Funk Music Hall of Fame Opens in Dayton, Ohio
The gang is all there, and not just in spirit: James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Prince. They call it Mount Funkmore, and it's a mural of these and other funky faces that greet visitors as they enter the brand new Funk Music Hall of Fame and Exhibition Center.
The Dayton, Ohio, hall has been in the works for several years, and has finally opened to visitors by appointment. This spring, a full public opening is expected.
"Dayton is the funkiest place on Earth," David Webb, president and CEO of the Funk Hall, told NPR. "Dayton has so many groups out of here. Like Slave, Lakeside, Sun, Zapp, Roger, Dayton, Platypus. I could go on and on. ... As the great Marshall Jones of the Ohio Players says, 'God stepped his foot in the Miami Valley, and the sweat off of God's feet, that's what made it funky.'"
The Ohio Players' 1974 No. 1 hit "Fire" got the groove going in Dayton, Webb says, and their next No. 1 hit, "Love Rollercoaster," was released the following year to fan the fire, sparking "one nation under groove," borrowing the title of Funkadelic's 1978 classic.
The museum celebrates the music and its legacy in Dayton and beyond. Webb received permission to open the East Third Street location late last year, after he and his staff had already been collecting funk music artifacts and memorabilia for several years, including the outrageous outfits worn by funk band members and vintage instruments like Zapp founder Roger Troutman's lit-up guitar. But Webb doesn't play favorites. “Everything is a favorite. I was just amazed by how many people wanted to donate stuff - they wanted to make this happen," Webb said. "That has been the biggest wow for me.”