Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Rob Parissi formed the band in 1970. The band played around their hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, until they got a record contract with Brown Bag Records. After some time with the label without issuing any albums, the band broke up in 1975. Parassi then started managing a steakhouse.
Soon after, Parassi decided to form the band again with new people, and did. The new lineup had Mark Ausec on the keyboards, Bryan Bassett on the guitar, Allen Wentz on the bass, and Ronald Beitle on the drums. The rock band as they started to play sets, being in a disco dominated time, started to be asked by listeners to "play that funky music." Parissi, inspired by this line, wrote a funk song on it, and the band entered a studio to record it. A man at the studio hearing the song brought the band to the attention of Epic Records, which then signed the group.
The song became a huge hit when released in 1976, peaking at number one on both the Billboard R&B and pop charts, while both the single and Wild Cherry's self-titled debut went platinum. The band was named Best Pop Group of the Year by Billboard, and recieved an American Music Award for Top R&B Single of the Year, as well as a pair of Grammy nominations for Best New Vocal Group and Best R&B Performance by a Group or Duo.
That would be the peak of Wild Cherry's career. Their 1977 album "Electrified Funk" flopped without producing any hits, and their 1978 album "I Love My Music", as well as their 1979 album "Only the Wild Survive" and "Don't Wait Too Long" did the same, leading to the band's split after the last album. Parassi later became a disk jockey in Wheeling, West Virginia. The collection albums "Play the Funk" and "Super Hits" were issued recently.
Wild Cherry's one hit continues to be a hit in dance clubs to this day.
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