Our top 10 Graham Central Station songs list digs deep into the music of an American outfit that facilitated mainstream appeal for classic ‘70s funk music. The band’s establishment is credited to bass guitarist and vocalist Larry Graham after he quit Sly And The Family Stone in 1972. Larry would later be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993 for his impactful role in his former band, Sly And The Family Stone. Graham Central Station might not have been critically acclaimed as Larry’s former band but its role in the funk scene remains notable. The band achieved instant success with its debut single “Can You Handle It?” releasing several other records including the chart-topping hit “Your Love.”
Graham Central Station’s Successful Beginnings and Album Releases over the Years
“Can You Handle It?” issued in 1974, marked a solid start for Graham Central Station, with the song making it to the top fifty on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was featured on Graham Central Station, the band’s debut album. Graham Central Station was a success rising to number forty-eight on the Billboard 200 while peaking at number twenty on the Billboard Top Soul Albums Chart. Other top songs by Graham Central Station from the band’s debut album include “Hair,” “People,” and a cover of Al Green’s hit “It Ain’t No Fun to Me.”
Motivated by the success of its debut album, Graham Central Station went on to release its sophomore studio album, Release Yourself in September 1974. Release Yourself saw the band issue an amalgam of funk and soul sounds on its songs. The band achieved mainstream success with Release Yourself peaking at number fifty-one on the Billboard 200. “Release Yourself,” “’Tis Your Kind of Music,” and a cover of “Feel the Need in Me” by The Detroit Emeralds are some of the best Graham Central Station songs from the album.
After achieving mainstream success with its debut and sophomore albums, Graham Central Station was ready to reach new feats with its third LP, Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt It. The album rose to the fourth spot on the Billboard Top Soul Albums Chart. It also settled for the twenty-second position on the Billboard 200, making it the band’s highest charting album on the Charts. Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt It guided the band to commercial success, granting Graham Central Station its first RIAA Gold certification. “Your Love,” “The Jam,” and “It’s Alright” are the most popular songs by the band from the album.
In 1976, Graham Central Station issued its fourth studio album, Mirror, hoping to replicate the success seen with its third LP. The band went on to feature former Cold Blood, Santana, and The Pointer Sisters drummer, Gaylord Birch as part of its lineup on this album. However, Mirror failed to match the success seen with Graham Central Station’s third studio album. The album settled for the seventh spot on the Billboard Top Soul Albums Chart, peaking at number forty-six on the Billboard 200. “Entrow,” “Love,” “Forever,” and the album title track are the top Graham Central Station songs from Mirror.
Now Do U Wanta Dance, issued in April 1977, marked the band’s fifth studio album. With this album, Graham Central Station added some disco elements to its staple funk and soul sound. The result was fairly impressive, with the album peaking at number sixty-two on the Billboard 200. “Now Do-U-Wanta Dance,” “Stomped Beat-Up and Whooped,” and a cover of Al Green’s hit “Love and Happiness” are the top musical gems from the album, Now Do U Wanta Dance.
In 1978, the band issued its sixth studio album, My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me. The album marked the first record released by the band as Larry Graham & Graham Central Station. My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me was fairly successful, rising to number one hundred and five on the Billboard 200. “Pow,” “Is It Love?” and the album titled single are the best Graham Central Station songs from the album.
By this time Graham Central Station issued its seventh LP, Star Walk, the funk scene’s mainstream visibility was already under attack by the increased commercialization of the rock sound. Nevertheless, the album managed to feature funk/soul classics like “(You’re A) Foxy Lady” and “Star Walk.” The band went on hiatus after the release of the album, Star Walk. During this time, Larry Graham pursued a solo career releasing his signature Gold-certified hit “One in a Million You” in 1980.
After almost two decades of hiatus, the band issued its album, GSC 2000. This 1998 album was shortly preceded by a Japanese release only entitled By Popular Demand. Graham Central Station teamed up with Chaka Khan and Prince on the hit “Free,” one of the best releases by the band from GSC 2000. Once again, the band went on hiatus, only to return in 2012, with the album, Raise Up. Raise Up, marks the last album issued by the band, and is home to funk classics including “Movin’,” “Higher Ground,” and “Throw-N-Down the Funk.”
While it might not have been among the best-selling funk acts, Graham Central Station played a significant role in keeping ‘70s funk music afloat in the mainstream. Here we present the ten best Graham Central Station songs of all time.
# 10 – Hair
Opening up our top 10 Graham Central Station songs list is the breathtaking hit “Hair.” The song was penned by Larry Graham and released on the band’s debut eponymous album. “Hair” is one of the two hits we pick from the album, Graham Central Station, only beaten on the list by the hit “Can You Handle It?” This might feel a little odd for funk lovers who root for the hit “People,” a song that was paid homage to by Dax EFX’s “Baknaffek,” Hocus Pocus’ “Beautiful Losers,” and Santana’s hit “The Calling.”
However, Larry’s slamming hot guitar bass riffs in “Hair” makes it quite an impressive record. “Hair” is more than just a funky hit, featuring a strong message that ‘You can’t judge nobody by hair.’ The song was later covered by the Belgian rock band X-Legged Sally and R&B icon Chaka Khan.
# 9 – My Radio Sure Sounds Good To Me
“My Radio Sure Sounds Good To Me,” the album title track to the band’s sixth studio album comes in closely at number nine. That’s not good news for lovers of the album’s title track, a song hailed for its magical classic acapella soul influences. Tina Graham, spouse to bassist and vocalist Larry Graham is featured on the song on the backing vocals. “My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me” peaked at number eighteen on the Billboard Hot Soul Chart.
