American vocal group Cameo released this song, which seemed to sum up the whole thing, in just four and a half minutes.
This was also the age of MTV, and the pop video was often as important as the song. Cameo’s front man, Larry Blackmon, obviously had this in mind when he chose his outfit. Dressed in a skin-tight black leotard, with a red plastic heart worn between his legs, we all knew that this was going to make Cameo stand out from the crowd. Fortunately, the song was as memorable as the outfit, and is still as good today, as it was twenty-eight years ago. Recently revived in the UK, thanks to its use on a prominent TV commercial, a new generation can now enjoy the feel-good funk provided by this group. Although still performing today, their international fame was short-lived, and it is unlikely that they will ever better this. Try to keep still. I dare you.