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154. Grand Funk Railroad

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Critically despised? Check! Played very little today on Classic Rock stations? Check! Sold out arenas in their day? Check! Sold a lot of platinum records? Check! Confused? Meet the Hard Rock enigma known as Grand Funk Railroad.


In an era where a lot of music was becoming bloated and a movement was afoot to strip it down, Grand Funk Railroad seemed to appeal to neither set. At their root, they were a basic Blues Rock band that sung simple songs that appealed to a blue collar demographic. The critics despised them, but that did not stop them from selling millions of records and selling out multiple venues. Their biggest song and eventual mantra “We’re an American Band” was their greatest label and their biggest curse. To their fans they are a great American Rock band, though they did so at a time when that wasn’t necessarily cool. They have the success, but their lack of critical respect will likely keep them out.



 Grand Funk Railroad


The Bullet Points:


Eligible Since:



Country of Origin:

U.S.A. (Flint, MI)


Why They Will Get In:

If they go by pure success, they have a shot.


Why They Won’t Get In:

They were critically despised then, and they are critically despised now.


Nominated In:



Essential Albums:

Grand Funk (1969)

Closer to Home (1970)

I Got a Name (1973)

Shinin’ On (1974)


Our Five Favorite Songs as Chosen by Each Member of the NIHOF Committee:

Inside Looking Out (From Grand Funk, 1969)

I’m Your Captain (From Closer to Home, 1970)

Creepin (From We’re an American Band, 1973)

We’re an American Band (From We’re an American Band, 1973)

Shinin’ On (From Shinin’ On, 1974)



Should Grand Funk Railroad be in the Hall of Fame?

(You must be registered and logged in to vote!)
Definitely put them in! - 53.8%
Maybe, but others deserve it first. - 23.1%
Probably not, but it wouldn't be the end of the world. - 7.7%
No opinion. - 0%
No way! - 15.4%
Last modified on Sunday, 18 January 2015 14:52


-1 #1 jimmy26 -0001-11-29 19:00
I might argue that the Arena rock era is woefully underappreciate d by the hall which it is but at least it is not forgotten as album sales and sold out concerts can attest. But the huge bands of the early 70's (how do we classify these acts?) have an almost insurmountable obstcle as their legacies have been diminished by the Mighty (Led Zepp, Stones, Pink floyd) or eroded by time. Case in point. Grand Funk was almost as big as they came (aformentioned bands excluded) during this era. Huge album sales. Huge concerts and huge fan bases. I asked one of my buddies who was a teenager during this time who was the biggest band in the world when he was growing up and he quickly responded Grand Funk. They were that big. the sad thing is i can actually see why. Their music was just not that good. Oh don't get me wrong they had a few good songs and some great covers but really can they compete with Journey or Foreigner for music ability. Or dare i say the Zepp or the Floyd! I fear not. with this said being that popular no matter what the reason has it's merits.
+7 #2 Smokestoomuch -0001-11-29 19:00
The Closer to Home album is a rock masterpiece.
+10 #3 TheHeights 2013-04-24 00:36
Grand Funk was the top performing band in the70's. Yet Public Enemy is in the Hall of Shame. No group had a bigger draw than GFR back in their heyday, yet even then they weren't given the recognition they deserved.

Back in the 70's, it was either Sabbath or GFR. Their live album was better than most groups live concerts.

What made the Funk so good, was their gritty sound from the 60's and early 70's. I'm Your Captain, Foot Stomping Music and my favorite, "Sin's A Good Man's Brother", were awesome sounds of Rock 'n Roll! Even their easy sounding anti-war "I Can Feel Him In The Morning" had an edge to it that helped define GFR.

What gets me mad, is that if you listen to the radio and want to hear them, all you might hear is We're An American Band. In my opinion a POP song. That too me, isn't Grand Funk as I remember them. That is basically the only song the radio stations will play. Give me GFR in the 60's & early 70's, if you want Rock 'n Roll.
-1 #4 GFunkfan 2013-11-05 11:03
While I was (and am) a fan, I think Grand Funk's lack of influence on other acts or the development of music is what keeps them falling short. Good as they were, as fun as they are to listen to, they didn't break any new ground.
+7 #5 Spanky 2014-01-07 06:41
170? The worlds greatest garage bad had 9 top 40 hits and two number 1 singles. They also had at least 11 gold albums. Influence Nirvana, Van Halen, Poison, Bonjovi, Red Hot Chilli Peppers (The song breaking the girl is about them.) And Del Shannon is in with 1 song. And utter miscarriage of justice. BTW David Lee Ross said he decided to go into music after seeing them.
+8 #6 william decker 2014-02-14 14:33
grand funk sold out shea stadium,before the beatles did,should be in the hall of fame just for that alone.1970 atlanta pop festival,played for 180,000.people, they are legends in music.
+3 #7 TheHeights 2014-02-16 07:18
@GFunkfan: you state Grand Funk didn't influence other bands. Check out Spanky's response for that one. But for the statement that they didn't break any new ground, I'll respond to that. Were you around then, I don't think so but maybe you were.

Black Sabbath and Grand Funk defined a new music genre, now called Arena Rock(stupid name). Back then it was called Rock 'n Roll, and these two bands dominated. The Arena Rock tag came along as marketing companies tried to define the market, which now lends itself to well over 100 rock sub-genre;s. What the Sabbath and the Funk did was completely change Rock music as it was known. It now became a hard hitting, pulse thumping, electric guitar strutting sound, which wasn't heard before. If you think their music wasn't that good, maybe you should try listening to it with the lyrics in front of you. Their I Can Feel Him In The Morning, is probably the best written anti-war song every written.

The Railroad deserves to be put into the Hall of Shame over half those already entered. I will guarantee you that more than half of real Rock bands of the past twenty to thirtyfive years will list Grand Funk Railroad as a band that influenced their music.

One group not mentioned that should be in before all is The Muppets. They have been viewed by more musicians than any other group out there. That is factual.
+5 #8 william decker 2014-03-08 15:20
grand funk is the best rock group that ever existed,that's a no brainer.sold out shea stadium ,before the beatles did,that should be enough ,to be in the rock hall of fame
+2 #9 Michael Bishop 2015-01-12 20:24
GFR seems to have influenced both Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, in my view. They pre-dated both groups and one can hear similarities there. Grand Funk certainly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. Multi-platinum albums, sold-out concerts everywhere back in the day. They were huge!

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