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Clinton, George

George Clinton

Singer, songwriter, producer

Fled Music Biz for Hairdressing

Birth of Parliament/Funkadelic

Blacks in Space

Went Solo

Made Significant Mark on Rap Music

Selected discography

Sources

George Edward Clinton was born in an outhouse in poverty-ridden Kannapolis, North Carolina, on July 22, 1941, ensuring that, eventually, the music world would be jarred for over three decades by monstrous funk and rhinestone rap n rock. Moving from Kannapolis to Washington D.C. to Virginia, the Clinton family finally settled in Newark, New Jersey. Clintons first job was at the Wham-O hula-hoop factory, where he worked as a foreman during junior high school. At the tender age of 14 Clinton founded a doo-wop group called the Parliaments with Charles Davis, Gene Boykins, and Herbie Jenkins. The group played at local hops, school dances, and on street corners. By day, when not in school, group members styled hair at a Plainfield, New Jersey, barbershop called the Tonsorial Parlor.

In 1956 the Parliamentsthen comprised of Clinton, Davis, Robert Walkin Pneumonia Lambert, Grady Thomas, and Calvin Simonrecorded for the first time in a record booth in Newark; they sang The Wind and Sunday Kind Of Love. Two years later they recorded a pair of songs for Hull RecordsPoor Willie and Party Boys, and the following year, Lonely Island and Cry. In June of 1959 the Hull recordings were released on ABC records, a Paramount Films subsidiary label, but sales were not heartening. In 1962 Clinton started working for Jobete, the New York branch of Motown Recordss publishing company. A year later a somewhat altered Parliaments lineup went to Detroit for an audition in the Motown offices, but met with little success. Looking for other avenues for his burgeoning musical entrepreneurship, Clinton began producing records on a free-lance basis.

In 1964 the Parliaments cut various demo tapes for Jobete, including Im Into Something, I Cant Shake It Loose, later recorded by the Supremes, Ill Bet You, later recorded by the Jackson Five, and the original version of I Misjudged You, which would later appear on the platinum-selling Chocolate City album that Clinton produced with his group, Parliament, in 1975. Although copies of I Misjudged You were eventually pressed by VIP Records, a subsidiary of Motown, Motown chose not to release any of the Parliaments original recordings.

Fled Music Biz for Hairdressing

Also in 1964, Ed Wingate opened the Golden World recording studio in Detroit and founded two labels: Golden World and Ric-Tic. Clinton sensed opportunity there and joined forces with ex-Jobete coworker Sydney Barnes and Motown saxophonist Mike Terry to create a production team called Geo-Si-Mik. For two years Clinton flew to Detroit each Monday and returned

For the Record

Born George Edward Clinton, July 22, 1941, in Kannapolis, NC; the first of nine children born to Julia Keaton; children: Tracey Lewis (son).

Singer, songwriter, producer, and funk institution, c. 1968. Worked as a hairdresser at the Uptown Tonsorial Parlor, Plainfield, NJ, c. 1955-67. Formed doo-wop group the Parliaments, Newark, NJ, 1955; masterminded groups Funkadelic, 1968, and Parliament, 1970, Uncle Jam record label, 1980, and mega-group the P-Funk All-Stars, 1983; also helped spawn the Parliament/Funkadelic satellite bands Zapp, Parlet, Bootsys Rubber Band, the Horny Horns, and the Brides of Funkenstein.

Has collaborated with guitarists Eddie Hazel, Lucius Tunia Tawl Ross, Phelps Catfish Collins, Garry Shider, DeWayne Blackbyrd McKnight, Michael Hampton, and Cordell Boogie Mosson, bassists William Billy Bass Nelson, Jr., and William Bootsy Collins, drummers Ramon Tiki Fulwood, Frankie Rash Waddy, and Tyrone Lampkin, and keyboard player Bernard Bernie DaVinci Worrell. Began solo career, 1982. Produced Red Hot Chili Peppers record Freaky Styley, EMI, 1985; worked with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Appeared in film House Party, 1989, and began work on Parliament/Funkadelic-based science fiction/comedy film, 1991.

