George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
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George Clinton is best known as the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and began his work as a solo artist in 1981. He has been called one of the most prominent innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, after being inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
During his teen years Clinton formed a doo-wop group called The Parliaments, and 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), the Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies.
These two bands combined the elements of musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Cream, and James Brown while exploring different 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 including classics like “Flashlight” and “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker.”
By the early 1980s, Clinton consolidated the collective’s multiple projects and continued touring under the names “George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars” or “George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic.” Clinton’s efforts as a solo artist began in 1982 and he worked with artists like Prince, Bootsy Collins and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. The remaining members of Parliament-Funkadelic recorded the 1982 hit album “Computer Games”, which was released as a George Clinton solo album. Included on this release was the much-sampled #1 hit single “Atomic Dog”.
The following year, Clinton formed the P-Funk All Stars, who went on to record “Urban Dancefloor Guerillas” in 1983. The P-Funk All Stars included many of the same members as the late-1970s version of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective, and was so named because of various legal issues concerning use of the names Parliament and Funkadelic after 1980. The name P-Funk All Stars is still in use to the current day, and the group has included a mix of former Parliament-Funkadelic members as well as guests and new musicians.
As the 1980s continued, P-Funk did not meet with great commercial success as the band continued to produce albums under the name of George Clinton as solo artist. P-Funk retired from touring from 1984 until 1989, except for extremely sporadic performances and TV appearances. It was at this time that Hip hop music began to extensively sample P-Funk music, so remnants of the music were still heard regularly, now among fans of Hip hop.
In May 1997, George Clinton and 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the largest band yet inducted. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Parliament-Funkadelic #56 on their list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
In February 2002, Spin Magazine ranked Parliament-Funkadelic #6 on their list of the “50 Greatest Bands of All Time.”
P-Funk’s effect on modern popular music is immense. Besides their innovation in the entire genre of funk music, George Clinton and P-Funk are still heard often today, especially in hip-hop sampling. The song “Atomic Dog” is one of the most sampled songs in the History of hip-hop.
Along with Clinton, some of the best known members of the P-Funk All-Stars include bass player William “Bootsy” Collins, whos style of bass playing has become especially influential; keyboardist Bernie Worrell, who pioneered the use of deep, heavy Moog synthesizer to reinforce the bass line; and Walter “Junie” Morrison, who composed or co-wrote several of the band’s hits at the height of their popularity and served as a lead vocalist, producer, and arranger on many songs for the collective.
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