George Clinton (musician)

Last updated
George Clinton
George Clinton in Centreville.jpg
Clinton performing in Centreville, Virginia, 2007
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Edward Clinton
Born (1941-07-22) July 22, 1941 (age 78)
Kannapolis, North Carolina, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • bandleader
Years active1955–present [3]
Labels
Associated acts
Website georgeclinton.com

George Edward Clinton [4] (born July 22, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer. [5] His Parliament-Funkadelic collective (which primarily recorded under the distinct band names Parliament and Funkadelic) developed an influential and eclectic form of funk music during the 1970s that drew on science fiction, outlandish fashion, psychedelic culture, and surreal humor. [6] He launched a solo career with the 1982 album Computer Games and would go on to influence 1990s hip-hop and G-funk. [1] He is regarded, along with James Brown and Sly Stone, as one of the foremost innovators of funk music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, alongside 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. In 2019, he and Parliament-Funkadelic were given Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Contents

Career

Beginnings

Clinton was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, United States, [5] grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida. During his teen years Clinton formed a doo-wop group inspired by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers called The Parliaments, while straightening hair at a barber salon in Plainfield [7]

The West End of Plainfield, New Jersey was once home to the Silk Palace, a barbershop at 216 Plainfield Avenue owned in part by Clinton, staffed by various members of Parliament-Funkadelic and known as the "hangout for all the local singers and musicians" in Plainfield's 1950s and 1960s doo-wop, soul, rock and proto-funk music scene. [8] [9] [10]

1960s and 1970s

For a period in the 1960s Clinton was a staff songwriter for Motown. Despite initial commercial failure and one major hit single, ("(I Wanna) Testify" in 1967), as well as arranging and producing scores of singles on many of the independent Detroit soul music labels, The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the 1970s (see also P-Funk). These two bands combined the elements of musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Frank Zappa, and James Brown while exploring various sounds, technology, and lyricism. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic dominated diverse music during the 1970s with over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and three platinum albums.

From 1971 to late 1973, Clinton and several other members of the band settled in Toronto. During the years in Toronto, they honed their live show and recorded the album America Eats Its Young , which was their first to feature Bootsy Collins.

1980s

In the 1980s, Clinton began to encounter legal difficulties arising from PolyGram's acquisition of Parliament‘s label, Casablanca Records. [11] He recorded several solo albums, although all of these records featured contributions from P-Funk's core musicians. This period of Clinton's career was marred by multiple legal problems resulting in financial difficulties due to royalty and copyright issues, notably with Bridgeport Music, who Clinton claims fraudulently obtained the copyrights to many of his recordings. [12]

In 1982, Clinton was signed to Capitol Records under two names: his own as a solo artist, and as the P-Funk All-Stars, releasing Computer Games under his own name that same year. [1] The single "Loopzilla" hit the Top 20 on the R&B charts, followed by "Atomic Dog", which reached #1 R&B and #101 on the pop chart. [1] In the next four years, Clinton released three more studio albums ( You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish , Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends , and R&B Skeletons in the Closet ) as well as a live album, Mothership Connection (Live from the Summit, Houston, Texas) and charting three singles in the R&B Top 30, "Nubian Nut", "Last Dance", and "Do Fries Go with That Shake?".

He is also a notable music producer who works on almost all the albums he performs on, and has produced albums for Bootsy Collins and Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. In 1985, he was recruited by the Chili Peppers to produce their album Freaky Styley , because the band members were huge fans of George Clinton's and of funk in general. Clinton, wrote the vocals and lyrics to the title track, which was originally intended by the band to be left as an instrumental piece. The album was not a commercial success at the time. In 1987, Clinton was recruited to write the theme song for The Tracey Ullman Show , "You're Thinking Right".

Influence

During the mid to late 1980s, many hip-hop and rap artists cited Clinton's earlier music as an influence. Along with James Brown, Clinton's songs with Parliament-Funkadelic were often sampled by rap producers. [13] "Sure, sample my stuff…" he remarked in 1996. "Ain't a better time to get paid than when you're my age. You know what to do with money. You don't buy as much pussy or drugs with it – you just buy some." [14]

In 1989, Clinton released The Cinderella Theory on Paisley Park, Prince's record label. This was followed by Hey Man, Smell My Finger in 1993. Clinton then signed with Sony 550 and released T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership) in 1996.

1990s to 2000s

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic performing at Pori Jazz 2014 in Finland. George Clinton at Pori Jazz 2014.jpg
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic performing at Pori Jazz 2014 in Finland.