Awards: Platinum records for Parliaments Chocolate City and Mothership Connection, and for Funkadelics One Nation Under a Groove.

Addresses: Record company Paisley Park Records, Warner Bros., 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10022. OtherPeter Jebsen, New Funk Times, c/o Funkateers International, Dept. WB-UK, Ehrenstrasse 19, 5000 Koln 1, Germany.

to New Jersey each Friday to work at the barbershop over the busy weekends. In 1965 and 1966 Geo-Si-Mik produced Pat Lewiss Cant Shake It Loose, Theresa Lindseys Ill Bet You, and J. J. Barness Day Tripper. Clinton alone produced the Fantastic Fours single Girl Have Pity in 1966 as well as Lewiss Look at What I Almost Missed. Around this time Wingates business partner, LeBaron Taylor, founded his own labels called Revilot and Solid Hit. In late 1966 the Parliaments recorded two songs for Revilot, I Want To Testify, and I Can Feel the Ice Melting, but the many difficulties of making inroads into the music business finally frustrated Clinton, who decided to move back to New Jersey and work full-time in the barbershop.

Clinton wasnt discouraged for long, however; on February 9, 1967 (I Just Wanna) Testify rose to Number 20 on the pop charts and to Number Five on the rhythm and blues chartsmore than half a year after it was recorded. The Parliaments next single, All Your Goodies Are Gone (The Losers Seat)cut in a single session with A New Day Begins, Ill Wait, Little Man, The Goose (That Laid the Golden Egg), Time, and a cover of The Beatles Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Bandalso did well on the charts. By then the Parliaments were backed by Eddie Hazel on lead guitar, Lucius Tunia Tawl Ross on rhythm guitar, William Billy Bass Nelson, Jr., on bass, and Ramon Tiki Fulwood on drums. Clinton and his cohorts moved to Detroit in 1967. Despite the growing success of the Parliaments, however, Clinton continued his outside projects, cowriting and coproducing the Flaming Embers Hey Mamma (Whatcha Got Good for Daddy) and Pat Lewiss Ill Wait, and cowriting J. J. Barness So Called Friends and the Debonaires Loving You Takes All My Time and Headache in My Heart.

In 1968 Golden World recording and publishing was bought out by Motowns Berry Gordy, and its cofounder, LeBaron Taylor, leased the Parliaments single A New Day Begins to Atlantic subsidiary Atco. Soon after, Taylors Revilot label folded without paying any money to the Parliaments; they survived primarily by touring. Just prior to Motowns purchase of Golden World and the demise of Revilot, however, Clinton had recruited his Parliaments support musicians to form a new group called Funkadelic. The concept behind the name stemmed from the funk of Godfather of Soul James Brown and the psychedelics of the MC5 and the Stooges, two Detroit bands Clinton came to know and appreciate. In late 1968 Bernard Bernie DaVinci Worrell, a classically trained keyboard wizard, joined Funkadelic. Backing Rose Williams, Clinton and posse recorded Whatever Makes My Baby Feel Good and released it on their own Funkadelic label.

Birth of Parliament/Funkadelic

Around this time Clinton temporarily lost the right to use the name the Parliaments due to legal differences among various record labels. He won it back shortly thereafter, but decided nonetheless to drop the s and use the name Parliament. When former Motown songwriting team Holland-Dozier-Holland formed their Invictus label in 1967, they signed Parliament. At this point Clinton found himself in the rare position of leading two on-the-rise bandsParliament and Funkadelicsimultaneously.

There is, however, some contention over Clintons role in the formation of Funkadelic, now widely held to be the first black rock banddefined most notably by the groups screaming guitar sound (Parliaments reputation eventually evolved more toward funk and dance grooves). Bassist for Funkadelic from 1966 to 1972, Billy Bass Nelson, Jr., in a 1992 issue of Guitar Player magazine, refocused the origins of the band. Nelson gave ample credit for the inauguration of Funkadelic to guitarist Eddie Hazel, but claimed, The truth of the matter is that if I hadnt gone out on the road with the Parliaments in 1967, there wouldnt be any such group as Funkadelic. I brought all of the original members to the group, with the exception of the original rhythm guitarist, Tawl Ross.

