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Grand Funk Railroad


In spite of seething critical hatred -- Robert Christgau, for one, equated Mark Farner's guitar solo in "Loco-Motion" to the flushing of a toilet -- Grand Funk were one of the most popular rock groups of the 1970s, combining massive guitar riffs with pure pop hooks and a bare-chested macho man image. There wasn't anything very funky about them, but they sure knew how to write big, fat arena-rock anthems with choruses you could really grab onto. Their 1969 debut On Time is a prime example of the nascent post-psychedelic, Zeppelin-rock scene and a harbinger of heavier metal things to come. By the early '70s, on the strength of one platinum record after another and a reputation as the best live show around, they were huge. "We're an American Band," "Some Kind of Wonderful" and the tripped-out seafaring epic "Closer To Home (I'm Your Captain)" are staples of the Classic Rock radio format to this day, and, true to radio-fare form, if you've heard them once you probably know them by heart. Like much of the most indulgent music of the '70s, Grand Funk's particular brand of blues-bolstered R-O-C-K is so perfectly tailored to high volumes -- car radios in particular -- that it's indispensable on those nights when you're driving around with the top down, looking for triple shots and album sides.
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