1994 saw Clinton contribute to several tracks on Primal Scream's studio album Give Out But Don't Give Up . In 1995, Clinton sang "Mind Games" on the John Lennon tribute Working Class Hero . In the 1990s, Clinton appeared in films such as Graffiti Bridge (1990), House Party (1990), PCU (1994), Good Burger (1997), and The Breaks (1999). In 1997, he appeared as himself in the Cartoon Network show Space Ghost Coast to Coast . Clinton also appeared as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the funk radio station Bounce FM in the 2004 video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas , in which his song "Loopzilla" also appeared.

Rapper Dr. Dre sampled most of Clinton's beats to create his G-Funk music era. In 1999, Clinton collaborated with Lil' Kim and Fred Durst for rap metal group Methods of Mayhem's single "Get Naked". [15]

Displaying his influence on rap and hip hop, Clinton also worked with Tupac Shakur on the song "Can't C Me" from the album All Eyez on Me ; Ice Cube on the song and video for "Bop Gun (One Nation)" on the Lethal Injection album (which sampled Funkadelic's earlier hit "One Nation Under A Groove"); Outkast on the song "Synthesizer" from the album Aquemini ; Redman on the song "J.U.M.P." from the album Malpractice ; Souls of Mischief on "Mama Knows Best" from the album Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution ; Killah Priest on "Come With me" from the album Priesthood ; the Wu Tang Clan on "Wolves" from the album 8 Diagrams .

Clinton founded a record label called The C Kunspyruhzy in 2003. He had a cameo appearance in "Where Were We?", the season two premiere of the CBS television sitcom How I Met Your Mother , on September 18, 2006.

He appeared on the intro to Snoop Dogg's Tha Blue Carpet Treatment album, released in 2007. Clinton was also a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers. [16]

On September 16, 2008, Clinton released a solo album, George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love on Shanachie Records. Largely a covers album, Gangsters features guest appearances from Sly Stone, El DeBarge, Red Hot Chili Peppers, RZA, Carlos Santana, gospel singer Kim Burrell and more. [17]

On September 10, 2009, George Clinton was awarded the Urban Icon Award from Broadcast Music Incorporated. [18] The ceremony featured former P-Funk associate Bootsy Collins, as well contemporary performers such as Big Boi from Outkast and Cee-Lo Green from Goodie Mob.

Also in 2009, Clinton was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. [19]

2010s

On March 7, 2010, Clinton voiced a colorful blob alien version of himself in T-Pain's Adult Swim television movie Freaknik: The Musical .

In May 2012, Clinton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. During the commencement concert, Clinton joined the college's P-Funk Ensemble to perform hits like “Testify,” “Give Up the Funk,” and “One Nation Under a Groove." He was accompanied by longtime horn players Bennie Cowan and Greg Thomas. [20]

Clinton was a guest star in Odd Future's television show Loiter Squad on Adult Swim in 2013.

On June 27, 2015, Clinton joined Mark Ronson, Mary J. Blige and Grandmaster Flash on stage at the Glastonbury Festival to perform Ronson's hit Uptown Funk. [21] Clinton also appears with Kendrick Lamar on the song "Wesley's Theory" from the album To Pimp a Butterfly.

In March 2017, Clinton appeared on the Adult Swim television series FishCenter Live . The Outline 's Samuel Argyle described it as "[t]he episode that makes the most cohesive narrative sense." [22]

Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic are slated to headline the seventh annual Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho in 2018. [23] The release of a new Parliament album, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, was announced in March 2018. It was released May 22.

In April 2018, Clinton announced that he would retire from touring in May 2019. Billboard reported that Clinton had recently undergone pacemaker surgery, but he said that was not a factor in his decision. [24] He indicated that he expected Parliament-Funkadelic would continue to tour without him, saying "Truth be told, it's never really been about me. It's always been about the music and the band. That's the real P-Funk legacy. They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." Earlier in 2018, he told Rolling Stone that he had made a hologram, suggesting that the band could "have it start performing in Vegas". [25]

In December 2018, the Recording Academy announced that Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic would be given Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awards will be presented on May 11, 2019. [26] [27] [28]

Clinton collaborated with Flying Lotus on his new album Flamagra released on May 24, 2019. The track "Burning Down the House" was co-written by Clinton. [29]

Personal life

Clinton married Stephanie Lynn Clinton in 1990. In February 2013, after 22 years of marriage, he filed for divorce. [30]

Clinton is currently married to Carlon Thompson-Clinton, his manager of over 10 years. [31]

On February 1, 2010, Clinton's 50-year-old son, George Clinton, Jr., was found dead in his Florida home. According to police, he died of natural causes and had been dead for several days. [32]

Discography

Studio albums

YearAlbum informationPeak chart positions
US US
R&B
1982 Computer Games 403
1983 You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:
10218
1985 Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:
16317
1986 R&B Skeletons in the Closet
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:
8117
1989 The Cinderella Theory 19275
1993 Hey Man, Smell My Finger
  • Released:
  • Label: Paisley Park Records
  • Format:
14531
Dope Dogs
  • Released:
  • Label: XYZ
  • Format:
1996 T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. 121
2005 How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?
  • Released: September 6, 2005
  • Label: The C Kunspyruhzy
  • Format: CD
2008 George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love
  • Released: September 16, 2008
  • Label: Shanachie
  • Format: CD
34
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Live albums