Despite the varied accounts of Funkadelics conception, it is certain that its birth coincided with that of Detroit entrepreneur Armen Boladians Westbound Records; Westbound released the Funkadelic single Music for My Mother and the bands debut album, Funkadelic, which was recorded in 1968 and 1969 and featured three musiciansMickey Atkins, Motowns Ivy Hunter, and Bernie Worrellon keyboards.

In 1970 Parliament released its debut album, Osmium, on the Invictus label. Funkadelic followed closely behind, releasing Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow on Westbound. In March of 1970 the first Parliament LP rose to Number 126 on the pop charts and Number Eight on the rhythm and blues charts. Funkadelics Free Your Mind hit Number 92 on the pop charts and Number 11 on the rhythm and blues charts. Despite its Number Eight position on the R & B charts, Parliaments Osmium was considered a flop and Billy Bass Nelson and Tawl Ross left the band. In 1971 Funkadelic released Maggot Brain, which was largely a comment on the Vietnam War. Almost from the start, a core group of musicians participated in the production of both Parliament and Funkadelic records. By 1972 the lineup included singer-guitarist Garry Shider and guitarist Cordell Boogie Mosson, both from the band United Soul, and drummer Tyrone Lampkin, of Gutbucket.

In 1972 bass player Bootsy Collins, his guitarist brother Catfish, and drummer Frankie Rash Waddyall former sideman for James Brownjoined the group of more than 25 musicians then working with Clinton in Parliament and Funkadelic. Bootsy Collins was soon cowriting and coproducing much of the groups music; he added a distinctive new groove to their sound. Funkadelics 1972 album, America Eats Its Young, was an example of the fresh, creative boost Collins delivered. The album was recorded partly in London with Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller.

1973 saw Funkadelic record Cosmic Slop, which Clinton considered the closest thing to his original concept for the group. Later that year the Collins brothers and Waddy took a respite from Parliament/Funkadelics constant touring to form their own band, Complete Strangers, which failed to produce a hit. In 1974 Funkadelic released Standing on the Verge of Getting It On and Parliament unveiled Up for the Down Stroke, both on Casablanca Records. Bootsy Collins returned as a session player then, and songwriter and ex-Madhouse singer-drummer Gary Mudbone Cooper joined Parliament/Funkadelic.

Blacks in Space

In 1975 Funkadelics Lets Take It to the Stage was released, introducing William Collinss electronically enhanced Bootsy vocals on Be My Beach. Funkadelic put out a greatest hits package that year. Also in 1975, Parliament released Chocolate City and Mothership Connection, and singer-guitarist Glenn Goins, guitarist Michael Kidd Funkadelic Hampton, and drummer Jerome Brailey were added to the fast-growing funk mob. The expression P-Funk was coined for ParliamentP as in pureand Clinton introduced the notion of blacks in space, creating a thriving world of fictional musical characters like Dr. Funkenstein, Sir Nose DVoidoffunk, and Star Child. Both Chocolate City and Mothership Connection were million-sellers.

1976 was a fertile year for Clinton and company; four new albums were released by the prolific, popular, funk machine: Funkadelics Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, the last album on Westbound, and Hardcore Jollies, their first on Warner Bros., Parliaments The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, and Bootsys Rubber Bands debut, Stretchin out in Bootsys Rubber Band. Bootsys Rubber Band was one of Parliament/Funkadelics most successful spinoffs; Stretchin out went platinum. By then Collins had begun to embody various characters on his recordings and onstage, including Bootsy, the diamond-cool rhinestone rock star, Bootzilla, Bootsys mischief-making evil twin, and Casper the Friendly Ghost, the latter inspired by the cartoon character. Other satellite Parliament/Funkadelic groups were Zapp, the Brides of Funkenstein, Fred Wesley and The Horny Horns, Parlet, Sweat Band, and Godmoma.

