45 Best Funk Songs of All Time (Funk Music Classics)

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Written By Will Fenton

Founder of MidderMusic. From numerous bands to stints working in music shops, read more about me on the 'Here's My Story' page!

Hello, disco fans. 

What makes a great funk song?

Is it a strong bass line?

Low-pitched instruments?

Or a distinctive groove?

You deserve a great playlist if you want to add life to your party or groove to a beautiful rhythm. 

And below are the 45 best funk songs to let off steam after a hard day’s work. 

These selections span from the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 2000s and will get your feet sliding the whole night. 

Let’s go!

Table of Contents

1. “Jungle Boogie” by Kool & The Gang

The jungle boogie dance is all about having a good time. 

Just like Kool & The Gang’s 1973 song of the same name. 

“Get down, get down/Get down, get down/Get down, get down.”

The memorable lines will make the song stick in your head. 

2. “Word Up” by Cameo

This is probably the least funky of all the funk songs on our list. 

But let’s talk about the vocals. 

When the lyrics are as good as Cameo’s narration in this popular funk song, you should do everything to include it in your dance playlist. 

Word up was a popular urban saying in New York and the US at the time. 

And the era-defining hit is about chicks, partying, and dancing. 

3. “Get Down On It” by Kool & The Gang

Kool & The Gang might have made a name for themselves with “Jungle Boogie,” but this hit ranks highly in the band’s most popular songs. 

The song was an instant hit, propelling the New Jersey band to fame.

But the real question is, how are you going to play it when you don’t know how to dance? 

4. “Dance To The Music” by Sly & The Family Stone

Any soul music lover from the 60s will agree that this song contributed to Sly and the Family Stone’s meteoric rise to fame. 

It was also the band’s first single to reach the Top 10 on the US Billboard Pop Singles.  

The song gives us a glimpse of the band’s different musical elements, from the drum playing to the sweet vocals and the guitar. 

No more words. 

Just get up and dance. 

Because that’s the Sly and The Family Stone’s humble plea in their 1968 song.  

So, shall we?

5. “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson 

A certain American pop king comes to mind when you think about the top funky songs to dance to. 

“Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough” is one of the most beloved disco songs about dancing. 

This is the perfect song when you feel a little funky and want something to match your mood.

6. “It’s Your Thing” by The Isley Brothers

“It’s Your Thing” is a beautiful funk single that everybody wants to dance to. 

In the psychedelic funk song, Ronald Isley sets the girl free to do what pleases her.

But she should never forget about him. 

The song reached #2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

7. “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Hello party lovers. 

There’s no better combination than an upbeat funk song to dance to with a powerful message to go with it. 

And one song that belongs in that category is Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Shining Star.”

The award-winning song expresses a positive message that you can be whatever you want. 

The hit was so good it topped the US Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart in 1975. 

It also sold more than one million copies and scooped a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals category.  

8. “Super Freak” by Rick James

A freak is a person with an unusual abnormality. 

But the one in this song wants to experience it all. 

And that lands him in trouble with the law enforcers. 

The song was Rick James’ biggest-ever pop hit. 

And decades later, nobody wants to ignore it when creating the list of the greatest funk songs.

9. “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder

If you believe in superstitions, you’re bound to suffer.

At least that’s according to Stevie Wonder. 

Stevie’s song outlines the negative effects of superstition. 

The popular hit reached #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1973. 

And it would go on to scoop two awards at the 16th Grammy Awards. 

10. “Kiss” by The Revolution 

“Kiss” is Prince and The Revolution’s message to women. 

They don’t have to be beautiful, rich, or look cool because he only needs their kiss and time. 

Good music can have you dreaming about crazy things. 

11. “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers

The Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There” is a protest song oozing optimism. 

In the song, the narrator is mourning his murdered brother while visualizing a safe place where life is great.

It’s hard not to categorize it as a traditional gospel song.

But the strong bassline also makes it one of the best funk songs in history. 

12. “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind & Fire 

Music is therapeutic. 

And “Boogie Wonderland” is a beautiful tale about someone on the verge of self-destruction. 

But he finds solace in music and dances his troubles away. 

Some people lose themselves to drugs. 

But we both know that never helps. 

So, the narrator chooses a unique form of therapy to take his troubles away.

13. “Rock Steady” by The Whispers

This is easily The Whispers’ signature song, with a narration about a man in a complicated relationship. 

It peaked at #7 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart and became the band’s final track to appear at #1 on the Hot Black Singles Chart. 

14. “Fire” by Ohio Players

Ohio Players need no introduction to the funk music scene. 

And their 1974 song proves just as much. 

“Fire” stood out because of the funk sound. 

But the lyrics are just as absorbing, with the American funk band singing about a hot woman they are getting attracted to. 

The rhythm arrangement is epic. 

And the more you listen to it, the greater the desire to dance. 

The exciting combination of the fire truck siren, the guitar solo, and the rhythm arrangement gives the beautiful track a whole new meaning.  