YearAlbum information
1976 The Mothership Connection – Live from Houston
1990 Live at the Beverly Theater
1995 Mothership Connection Newberg Session
  • Released:
  • Label: P-Vine
  • Format:
2004500,000 Kilowatts of P-Funk Power (Live)
  • Released:
  • Label: Fruit Tree
  • Format:
2006Take It To The Stage (Live)
  • Released:
  • Label: Music Avenue
  • Format:
2015P-Funk Live at Metropolis
  • Released: July 31, 2015
  • Label: Metropolis
  • Format: Vinyl, CD, DVD

Family Series albums

YearTitleLabel
1992 Go Fer Yer Funk Nocturne
Plush Funk Nocturne
1993 P Is the Funk Nocturne
Testing Positive 4 the Funk AEM
A Fifth of Funk AEM
1995 The Best (compilation)P-Vine

EPs

YearAlbum information
1988Atomic Clinton! (EP)
1990Atomic Dog (EP)
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:

Solo singles

YearTitlePeak chart positionsAlbum
US
R&B
US Dance UK
1982"Loopzilla"194857 Computer Games
"Atomic Dog"13894
1983"Nubian Nut"15 You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish
1986"Do Fries Go with That Shake?"1357 R&B Skeletons in the Closet
"R&B Skeletons (In the Closet)"
1989"Why Should I Dog You Out?" The Cinderella Theory
"Tweakin'"
1993"Paint the White House Black" Hey Man, Smell My Finger
"Martial Law"
1996"If Anybody Gets Funked Up (It's Gonna Be You)" (as George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars)1397 T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Contributions

Related Research Articles

P-Funk repertoire, musical style, and/or group of performers associated with George Clinton

P-Funk refers to the repertoire, musical style, and/or group of performers associated with George Clinton. The term is variously known as an abbreviation of Parliament-Funkadelic, Psychedelic Funk, Pure Funk, or Plainfield Funk.

Parliament-Funkadelic American band

Parliament-Funkadelic is an American funk music collective of rotating musicians headed by George Clinton, primarily consisting of the individual bands Parliament and Funkadelic, both active since the 1960s. Their distinctive funk style drew on psychedelic culture, outlandish fashion, science-fiction, and surreal humor; it would have an influential effect on subsequent funk, post-punk, hip-hop, and post-disco artists of the 1980s and 1990s, while their collective mythology would help pioneer Afrofuturism.

Parliament (band) American funk band most prominent during the 1970s

Parliament was a funk band formed in the late 1960s by George Clinton as part of his Parliament-Funkadelic collective. Less rock-oriented than its sister act Funkadelic, Parliament drew on science-fiction and outlandish performances in their work. The band scored a number of Top 10 hits, including the million-selling 1975 single "Give Up the Funk ," and Top 40 albums such as Mothership Connection (1975).

The P-Funk mythology is a group of recurring characters, themes, and ideas primarily contained in the output of George Clinton's bands Parliament and Funkadelic. This "funkology" was outlined in album liner notes and song lyrics, in addition to album artwork, costumes, advertisements, and stage banter. P-Funk's "Dr. Seussian afrofunk" is often cited as a critical component of the Afrofuturism movement.

Funkadelic was an American band that was most prominent during the 1970s. The band and its sister act Parliament, both led by George Clinton, pioneered the funk music culture of that decade. Relative to its sister act, Funkadelic pursued a heavier, Psychedelic Rock-oriented sound.

Eddie Hazel American guitarist

Edward Earl Hazel was an American guitarist and singer in early funk music in the United States who played lead guitar with Parliament-Funkadelic. Hazel was a posthumous inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

<i>America Eats Its Young</i> 1972 studio album by Funkadelic

America Eats Its Young is the fourth album by Funkadelic, released in May of 1972. This was the first album to include the whole of the House Guests, including Bootsy Collins, Catfish Collins, Chicken Gunnels, Rob McCollough and Kash Waddy. It also features the Plainfield-based band U.S.(United Soul), which consisted of guitarist Garry Shider and bassist Cordell Mosson, on most of the tracks. Unlike previous Funkadelic albums, America Eats Its Young was recorded in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and in the UK. The original vinyl version contained a poster illustrated by Cathy Abel. The bottom of the poster features the first widespread appearance of the Funkadelic logo, which would later appear on the cover of the album Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On.