Not slowing down in 1977, Funkadelic released The Best of the Early Years, Vol. I, a Westbound compilation, and Parliament rustled up Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome and Live, P-Funk Earth Tour. Bootsys Rubber Band came out with the cash-register-ringing Ahh The Name Is Bootsy, Baby! Parliament/Funkadelic spawned several solo albums that year as well, including Fuzzy Haskinss A Whole Nother Thang, Eddie Hazels Games, Dames, and Guitar Things, and Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns A Blow for Me, A Toot to You. But it was in 1978 that funk music reached its peak. Funkadelics platinum One Nation Under A Groove took music charts by storm, landing at Number One on the rhythm and blues charts, Number 28 on the pop charts and even Number Nine on the British pop charts. That year also saw the release of Parliaments Motor Booty Affair, Bootsys Rubber Bands Player of the Year, Fuzzy Haskinss Radio Active and Bernie Worrells All the Woo in the World. Parliament/Funkadelic singers Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry teamed up to form the Brides of Funkenstein, while their colleagues Mallia Franklin, Jeanette Washington, and Shirley Hayden created the group Parlet. All these culminated in the monstrous 1978-1979 Parliafunkadelicment Mothership Connection tourcomplete with space craft descending onstage to reveal a spaced-out Clinton, recounted Guitar Player which presented a hefty sampling of Parliament/Funkadelic personnel, filled large auditoriums all over the country, and consistently kept audiences dancing well into the wee hours.

Went Solo

After the 1979 release of Funkadelics Uncle Jam Wants You, which boasted the popular tune (Not Just) Knee Deep, Parliaments Gloryhallastoopid, and a host of adjunct offerings, Clinton moved to a country retreat west of Detroit and announced that he wished to retire from the grind of live performance to concentrate on production and start his own record label, Uncle Jam Records. In 1980 Uncle Jam produced records for the Sweat Band and Philippe Wynne. Clinton was also busy with Parliament and Parlet in the studio that year. Then, in a glimpse of troubles to come, former Funkadelic members Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas erroneously claimed that they owned 42.9 percent of the name Funkadelic and released an album titled 42.9 Percent, the name of which was eventually changed to Connections & Disconnections.

After having sold over ten million funk albums in the U.S. alone, Clinton began to encounter legal disputes: numerous lawsuits involving his organization, several record companies, and disgruntled musicians brought his musical activities to a standstill in 1980. Clinton was able to produce Funkadelics 1981 LP, the Electric Spanking of War Babies, which featured rhythm and blues star Sly Stone, however, before his break from Parliament/Funkadelic became officially mandated.

The following year, in spite of his legal battles, Clinton managed to obtain a recording contract for a solo deal with Capitol Records. His first solo album, Computer Games, produced the infectious, bark-laden hit Atomic Dog. Clinton followed up Dog with a second release on Capitol, You Shouldnt-Nuf Bit Fish. His next move was to create the P-Funk All-Stars. The All-Stars continued the Parliament/Funkadelic groove with Urban Dance Floor Guerilla, released by Uncle Jam/CBS, which featured revered rhythm and blues songsmith Bobby Womack, Sly Stone, and Philippe Wynne. 1985 saw the release of Clintons third solo effort, Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends. Not content to rest on his laurels, Clinton in 1985 also produced Freaky Styley for the popular funk/metal outfit the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and an album for his brother, Jimmy Giles, called Federation of Tackheads.

The last Clinton albums on Capitol Records, in 1986, were R & B Skeletons in the Closet featuring the single Do Fries Go With That ShakeThe Best of George Clinton, and The Mothership Connection Live From Houston. 1988 witnessed the reunion of Clinton and Bootsy Collins on the production of the Incorporated Thang Bands Lifestyles of the Roach and Famous. The enormous influence of Clintons work on subsequent generations of musicians became apparent in 1989 when the New York rap duo De La Soul scored a major hit with Me Myself and I, which sampled lengthy sections of Funkadelics (Not Just) Knee Deep. Further testimony to Clintons authority was mega-star Princes request that he cut a record on Princes Paisley Park label. The result was 1989s The Cinderella Theory, which marked Clintons formal signing on at Paisley Park. Clinton wrapped up the eighties with a P-Funk All-Star tour of the U.S. and Japan, work on African a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazos Scatter the Fire, and a cameo appearance in the sleeper-hit feature film House Party.

