George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
George Clinton was a major player in the evolution of R&B in the 1970s with his bands Parliament and Funkadelic. Met with the Disco Degradation of the early 80s and a series of royalty battles, Clinton’s iconic soul-turned-funk sound lives on today as George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, with influences from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. His career is marked by over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number one hits) and three platinum albums: One Nation Under Groove, Uncle Jam Wants You, and Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome.
Clinton formed Parliament in 1955 at the age of 14, practicing in the back room of a barbershop where he straightened hair. It wasn’t until 1967 that Parliament made a hit with the single, “(I Wanna) Testify”. Running into some trouble with the Detroit-based label that produced their hit, Revilot Records, Clinton decided to move forward with the band under a new name: Funkadelic. Both with Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton put together a collective of over 50 musicians in the 70s, inspired by “Motown’s assembly line of sound.” Although Clinton hit the R&B Top Ten chart several times with Parliament, many remember his golden days through his extravagant live shows and dazzling costumes and themes.
Clinton and former members of Parliament/Funkadelic continued to tour throughout the 80’s as P-Funk All Stars, but were faced with trouble as the America's disdain for all things of the 70’s took hold throughout the country. On top of the struggles of keeping afloat during Disco Degradation, Clinton near drowned in a sea of legal difficulties spawning from royalty problems with recordings of over 40 musicians for four labels under three names.
The funk-inspired rap of artists like Digital Underground, Dr. Dre, and Warren G., as well as funk rock artists like Primus and Red Hot Chili Peppers helped to re-establish George Clinton and members of Parliament/Funkadelic as some of the heavyweight players. From Snoop Doggy Dogg to LL Cool J, the foundation of many chart-topping hits heavily depended on the infectious groove found in Clinton’s productions, and Clinton’s music became the soundtrack for the rap movement. Following his renewed respect, Clinton grew his visibility after a string of appearances in movies and commercials. Clinton also composed the theme songs for popular TV programs “The Tracey Ulman Show” and “The PJs”. In 1997, Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.