15. “Flashlight” by Parliament 

Here’s a great funk song for anyone in the room.  

George Clinton ushers everyone to the dance floor with his 1978 funk song. 

The captivating lyrics are easy to sing along to. 

And when people talk about the funk songs that will get anyone on the dance floor, this is one of them. 

16. “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas

How could we even ignore it?

In the early 70s, Carl Douglas wrote an iconic song that became one of the greatest funk songs in history. 

The hit borrows a few elements from Chinese Kung Fu Fighting. 

And as the good quality flute sound goes, you are instantly immersed in the song’s message. 

The narration makes the song even more interesting, with a beautiful tale about the adventures of the Kung Fu fighters. 

At some point, it feels like you are at the heart of the Chinese capital, getting an epic Kung Fu experience in real-time. 

17. “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate

The long list of happy funk songs with a powerful message continues with Hot Chocolate’s masterpiece. 

“You Sexy Thing” is a happy song about a special someone.

It is one of the many funk songs on our list with a strong message. 

Hot Chocolate’s song gets everyone on the dance floor, with the narrator comparing his newly found love to a miracle. 

18. “Get Up To Get Down” by Brass Construction

Brass Construction is a massively underrated funk group from the 1960s.

Sadly, their 1979 funk song is just as underappreciated.

But that doesn’t make it ineligible when compiling a list of the best tunes to dance to.

19. “Love Rollercoaster” by Ohio Players

“Love Rollercoaster” is an upbeat funk song by the American funk band. 

Listening to this hit gives you the feeling that you are on a rollercoaster. 

Love can be described as a paradox in many ways. 

It is simple yet complicated. 

And nobody understands that better than the American band. 

You better get ready because the instrumental break combined with Beck’s vocals brings out the classic funk song vibes.  

20. “Mr. Big Stuff” by Jean Knight

This song belongs to the other side of slower-moving funk songs to dance to.

But don’t get it twisted. 

The rhythm only gets better as the lyrics flow. 

The narrator’s tone of resentment could be exactly what you need to spice up the lyrics. 

21. “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” by James Brown

James Brown sings praises of a brave old man who won’t shy from showing his killer dance moves at a nightclub. 

The narration follows the classic James Brown style. 

Or let’s just say Brown was a few steps ahead of his competitors.

And that shows in his excellent composition, with the song featuring all the standard elements of a great funk song. 

You could talk about the guitar strumming and the vocal styling all day. 

But it’s impossible to ignore the horn sections. 

22. “Slide” by Slave

“Slide” is a memorable song with all the elements you’d expect from an excellent funk song. 

Horn solos, guitar solos, and instrumental build-ups.

You name them. 

23. “Rock Steady” by Aretha Franklin 

We just can’t ignore it. 

This is one of the best songs in the world of funk songs to dance to.

And Aretha Franklin is simply imploring the listeners to groove to the music. 

Just forget about your problems and get on the dance floor. 

24. “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder comes back with yet another beautiful masterpiece. 

And he takes it to another level this time with a funky bass line and hauntingly beautiful vocals. 

You could dance to it from dusk till dawn, which is why it deserves a place on your dancing playlist. 

25. “You Dropped a Bomb On Me” by The Gap Band

Any fan of the 1970s funk songs knows a thing or two about The Gap Band’s songs. 

The talented musical brothers mesmerized everyone with yet another beautiful narration. 

Interpret it how you will. 

But there’s no doubt this song remains one of the greatest funk songs of all time. 

26. “Chameleon” by Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock takes a gentle, soulful tone when talking about this one person who keeps changing like a chameleon.

The bass line and funky drumming combination set the tone for the entire song. 

And the gentleness in Herbie Hancock’s voice completes the jazz-funk masterpiece. 

It is the kind of jazz-funk song to get everyone on their feet. 

27. “Brick House” by The Commodores

You might have heard it at weddings and other events.

Probably even danced to it at a special event. 

And that’s why “Brick House” appears on our list of funky music songs to dance to. 

The disco classic tells the tale of a beautiful girl built like a brick house. 

28. “One Nation Under a Groove” by Funkadelic

Someone said a people united by love could never be divided.

 But George Clinton thinks a nation united by its love for good music is even stronger.

“One Nation Divided Under a Groove” is a song about the power of music. 

It confirmed George Clinton as one of the most underrated songwriters in history.

It is also one of Funkadelic’s most popular songs, selling over 1 million copies at the time. 

29. “Funk Funk” by Cameo

Another Cameo classic to complement our list of the best funk songs to dance to.

You will probably know them from their 1986 “Word Up” song. 

But “Funk Funk” is another great hit that helped lay the foundation for the American funk band. 

The song is identified by a heavy groove, bright horns, and memorable vocals. 

It deserves a place in any dancing playlist. 

30. “Bring It Here” by Wild Sugar

Wild Sugar is a name that instantly comes to mind when you talk about one-hit wonders.

But their 1980 song is impossible to ignore. 

It is one of the many funk classics that tick all the right boxes. 