Made Significant Mark on Rap Music

A tireless performer, Clinton and the All-Stars toured Europe twice in 1990. In fact, the early nineties were exceptionally kind to the father of funk. Aside from the homage paid him by fellow artiststhe Beastie Boys, Jungle Brothers, Public Enemy, Stetsasonic, Ice Cube, Grace Jones, L.L. Cool J, Hammer, Queen Latifah, Young M.C., and Herbie Hancocka general resurgence of interest in black dance music of the 1970s ushered in extensive reissues of classic Parliament and Funkadelic albums, which paved the way, after thirty-five years, for more original funk bombs from Clinton and his far-flung cohorts. Clinton was onstage again in the fall of 1991 at New York Citys Palladium with P-Funk All-Star guitarists Blackbyrd McKnight, Garry Shider, Boogie Mosson, and Eddie Hazel, drummer DeAnthony Tony T Thomas, and bass player Rodney Skeets Curtis. Shider stalked the stage in his signature diaper while Clinton, sporting multi-colored hair and a graffiti-sprayed toga, led the crowd in chants. It was probably the largest, rowdiest, funkiest pep rally the city has ever seen, reported Guitar Player.

Although its rarely clear where Clinton will turn up nexta movie, a new album, behind the scenes, or on stagethe result is sure to be stupefyingly funny and funky. He told Uncut Funk magazines David Mills in 1990, Prince keeps telling me that he wants everyone to know who I am, know the history. Once you get to the top, you aint got nowhere to go. I enjoy chasing it. As long as I know Im right behind it, or almost there, Im happy. When I get a hit record, then I can groove for a minute. Im glad the rappers and all those [have] kept the funk alive.

Selected discography

Funkadelic LPs

Funkadelic, Westbound, 1969.

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, Westbound, 1970.

Maggot Brain, Westbound, 1971.

America Eats Its Young, Westbound, 1972.

Cosmic Slop, Westbound, 1973.

Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, Casablanca, 1974.

Lets Take It to the Stage, Westbound, 1975.

Greatest Hits, Westbound, 1975.

Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, Westbound, 1976.

Hardcore Jollies, Warner Bros., 1976.

The Best of the Early Years, Volume I, Westbound, 1977.

One Nation Under a Groove, Warner Bros., 1978.

Uncle Jam Wants You, Warner Bros., 1979.

The Electric Spanking of War Babies, Warner Bros., 1981.

By Way of the Drum, MCA, 1992.

Parliament LPs

Osmium, Invictus, 1970.

Up for the Down Stroke, Casablanca, 1974.

Chocolate City, Casablanca, 1975.

Mothership Connection, Casablanca, 1975.

The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Casablanca, 1976.

Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, Casablanca, 1977.

Live, P-Funk Earth Tour, Casablanca, 1977.

Motor Booty Affair, Casablanca, 1978.

Gloryhallastoopid, Casablanca, 1979.

Trombipulation, Casablanca, 1980.

Other

(Sweat Band) Sweat Band, Uncle Jam, 1980.

(Philippe Wynne) Wynne Jammin, Uncle Jam, 1980.

(P-Funk All-Stars) Urban Dance Floor Guerilla, Uncle Jam/CBS, 1983.

Solo LPs

Computer Games, Capitol, 1982.

You Shouldnt Nuf-Bit Fish, Capitol, 1983.

Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends, Capitol, 1985.

The Mothership Connection Live From Houston, Capitol, 1985.

R & B Skeletons in the Closet, Capitol, 1986.

The Best of George Clinton, Capitol, 1986.

The Cinderella Theory, Paisley Park, 1989.

