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God made them Funky

The Headhunters used all kinds of instruments on this album-- including a beer bottle.
The Headhunters used all kinds of instruments on this album-- including a beer bottle.
Original Cover: Columbia Records

Record album by Herbie Hancock: Headhunters (1973)


Here’s why this album should be in your collection!

Head Hunters, released late in 1973 by Herbert Jeffrey Hancock, was already a breakthrough jazz album before it spawned an R&B dance hit.

That hit was “Chameleon.” The 45 rpm single version was perfect for a popular Seventies dance: The Bump. The Headhunters band featured Hancock (keyboards and synthesizers), Paul Jackson (bass), Bennie Maupin (brass instruments), Harvey Mason (drums), and Bill Summers (percussion).

The album reflected Hancock’s love for electronic gadgets (especially sound machines), skillfully mixed with brass and African percussion. According to this source, artist Victor Moscoso combined a Goli mask and a tape head demagnetizer to represent Hancock’s head on the cover. “Sly” (a tribute to Sylvester Stewart) and “Vein Melter” satisfied jazz fans. Hancock’s 1962 version of “Watermelon Man” had inspired a hit cover version for Mongo Santamaria. The Headhunters version is now also a jazz standard.

The Headhunters recorded several albums with Hancock and with Mike Clark as drummer. The band still records and performs with Clark, Jackson, and Summers as its core. Their signature hit is “God Me Made Funky,” featuring DeWayne “Blackbyrd” McKnight on guitar and The Pointer Sisters on vocals. The Fugees recorded a cover version.

This album is available in CD and MP3 format from major vendors. Please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.

Here’s an interesting fact!

Hancock’s ARP synthesizer provided the intro for “Chameleon.” But the album’s most amazing instrument was a common consumer item: a beer bottle.