31. “Get Up I Feel Like Being Like A Sex Machine” by James Brown

You can’t talk about the greatest funk songs of all time without mentioning a certain 5’6’’ South Carolina-born singer.  

While everybody recognizes him as the godfather of soul music, you simply can’t ignore Mr. Dynamite’s danceable 1970 song. 

We could go as far as saying James Brown laid the foundation for funk music. 

The upbeat tune will make you groove to the music even when you don’t want to. 

32. “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off the Sucker)” by Parliament

This song is the American funk band at their best.

It is one of the greatest songs from the P-Funk genre and set the pace for other bands.

And the exciting harmony between the vocals, drums, and bass makes everyone want to “tear the roof,” just like the lyrics say. 

One would argue that the lyrics don’t have any clear meaning.

But the obvious motive to get you on the dance floor is crystal clear. 

33. “More Bounce to the Ounce” by Zapp & Roger

A famous Pepsi advert inspired the iconic 1980s funk song, and it’s taken a special place in many people’s hearts.

Just shake it if you have more bounce to the ounce. 

34. “I Want To Take You Higher” by Sly & The Family Stone

Sly and the Stone Family remains an iconic band because of their widespread influence in the 60s. 

And “I Want To Take You Higher” is one of the greatest songs produced in the same era. 

The upbeat tune is complimented by a subtle message about drugs. 

And you won’t be mistaken for saying this is one of the best funk music songs ever. 

35. “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus ft. Chaka Khan

If you didn’t know, Rufus and Chaka Khan released a smash hit many years ago that went straight to the top of the Cash Box Top 100. 

Apart from the catchy song title, the guitar talk box also stands out in the song. 

36. “Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

“Give It Away” is a lively and repetitive funk rock song by the American rock band. 

It became even more popular in the 90s, with its catchy vocals only echoing the memorable melody. 

According to the narrator, selfless acts like giving create positive energy. 

And it gets even better when you have the perfect song to echo the message. 

37. “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” by Brick

“Oh move the groove/Nice and easy/Feels so good they’re in my bones/Dance, dance, dance to the music.”

What more would you expect from an iconic American band? 

38. “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. 

Some people believe the Funkytown in this song should be New York. 

But the consensus is that it is one of the greatest funk songs to dance to.

Lipps Inc.’s song belongs to the 80s disco funk songs.

And it highlights a metaphoric place that keeps the narrator moving and grooving. 

39. “Got To Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn

Cheryl Lynn’s classic hit goes back to the 1970s. 

And it has since become the most popular, most iconic funk song to dance to. 

“Got To Be Real” wasn’t an instant success.

But it quickly climbed the charts, reaching #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart in 1979. 

40. “She’s A Bad Mama Jama” by Carl Carlton

A bad mama jama refers to a fine-looking black woman with curves. 

I mean, look at many funk song lovers and what keeps them going. 

The song earned Carlton a Grammy Nomination in the Best R&B Vocal Performance category. 

41. “Shake Your Groove Thing” by Peaches & Herb

“Shake Your Groove Thing” has no hidden meaning. 

The narrator is simply imploring you to get on the dance floor. 

Just show the world that you can dance. 

42. “Just Kissed My Baby” by The Meters

Funk songs don’t get any funkier than The Meters’ “Just Kissed My Baby.”

The slow groove is everything you need from a great funk song. 

Be sure you aren’t the only one to fall in love with George Porter’s bass line. 

43. “Blame It On The Boogie” by The Jacksons 

Looks like The Jacksons will be dancing the whole night and blame it on the boogie.

We don’t know why.

But the subtle message about a girl gives us a little clue. 

All in all, this is one of the greatest songs to groove to if you are a dancing machine. 

44. “Let’s Groove” by Earth, Wind & Fire

Sometimes, you only need to lose yourself in music when the going gets tough. 

And the American band sets the groovy scene for you with their 1981 classic hit. 

The song was an instant success, peaking in the top 20 in many countries. 

Musically, Earth, Wind & Fire’s song is a mix of pop, post-disco, and funk.

And the combination of synthesizers and live electric guitars makes your listening even better. 

45. “Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

There could be no better way to complete our list of the greatest funk songs than Wild Cherry’s epic 1976 song

The song has no hidden message, with the narrator only imploring the addressee to “play that funky music.” 

The lyrics were inspired by an incident where one audience member shouted, “play some funky music, white boy,” to the rock band. 

Best Funk Songs – Final Thoughts 

So, that’s it. 

The list of the greatest funk songs only gets better when you have a favorite artist. 

Sure. Some great artists and songs may not appear on this list. 

But this doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate their efforts in giving us some of the greatest hits in history. 

In fact, we would love to see your playlist of the best funk dance songs. 

Do you have specific song titles in mind?

Feel free to share with us. Funk songs are meant to be fun. 

So, forget all your troubles for a minute, and let’s groove to some good music. 

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Best Motown Songs

Best Jazz Songs

Best R&B Songs