George Clinton Presents Our Gang Funky, MCA, 1989.

Hey Man, Smell My Finger, Paisley Park, 1992.

Sources

Guitar Player, November 1991; February 1992.

New Funk Times, Number 3, March 1990; Number 4/5, Summer 1990.

New York Times, June 27, 1991.

People, February 7, 1977.

Rolling Stone, June 23, 1983; September 20, 1990.

Uncut Funk, Number I, Winter 1990; Number 3, Summer 1991.

B. Kimberly Taylor

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Clinton, George

George Clinton

Singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer

The evolution of funkthe hard-edged, syncopated dance music that derived from soul in the early 1960s and paved the way for the emergence of hip hop in the late 1970sowes a profound debt to George Clinton. With the barnstorming P-Funk family of musicians, including but not limited to Parliament, Funkadelic, and the P-Funk All-Stars, Clinton fashioned a celebratory fusion of soul, psychedelic rock, performance art absurdity, and revolutionary politics without which most of the rap and much of the alternative rock that followed are virtually unimaginable.

After ruling the R&B charts in the 1970s, Clinton weathered legal difficulties and changing tastes to re-emerge in the 1990s as one of rap's deities and funk-rock's king. And though his own 1993 solo album sold modestly, his musicalbeit in sampled formcould be found all over the charts, on songs by rappers Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Warren G., and others. Aside from its obvious appeal to the "booty," funkparticularly the ecstatic workouts of the P-Funk gangpresents an optimistic, communal spirit for which the gangsta-rap-saturated nineties hungered desperately. As Clinton defined it to Rolling Stone, funk is "anything it [needs] to be to save your life. "

Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the eldest of nine children, Clinton had made his way to Newark, New Jersey, by his early teens. He worked in the Uptown Tonsorial Parlor barber shop and formed a vocal group, the Parliaments, which plied the street corner harmony style known as doo-wop. "I mean, I would go downtown on Sundays and go onto the back streets and just say the name out loud, just to hear myself say it," he told Pulse! of the days before the group's formation. In a Down Beat interview Clinton attributed his ambition to his astrological sign, noting, "I was a little Leo. If I couldn't have a baseball team, I wanted a singing group. You know, that was our only [way] out of the ghetto if you could sing, dance, or some s**t." Soon the group arranged gigs at dances and made its first recording at a coin-operated recording booth.

Birth of the P-Funk

After several record company and personnel changesduring which time Clinton worked as a staff songwriter for Jobete Music and Motown Recordsthe Parliaments achieved a hit with their 1966 single "I Wanna Testify." By then Clinton had included in his musical lineup a number of musicians who would figure prominently in subsequent P-Funk operations, among them guitarist Eddie Hazel and bassist Billy Nelson. Clinton briefly lost legal rights to the Parliaments name in the late 1960s, so he came up with a new nameand a new sound.

With the explosion of hard blues and psychedelic rock in the late 1960s, Clinton decided to move with the times. The Parliaments' first tour, he averred in Rolling Stone, necessitated sharing not only the bill, but amplifiers with rockers the Vanilla Fudge. The "extremely loud" gear gave him an idea; he introduced his bandmates to cutting-edge records by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and the psychedelic soul troupe Sly and the Family Stone's debut. "I said 'Let me stop this Motown, stop this doo-wop and pretty s**t and let me get something else,'" he recollected to Pulse! writer Carter Harris. "If the blues is working, then the speeded-up blues will work, the funky blues, the one with the little light groove to it, that would work."

Hallucinogenic drugs and the general atmosphere of political and social foment added to this heady musical brew, his new purveyors of which Clinton dubbed Funkadelic. With the addition of keyboardist Bernie Worrellwho would prove to be one of P-Funk's musical architectsthe group's distinctive sound was complete. They signed with Westbound Records and released their eponymous debut in 1969. The following year, having regained the rights to his old group's name, Clinton signed the streamlined Parliament to Invictus Records.