<i>Hardcore Jollies</i> 1976 studio album by Funkadelic

Hardcore Jollies is the ninth studio album by the funk band Funkadelic, released on October 29, 1976 by Warner Bros. Records, their first album to be issued on a major label. It is dedicated to "the guitar players of the world." Originally, the first side of the album was called "Osmosis Phase 1" and the second side was "Terribitus Phase 2." Hardcore Jollies was released one month after Funkadelic's last album for Westbound Records, Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, which was made up tracks recorded at the same sessions.

Clarence Eugene "Fuzzy" Haskins is a former singer with 1950s and 1960s doo-wop group, The Parliaments. He is a founding member of the groundbreaking and influential 1970s funk bands Parliament and Funkadelic, also known as Parliament-Funkadelic. He left Parliament-Funkadelic in 1977 to pursue a solo career. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Bootsy Collins American musician and singer-songwriter

William Earl "Bootsy" Collins is an American musician and singer-songwriter.

Garry Shider American musician

Garry Marshall Shider was an American musician and guitarist. He was musical director of the P-Funk All-Stars for much of their history. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

<i>Stretchin Out in Bootsys Rubber Band</i> 1976 studio album by Bootsys Rubber Band

Stretchin' Out in Bootsy's Rubber Band is the first album by American funk and soul band Bootsy's Rubber Band, an offshoot act of Parliament-Funkadelic led by bassist and vocalist William "Bootsy" Collins. It was released on January 30, 1976, on Warner Bros. Records.

Cordell "Boogie" Mosson was a Grammy award winning American bassist who was a member of Parliament-Funkadelic.

(Not Just) Knee Deep song

"(Not Just) Knee Deep" is a funk song, with a running time of 15 minutes, 21 seconds, on Side 1 of Funkadelic's 1979 album Uncle Jam Wants You.

Jerome Brailey American drummer

Jerome Eugene "Bigfoot" Brailey is an American drummer, best known for his work with P-Funk, which included the bands Parliament, Funkadelic, and numerous related projects. Brailey is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Let Me Ride 1993 single by Dr. Dre featuring Jewell and Snoop Doggy Dogg

"Let Me Ride" is a 1993 single by rapper and producer Dr. Dre, and the third single from his debut studio album, The Chronic. It experienced moderate success on the charts, until it became a massive hit when Dre won a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance for the song during the Grammy Awards of 1994. The chorus is sung by Ruben and Jewell, and Snoop Dogg raps the line "Rollin' in my 6-4" and appears in some background vocals.

<i>Zapp</i> (album) 1980 studio album by Zapp

Zapp is the debut studio album by the American funk band Zapp, released on July 28, 1980 by Warner Bros. Records. The album's style was highly similar to Parliament-Funkadelic, as the band was working with and being mentored by both Parliament members William Earl "Bootsy" Collins and George Clinton during the album's production. The album was produced by Zapp frontman Roger Troutman and Bootsy. The Troutman family of the Zapp band had close ties with the Collins family, both being Ohio natives. This friendship proved instrumental in Zapp gaining a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1979. Zapp was recorded between late 1979 and early 1980 at the United Sound Systems in Detroit, Michigan, of which Parliament-Funkadelic frequented.

Zapp (band) American funk band from Dayton, Ohio

Zapp is an American funk band that emerged from Dayton, Ohio, in 1977. Particularly influential in the electro subgenre of funk, Zapp were known for their trademark use of the talk-box effect. The original line-up consisted of four Troutman brothers—frontman Roger, Larry, Lester and Terry—and non-Troutman family members Bobby Glover, Gregory Jackson, Sherman Fleetwood, Jerome Derrickson, Eddie Barber and Jannetta Boyce. Zapp also worked closely with George Clinton and Bootsy Collins of Parliament-Funkadelic during its early stages, their support being a factor in the group gaining a record deal with Warner Bros. Records in 1979.

<i>Play with Bootsy</i> 2002 studio album by Bootsy Collins

Play with Bootsy is an album by Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins. The album was originally released in 2002 by East-West Records, which is distributed by the Warner Music Group in Germany and by Warner Music-Japan. It was later released in the U.S. by Thump Records. The album represents Bootsy's 12th studio album. The album features a number of prominent rappers/musicians including Snoop Dogg, Fat Joe, Daz, Bobby Womack, Chuck D, and Lady Miss Kier from Deee Lite.

References

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  9. Sammy Campbell and the Del Larks - Classic Urban Harmony. classicurbanharmony.net/wp-content/uploads/.../Sammy-Campbell-The-Del-Larks.pdf by T Ashley. The story of the Del Larks revolves around the extensive music careers of two individuals; Sammy. Campbell and Ron Taylor.
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  14. Q , 1996, precise date unknown.
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  22. Argyle, Samuel (29 March 2019). "A fantasy getaway in a fish tank". The Outline . theoutline.com. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
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Further reading