The Black albums of the 70s were some of the most phenomenal productions of the time. From soul to R&B and funk, Black music has never failed to make us all feel upbeat, close, and free.
70s Black albums were enjoyed in all sorts of places, including skating rinks, awards ceremonies, and soul train lines, but the energy they sparked could be felt all over the world.
We know there are many great 70s Black albums, so we’ve looked for the best of the best and compiled them all together.
Here are the 15 most funky Black albums from the 70s.
British funk group Cymande released the self-titled album Cymande in 1972. Its lead single “The Message” reached No.48 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Band members include Ray King handling the vocals and percussion, Peter Serreo on the tenor saxophone, and Michael “Bami” Rose on the alto saxophone. We hear other notable members throughout the album, including Sam Kelly on the drums and Steve Scipio on the bass.
And although the band wasn’t from the US, their influence here in the states was phenomenal.
The Jacksons were most famously known for giving Michael Jackson his start, but the group made several record-breaking albums, including Destiny.
Released in late December 1978, Destiny was the group’s 13th studio album, and it sold over 2 million copies in the US.
Another great fact about this album is that the band members themselves completely curated it. They would go on to report this album as the first one entirely at their creative control. This decision proved to be advantageous as it went on to sell 4 million copies worldwide.
City in the Sky (1974)
City in the Sky is the final album released by the American group Staple Singers. It was the last album the group produced for Stax Records, and they went out with a bang!
The album features 11 tracks, including popular songs like Something Ain’t Right and Who Made the Man.
The album was initially supposed to be a double album, so you could play the A-side and B-side and still vibe out to funky tunes all day.
War of the Gods (1973)
Soul singer Billy Paul recorded War of the Gods in 1973. The album was extremely popular at the time and peaked at number 12 on the hot billboard list. It even ranked high in the pop chart category. The album has a way of bringing funky beats and soulful lyrics into one complete story.
The album has a total of 6 songs, and each one seems to capture the spirit of the psychedelic soul very well.
The album was later remastered in 2012 with Big Break Records and now includes bonus tracks and new notes.
The Show Must Go On (1975)
Thirty years after he was born, Sam Dees wrote and produced The Show Must Go On, and listeners couldn’t get enough.
The album starts low and funky with the release of “Child of the Streets” and then continues the funky beats with more upbeat lyrics on “So Tied Up.”
Listeners of the time raved over The Show Must Go On, so much so that Sam Dees went on to write songs for Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston.
Car Wash (1976)
Rose Royce released Car Wash in 1976 to a starving audience craving funk.
Car Wash was Rose Royce’s debut album. This creative and soulful album inspired songs and movies well after, including a comedy film. The movie’s motto has the same vibe as the song: where everything is “always cool, and the boss doesn’t mind if you sometimes act a fool.” And act a fool they did.
The album was just what Rose Royce needed to go mainstream.
The Car Wash soundtrack eventually won a 1977 Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album.
Sweet Replies (1971)
Honey Cone’s soul group was formed in 1968 with lead singer Edna Wright and supporting vocalists Carolyn Willis and Shelley Clark. The band released the album Sweet Replies in 1971, their second studio album by Hot Wax Records.
The album wasn’t majorly successful during its initial release and surely didn’t have enough support to go commercial; however, two songs rose above the ashes and made their way to the hit list.
The first song is Want Ads, and the second is The Day I Found Myself, which ended up in the top 30 list in 1972.
Bad Girls (1979)
This is the 7th studio album by American songwriter and singer Donna Summer. Casablanca Records released the album in April of ‘79, and it became the best-selling and most critically-acclaimed album of her career.
Today, it’s still considered one of the best disco albums of all time. The album also sparked a great movement for Black women to express their sexuality. Take that patriarchy!
Aside from its moving influence, the album managed to rank in the top 10% of the billboard 200 chart.
A Quiet Storm (1975)
Smokey Robinson put out A Quiet Storm in 1975. This was his third solo album, and a direct response to the revolution of funk in Black music. He had just left the group The Miracles and was trying his hand at being a solo artist; this decision proved very advantageous for him.
The album includes three hit singles, most notably Baby That’s Backatcha, Robinson’s first disco hit.
Later on, A Quiet Storm was named one of the greatest Motown albums ever. This was in a 1999 edition of Q.
Light of Worlds (1974)
Light of Worlds is the fifth studio album produced by Kool & The Gang. It was later remastered by Polygraph Records and charted number 16 on the R&B charts and 63 on the pop charts.
The album combines rock-inspired funk sets with jazzy lyrics.
Summer Madness was one of the most successful songs on the album, which inspired later songs like Spirit of the Boogie in ‘75.
We Are Family (1979)
Sister Sledge released their 3rd studio album, We Are Family, in the Spring of ‘79.
The album was written and produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers of the band Chic. The four hit singles on the album are “He’s the Greatest Dancer,” ”Lost in Music,” and “Thinking of You” (not to be confused with Frank Ocean’s version).
Kathy Sledge was just 19 years old when she recorded the lead vocals for “We Are Family,” and the song became a hit!
Chaka Khan inspired music for decades, so it’s no surprise her debut album was an inspiring hit.
Two singles were released from the album, including “I’m Every Woman” and “Ain’t Nobody.” Many were likely introduced to these songs blaring through the radio while riding along with their parents.
Whitney Houston covered “I’m Every Woman” in 1992 for the soundtrack in the movie The Bodyguard.
The album has a total of 10 tracks, each one of them holding a special place in our hearts.
The World Is a Ghetto (1972)
The World Is a Ghetto is the 5th album by the band War. The album was widely successful and earned its number one place on the Billboard chart in 1973. The title track even became a gold record.
The band was one of the few African American rock bands out there and initially received a lot of backlashes. But as the years progressed, the band War found continued success with each new track.
Rolling Stone credited The World Is a Ghetto as one of the greatest albums of all time.
The Isley Brothers’ album 3+3 was popular for several reasons; among others, the album was released with six members instead of three. This surge in members gave the album that much-needed edge to rank number 464 on Rolling Stone’s Greatest  Albums Of All Time chart.
One fun fact, while The Isley Brothers were on their way to record, they passed by Stevie Wonder recording his hit song “Innervisions.”
I Am (1979)
I Am is the ninth studio album produced by the American band Earth, Wind, and Fire. It steadily rose to number one on the Billboard Top Soul Albums chart. It has been certified double-platinum in the US by the RIAA and platinum in the UK and Canada.
The album opens with “In the Stone,” a funky, upbeat opener for a disco-pop album. The album ends with the song “You and I,” an ode to progressivism and the timeless music of the 70s.
Top 70s Black Albums, Final Thoughts
The music of the 70s was truly unforgettable.
Black artists were revolutionizing the world of music and adding funk, edge, and disco to the scene. The result was a decade-long stretch of great music, groovy outfits, and jazzy music scenes.
Check out some of these albums and send your ears on a jazzy journey.