Though the two projects at first shared a hard blues-funk sound and sociological concerns, they formed distinct identities over the next few years. Funkadelic refined its acid-drenched proto-heavy metal on albums like Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, the seminal Maggot Brain, and Cosmic Slop, relying on lengthy guitar jams and spooky keyboards to accommodate its often despairing reports of injustice at home and abroad. After moving to Warner Bros. in the mid-1970s, the band lightened up somewhat but retained its mighty guitar attack.

Parliament, meanwhile, added horns and charismatic bassist William "Bootsy" Collinsinherited from funk forebear James Brown's bandand became the quintessential party-funkers of the 1970s. "Getting down on the one," the first beat of a measure and the rhythmic jumping-off point for funk's subversive syncopations, became one of its many compelling slogans. The "P" in the "P-Funk" moniker stood for pure, undilutedlike the drugs that fueled their frenetic pace of recording and touring.

For the Record

Born George Edward Clinton on July 22, 1941, in Kannapolis, NC; son of Julia Keaton; children: Tracey, Shawn (sons).

Hairdresser at Uptown Tonsorial Parlor, Plainfield, NJ, c. 1955-67. Formed vocal group the Parliaments, Newark, NJ, 1955; signed to Hull Records and released "Poor Willie" and "Party Boys," 1958; signed to Flipp label and recorded "Lonely Island" and "Cry," 1959; worked as staff songwriter for Jobete Music and Motown, 1962-63; cofounded Geo-Si-Mik production team, 1963; signed to Revilot label and released single "I Wanna Testify," 1966; formed group Funkadelic, 1968; signed to Westbound label and released debut, Funkadelic, 1969; formed Parliament; signed to Invictus label and released debut, Osmium, 1970; Parliament signed to Casablanca label and released Up for the Down Stroke, 1974; Funkadelic signed to Warner Bros. and released Hardcore Jollies, 1976; oversaw/produced Bootsy's Rubber Band, the Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet, Zapp, the Horny Horns, and others, 1970s; recorded for Capi tol Records as solo artist, 1982-87; formed P-Funk All-Stars, 1983; signed to Paisley Park Records as solo artist and released The Cinderella Theory, 1989; produced artists Red Hot Chili Peppers and others, 1980s; appeared on recordings by William "Bootsy" Collins, Bernie Worrell, Eddie Hazel, Dolby's Cube, Prince, Digital Underground, Ice Cube, and many others, 1970s; appeared with Red Hot Chili Peppers and P-Funk All-Stars on Grammy Awards presentation, 1993; appeared in films House Party, 1989, and Graffiti Bridge, 1990; inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1997; P-Funk named by Spin magazine one of the Greatest Bands of All Time; performed at 46th annual Grammy Awards ceremony, 2004.

Awards: Inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 1997; P-Funk named One of the Greatest Bands of All Time by Spin magazine, 2002.

Addresses: Record company Island Records, 825 Eighth Ave., New York, NY 10019. Website George Clinton Official Website: http://www.georgeclinton.com.

The Liberation of Funk

At the same time, Clinton harbored ambitions beyond the marriage of hard rock and funk; "concept" albums like the Beatles' landmark Sgt. Pepper and The Who's rock opera Tommy had laid the groundwork for long-format works in the pop idiom. Clinton engineered the first known R&B concept records, in which the all-powerful Funk conquers evil and indifference in outer space, under the ocean, and even in Washington, D.C. In fact, both Funkadelic and Parliament were vitally concerned with liberation: of the head, the heart, and, most of all, the "booty." And however comical and outrageous the process, the importance of P-Funk's redemptive message and communal vibe can scarcely be overestimated.

After moving to the Casablanca label, Parliament proceeded to dominate the R&B charts with jams like "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)," "Do That Stuff," and "Flash Light." With their cast of imaginary charactersStarChild, Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk, Dr. Funkensteinscience fiction regalia, and raunchy, playful patter, Parliament dispensed with the well-groomed and hyper-stylized conventions of black performance, introducing soul music to the concept of anarchy.