# 8 – Now Do-U-Wanta Dance
Number eight on our top 10 Graham Central Station songs list is the rhythmic hit “Now Do-U Wanta Dance.” The song serves as the album title track of the band’s fifth studio album, Now Do U Wanta Dance. Graham Central Station’s fame before this hit was solely built on the pillars of alluring soul-influenced funk music. However, on this record, the band sought to feature extra disco elements.
“Now Do-U-Wanta Dance” brings to life Graham Central Station’s disco music influences. However, this happens without compromising Larry Graham’s magical bass guitar riffs. Even without the voice box/vocoder effects, “Now Do-U-Wanta Dance” stands out as one of the best Graham Central Station songs thanks to its disco-funk fusion. “Now Do-U-Wanta Dance” was sampled in the 1990 song “I Can Make You Dance” by MC Shy D and the 1993 song “Pots & Pans” by Fila Brazillia. The song peaked at number ten on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart (Now the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart).
# 7 – Entrow
Without a doubt, no album by Graham Central Station has managed to replicate the mainstream and commercial success of its 1975 Gold-certified third studio album. However, songs like “Entrow” helped the band maintain influence in the funk scene. “Entrow” is the most popular hit from the band’s fourth studio album, Mirror. The song was sampled in the 1988 hit “On the Cut” by Bomb the Bass and the 1991 hit “Vibeology” by Paula Abdul. “Entrow” peaked at number twenty-one on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart.
# 6 – Is It Love?
My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me is home to some of the best slow yet funky hits by Graham Central Station including “Is It Love?” While some might contest, the song’s position on the list, “Is It Love?” edges out the album title track on our list, thanks to Larry Graham’s charming vocal wonders. His deep and laid-off vocal delivery matches the song’s slow tempo making “Is It Love?” the perfect anthem for the album My Radio Sure Sounds Good to Me. “Is It Love?” managed to rise to the sixty-fifth spot. The song was sampled in the 2007 hit “Still Got Love” by alternative hip-hop duo Blue Scholars.
#5- It’s Alright
Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt It, Graham Central Station’s best-selling and critically acclaimed album, is home to the fifth pick on our top 10 Graham Central Station songs “It’s Alright.” The song features a strong funk melody with its major takeaways being its thump-popping bass riffs. Larry Graham’s vocals on this song are also on point!
“It’s Alright” is the fourth highest-charting release by Graham Central Station on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at position ninety-two. The song also peaked at number four on the Billboard Dance Club Songs. “It’s Alright” managed to rise to the nineteenth spot on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart. The song was sampled on the songs “Now Scream” by Travis Nelson and “Monotonously” by Like a Tim.
#4- Feel the Need
Most of the songs on our top 10 Graham Central Station songs list are originally released by the band. However, the fourth pick brings us to the band’s best-performing cover hit, “Feel the Need.” The song was written by Abrim Tilmon and issued in 1972 by the Soul/R&B ensemble The Detroit Emeralds with the title “Feel the Need in Me.” Three years later, in 1975, Graham Central Station released a cover of the song, featuring it on the album, Release Yourself.
Graham Central Station’s cover is among the few charting cover versions of the song, making it to the eighteenth spot on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Chart. While the song failed to enter the Billboard Hot 100, it is Graham Central Station’s only release to make it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number fifty-three. Other artists who have released successful covers to this Detroit Emeralds’ hit include Forrest, Shakin’ Stevens, Leif Garrett, Bryan Ferry, and Albert King.
#3- Can You Handle It?
The third pick on our top 10 Graham Central Station songs list is the ravishing hit “Can You Handle It?” “Can You Handle It?” was the first song ever released by Graham Central Station, issued in 1974. The song is featured on the band’s eponymous debut album. A good start in its music pursuits is what the band obtained with this song, which led Graham Central Station to mainstream success.
“Can You Handle It?” is the band’s first hit to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number forty-nine. The song also made it to the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart, peaking at number nine. “Your Love” is the only song by Graham Central Station to surpass “Can You Handle It?” on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart.
#2- The Jam
“The Jam” is one of the most popular songs by Graham Central Station of all time. The song is featured on the band’s third studio album, Ain’t No ‘Bout-A-Doubt It. Thanks to its impressive funky groove, the song received critical acclaim. “The Jam” was a success on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart, where it peaked at the fifteenth spot. The song is the band’s third highest-charting release on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at number sixty-three.
“The Jam” contains samples of the 1973 hit “As the Moon Speaks (to the Waves of the Sea)” by the American rock supergroup, Captain Beyond. The song is the most sampled release by the band with multiple artists paying homage to its instrumental, especially the drums. Some of the notable hits that have sampled “The Jam” include “93 ‘Til Infinity” by Souls of Mischief, “Back to Life” by Soul II Soul, “Pickin’ Boogers” by Biz Markie, and “Friend of Mine” by The Notorious B.I.G.
#1- Your Love
Number one on our top 10 Graham Central Station songs list is the enthralling hit “Your Love.” This soul-influenced signature hit by the Graham Central Station is featured on the band’s album, Ain’t No’ Bout-A-Doubt It. “Your Love” is the band’s best-performing hit on the charts and the only song by Graham Central Station to make it to the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song peaked at number thirty-eight on the Billboard Hot 100. “Your Love” also managed to top the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart, making it the highest-charting hit by Graham Central Station on that chart too. This masterpiece has its sound evocative of the soul influences of Larry Graham’s former band Sly And The Family Stone.
Top 10 Graham Central Station Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
Classicrockhistory.com claims ownership of all its original content and Intellectual property under United States Copyright laws and those of all other foreign countries. No one person, business, or organization is allowed to re-publish any of our original content anywhere on the web or in print without our permission. All photos used are either public domain creative commons photos or licensed officially from Shutterstock under license with ClassicRockHistory.com. All photo credits have been placed at the end of the article. Any theft of our content will be met with swift legal action against the infringing websites.