Con Funk Shun
|Con Funk Shun|
|Origin||Vallejo, California, U.S.|
|Years active||1969-1986, 1993-Present|
|Members||Michael V. Cooper
Felton C. Pilate
Cedric A. Martin
Paul E. Harrell
Karl E. Fuller
Danny A. Thomas
|Past members||Louis A. McCall, Sr. (deceased)|
Con Funk Shun formerly known as (Project Soul) is an American R&B and funk band popular in the 1970s and 1980s. Influences included Earth Wind & Fire, Commodores, Chaka Khan, and Sly & the Family Stone. Signed to Mercury Records in 1976, Con Funk Shun enjoyed a decade of successful national and overseas tours, 11 chart-topping albums, and numerous hit singles, including a Billboard magazine "#1 With A Bullet" hit single on the Top R&B Singles chart. The group formally disbanded in 1986.
The band began in 1969 as Project Soul, formed by Vallejo, California high school students Louis A. McCall Sr. (drums/percussion/vocals) and Michael Cooper (rhythm guitar/lead vocals). By 1971, the group also included bassist Cedric Martin, keyboardist Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas, trumpeter Karl Fuller, and woodwinds player Paul "Maceo" Harrell. Soon thereafter, this fledgling group's classic lineup became complete when singer/multi-instrumentalist Felton Pilate came on board. In 1971, those seven musicians founded a new band, calling themselves Con-Funk-Shun, after a song by the instrumental ensemble The Nite-Liters. They relocated to Memphis, Tennessee in 1973 when they were hired to back up Stax Records artists The Soul Children. There, they came to the attention of Estelle Axton who signed them to her Fretone Records label. Their first album, Organized Con Funk Shun was released in 1973. In 1974, their name was officially changed to Con Funk Shun by McCall's future wife, Linda Lou McCall (née Bolden), when she became the group's publicist and created their logos.
In 1976, Con Funk Shun signed to Mercury Records, releasing 11 albums over a span of 10 years. The group's 1977 LP, Secrets, was certified gold in the US, as were 1978's Loveshine, 1979's Candy, and 1980's Spirit of Love. They scored a string of top ten hits on the US Billboard black singles chart, including 1977's "Ffun" (#1), 1978's "Shake and Dance with Me" (#5), 1979's "Chase Me" (#4), 1980s "Got to Be Enough" (#8), and "Too Tight" (#8). Tensions from within the group built over the 1980s, and the group's last album, Burning Love, was recorded without songwriter and vocalist Felton Pilate. After leaving Mercury, the original band members ceased performing and recording as Con Funk Shun in 1987.
Pilate became the in-house record producer and songwriter for M.C. Hammer and his records label Bust-It Records. He worked on several albums for the company, including Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em as well as the bulk of Special Generation 1990 debut Take It to the Floor. Lead singer Michael Cooper embarked on a successful career as a solo artist, releasing his solo debut Love Is Such A Funny Game on Warner Bros. Records in 1987, and releasing 1989's Just What I Like and 1992's Get Closer on Warner Bros.' sister label Reprise Records.
As recently as 2013, their 11 Mercury Records albums, along with Greatest Hits, and Best Of Con Funk Shun albums continue to be remastered and released digitally.
Con Funk Shun continues to receive airplay on US soul radio stations that play music of the 1970s and 1980s. Additionally, their back-beats have been repeatedly sampled by later artists in Hip Hop, R&B, and rap. In 2007, "Honey Wild", (written by Louis McCall, Linda Lou McCall and Danny Thomas), from their 1980 Spirit of Love album was sampled by Lil Wayne for his Grammy Award winning CD, Tha Carter III. In 1996, Dru Hill covered the song "Love's Train" on their self-titled début album which was produced by Keith Sweat. Jason Mraz has performed "Ffun" on numerous occasions during his live performances as well. The song "That's What Love Can Do" by Boykrazy, heavily samples "Too Tight".
Born in Alameda, CA, the name of the late Louis A. McCall Sr. was chosen by the City Planning Board in April 2014 to be used to name one of the streets in the proposed residential community, Alameda Landing. On September 21, 2014, the seven band members were honored by the National R&B Music Society with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
- Michael Cooper
- Karl Fuller
- Paul "Zebulon" Harrell
- Cedric Martin
- Louis A. McCall, Sr. (deceased)
- Felton Pilate
- Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas
- Organized Con Funk Shun (1973), Fretone
- The Memphis Sessions (1973), Fretone
- Con Funk Shun (1976), Mercury
- Secrets (1977), Mercury
- Loveshine (1978), Mercury
- Candy (1979), Mercury
- Spirit of Love (1980), Mercury
- Touch (1980), Mercury
- 7 (1981), Mercury
- To the Max (1982), Mercury
- Fever (1983), Mercury
- Electric Lady (1985), Mercury
- Burnin' Love (1986), Mercury
- More Than Love (2015), Shanachie
- "Clique" (1974)
- "Sho Feels Good To Me" (1977) - #66 R&B singles
- "Confunkshunizeya" (1978) - #31 R&B
- "Ffun" (1978) - #1 R&B, #23 Pop singles
- "Shake And Dance With Me" (1978) - #5 R&B, #60 Pop
- "So Easy" (1978) - #28 R&B
- "(Let Me Put) Love on Your Mind" (1979) - #24 R&B
- "Chase Me" (1979) - #4 R&B
- "Da Lady" (1980) - #60 R&B
- "By Your Side" (1980) - #27 R&B
- "Got To Be Enough" (1980) - #8 R&B, #20 Club Play
- "Happy Face" (1980) - #87 R&B
- "Bad Lady" (1981) - #19 R&B
- "Lady's Wild" (1981) - #42 R&B
- "Too Tight" (1981) - #8 R&B, #40 Pop, #25 Club Play
- "Ain't Nobody, Baby" (1982) - #31 R&B
- "Straight From The Heart" (1982) - #79 R&B
- "Baby I'm Hooked (Right into Your Love)" (1983) - #5 R&B, #76 Pop
- "Ms. Got-The-Body (1983) - #15 R&B
- "Love's Train/You Are The One" (1983) - #47 R&B
- "Don't Let Your Love Grow Cold" (1984)- #33 R&B
- "Electric Lady" (1985) - #4 R&B, #32 Dance Sales
- "I'm Leaving Baby" (1985) - #12 R&B
- "Tell Me What You're Gonna Do" (1985) - #47 R&B
- "Burnin' Love" (1986) - #8 R&B; UK #68
- "She's a Star" (1986) - #80 R&B
- "Throw It Up, Throw It Up" (1996) - #84 R&B
- Search for "Con Funk Shun" performed at RIAA.com on December 10, 2007.
- Boitano, Dave (April 29, 2014). "Navy loses battle over street names". The Alamedan. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
- The National R&B Music Society Archived August 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 117. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
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