"Play That Funky Music" is a song written by Rob Parissi and recorded by the band Wild Cherry. The single was the first released by the Cleveland-based Sweet City record label in April 1976 and distributed by Epic Records. The performers on the recording included lead singer Parissi, electric guitarist Bryan Bassett, bassist Allen Wentz, and drummer Ron Beitle, with session players Chuck Berginc, Jack Brndiar (trumpets), and Joe Eckert and Rick Singer (saxes) on the horn riff that runs throughout the song's verses. The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 18, 1976; it was also number one on the Hot Soul Singles chart. The single was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipments of over 2 million records and eventually sold 2.5 million in the United States alone.
The song was listed at No. 93 on Billboard magazine's "All-Time Top 100 Songs" in 2018. It was also the group's only US Top 40 song.
Vanilla Ice version
American rapper Vanilla Ice later released a song featuring an interpretation of "Play That Funky Music". Based on this single, the independent record label Ichiban Records signed Vanilla Ice to a record deal, releasing the album Hooked in January 1989, containing "Play That Funky Music" and its B-side, "Ice Ice Baby".
Songwriter Robert Parissi was not credited. Parissi was later awarded $500,000 in a copyright infringement lawsuit.