Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some kind of wonderful

They were one of the most commercially successful American bands of the Seventies. They sold more than $20 million in albums, and 11 of their LPs went gold or platinum.  They consistently packed arenas and set records for gate sales. They had two No. 1 singles and a handful of others that are instantly recognizable.

Why, when you mention Grand Funk Railroad, do people often react with Grand Huh?

The Sanctuary checked and there's no GFR in the archives. Shouldn't there be? I mean, we remember "We're an American Band" and "Some Kind of Wonderful" and neither of these songs nor the mention of them cause us to break out in hives.  Their music is often categorized as heavy metal, but after what followed  you'd have to agree it's not really that extreme.  If heavy sweat boogie were a genre we'd be talking today about the godfathers.

Grand Funk enjoyed this wild success between 1970-76 -- a great time for rock music -- despite being panned widely by critics and having their music ignored, at least in the early going, on radio. This clearly was your prototypical Band of the People that beat the odds down by turning the volume up. One sociological observer of Grand Funk's audience explained it this way in a Billboard publication: "They aren't looking for answers, they're looking for confirmation. This music is the possession of teenagers who want something of their own." Packed stadiums and surging record sales suggest they may have found what they were looking for.

The seeds for this discussion were sewn by a self-described flower child who makes no bones about her favorite band of that era. "None other than ... Grand Funk Railroad," she writes.  "And my favorite song by them is 'Some Kind of Wonderful.'  I used to play it until the album wore out. I had to replace the album with an 8 Track. ... OMG an 8 track ... too funny."

If you want to test drive Grand Funk with an 8 track we suggest you try EBay.  If you prefer a more recent format we've provided a link.   We're not saying it's wonderful, we're just saying it's some kinda...


  1. As someone who suffered through Grand Funk at a couple of festivals, let me be the first to say: they sucked.

    ALthough the Todd Rundgren-produced song "Bad Time for Being in Love" was uncharacteristicly sweet.

  2. And of course, "E Pluribus Funk" was the inspiration for the motto on U.S. currency. Also.

  3. Linda (hippie Chick)March 28, 2010 at 6:19 PM

    Well Charles....
    You obviously know that not every band will sing every song at a concert that you like, but I happen to think that Grand Funk did an awesome job, on Some kinda Wonderful and Closer to Home(I'm your Captain).So don't be so critical... they wern't as bad as u say.They certainly arn't deserving of the word sucked....Maybe you are.

  4. Linda I wonder if you took too much strychnine-laced LSD in your hippie days? Maybe you still do, if so I suggest you put on some Grand Funk ASAP, because Grand Funk and bad acid go together like macaroni and cheese.

    Semper Funk, E Pluribus Funk, Caveat Funk.

    ANd I would never say you suck just because I don't agree with you.

  5. Now, now kids, share a few hits off the bong and everything will be fine. And save yourselves for the upcoming discussion on Molly Hatchet.

  6. Linda (hippie chick)March 29, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Okay Charles, maybe we wern't on the same page about Grand Funk, but it upset me that you said they sucked, so I guess I used a poor choice of words,by saying you sucked as well...sorry.
    Wish I could indulge, but I don't smoke that stuff anymore, at my age I need to keep my mind clear, for my health and my job.
    Hope we don't have any more disagreements on here. So lets not get off on the wrong foot :)

  7. Speaking of Molly Hatchett ... Jeff Calder of the Swimming Pool Qs used to write rock reviews for the Lakeland paper. He wrote a review trashing a band called Grinderswitch that was coming to town. After the concert they showed up at his house around 2 a.m. intending to beat his butt, but they ended up sitting around drinking beer all night.