George Clinton/Parliament All-Stars
December 10, 2004
George Clinton is the single most influential figure in the history of funk, the mastermind behind both Parliament & Funkadelic.
Clinton started his career in junior high, founding The Parliaments, a barbershop doo-wop ensemble, which scored a major hit with “I Wanna Testify“ in 1967. Clinton then began experimenting with harmonies, melody and rhythm and taking cues from the psychedelic movement, forever setting himself apart from the Motown era.
“George Clinton is the single most influential figure in the history of funk, the mastermind behind both Parliament & Funkadelic.”
By the early 1970’s, the group’s tight songs evolved into sprawling jams around the funkiest of rhythms. They dropped the “S“ from the band name and Parliament was born. Around the same time, Clinton spawned Funkadelic, a rock group which fused psychedelic guitar distortion, bizarre sound effects, and cosmological rants with danceable beats and booming bass lines which became the definition of funk. Funkadelic made a number of Earth shattering concept albums, focusing the politics facing the planet, with titles like Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, Maggot Brain, and America Eats It’s Young.
Parliament & Funkadelic dominated and revolutionized the music scene in the 1970’s, capturing 40 R&B hit singles and racking up four #1 hits: “Flashlight,“ “One Nation Under a Groove,“ “Aqua Boogie“ and “(Not Just) Knee Deep.“ Clinton’s collaborators included master keyboardist Bernie Worrel, guitarist Eddie Hazel, bassist Bootsy Collins, saxophonist Maceo Parker, trombonist Fred Wesley. On stage, spectacle ruled the day, with an enormous mothership, outrageous costumes, and marathon performances.
In the 1980’s, George Clinton emerged as a successful solo artist. He released Computer Games with the #1 hit single “Atomic Dog,“ produced The Red Hot Chili Peppers pioneering Freaky Styley, and signed onto Prince’s Paisley Park label. He also began to experiment with the urban hip-hop music scene, as a generation of rappers reared on P-Funk began to name-check him.
By 1990, Clinton had become recognized as the godfather of modern urban music. Beats, loops and samples of P-Funk appeared on albums by OutKast, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, De La Soul, Fishbone, and many, many others. As Clinton has said, “Funk is the DNA of hip-hop and rap.“ Clinton also teamed up to create new recordings with artists like Too $hort, Digital Underground, Ice Cube, Q-Tip, Coolio and Redman. In 1996, Clinton released his most recent solo album The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership, which reunited him with Bernie Worrel and Bootsy Collins.
In 1997, George Clinton & Parliament / Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Guitar Center’s Hollywood Rock Walk, and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award at the NAACP Image Awards. In 2002, SPIN magazine voted Parliament/Funkadelic #6 of the 50 Greatest Band of All Time.
At the dawn of the new millennium, the Parliament/Funkadelic juggernaut has shown no signs of slowing down, remaining active on the recording and touring fronts. The line-up includes both original band members, such as guitarist Gary Shider, guitarist Dewayne “Blackbyrd“ McKnight, guitarist Mike Hampton, and bassists William “Billy Bass“ Nelson and Cardell “Boogie“ Mosson, along with fresh new voices with sometimes as many as 30 people appearing on stage at once. In the summer of 2002, George Clinton & Parliament/ Funkadelic completed an ambitious world tour of the United States, Europe, Australia, and Japan.