Funkadelic's biggest recording was 1978's "One Nation Under a Groove," which Harris of Pulse! described as "a fiercely funky utopian dream that became the rallying call" for P-Funk's acolytes. By this time Clinton had realized that he could not only get more work done, but get more music out by creating new groups under the Parliament-Funkadelic umbrella. Projects such as Bootsy's Rubber Band, the Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet, and many othersmostly comprised of P-Funk's regular musicians and singers in various combinationsreleased an avalanche of output in the late 1970s and early 1980s. By 1980, however, a series of legal entanglements had begun to hamper Clinton; meanwhile, Parliament and Funkadelic started to lose steam as electronically produced techno-funk, disco, and hip hop loomed large on the R&B horizon.

Clinton signed as a solo artist with Capitol Records and in 1982 scored a huge hit with the kinetic single "Atomic Dog." Various other solo recordings and gatherings of the "P-Funk All-Stars" followed, as well as a collaboration with British synthesizer whiz Thomas Dolby and work as a producer, notably for P-Funk lovers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yet Clinton was still mired in legal difficulties, particularly over the Funkadelic catalog, which went out of print as compact discs overtook vinyl; by 1985 he was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Signed with Prince's Paisley Park

Signing with the Paisley Park label of longtime admirer and 1980s R&B superhero Prince, Clinton released 1989's ill-fated The Cinderella Theory. Later he lamented to Request 's Bill Forman, "If I could have put that album out the way I first did itbefore we remixed it and remixed it and buffed it to shinyismmy first mixes were closer to what people know us to sound and feel like. But the whole industry got into a remix situation. They remix the record before they put the record out."

By the early 1990s, however, P-Funk had re-emerged as a kind of stylistic Holy Grail for young musicians of widely divergent stripes. Hip-hoppers De La Soul sampled a Funkadelic hit for one of their early smashes, funk-rappers Digital Underground looped "Flash Light" and other Parliament hits on their debut and then persuaded Clinton to appear on their sophomore effort and pronounce them Sons of the P, and Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, and countless other rhymesmiths leaned on both the sound and lore of P-Funk. At the same time, funk-rockers like the Chili Peppers, Living Colour, Faith No More, Primus, and Big Chief extolled the energy and inventiveness of Parliament-Funkadelic. As the Peppers' influential bassist Flea told Guitar Player, "Funkadelic is my favorite band. Rock, funk whatever you want to call it, they were one of the greatest."

The prodigious output of Clinton's clan rapidly made him the era's most sampled artistsurpassing even Godfather of Soul James Brown. Rather than begrudge rappers access to the P-Funk catalog, however, he facilitated it by releasing Sample Some of DiscSample Some of D.A.T., intended as the first in a series of CDs providing sample-ready slices from the vaults, along with simple permission request forms. "Everybody else is making money off us now," he reasoned in Request, "so we just say, 'forget that, we'll make a record with all those typical grooves in it, and they can sample them.'" More than profits were at stake, though; Clinton sensed early on that rap was the future of the P. "Hip hop has the same energy, the same kind of rowdy vibe as funk," he insisted in Pulse!

Priority Records at last managed to secure the rights to the discontinued Warner Bros. Funkadelic catalog, issuing long-awaited CDs of One Nation and other classics. Clinton and the P-Funk mob joined the Chili Peppers for a riotous performance at the Grammy Awards presentation; meanwhile, Clinton's next solo project, Hey Man Smell My Finger, appeared after a long delay.

Featuring a bevy of rap's leading lights on the single "Paint the White House Black" and several P-Funk alumni and guest production by Princewho told Vibe, "They should be giving that man a government grant for being that funky"the album was hailed by critics as a strong return to form. Still, Hey Man sold modestly; as numerous commentators reflected, radio was largely disinclined to support artists associated with past glories, no matter how influential. As if to add insult to injury, Prince's Paisley Park folded shortly after the album's release. Clinton subsequently signed to NPG/Bellmark, which rose from the ashes of Paisley Park.

The Funk Plays On

Clintonwho planned a doo-wop reunion with the original Parliamentscontinued to tour with the P-Funk All-Stars, appearing at the traveling alternative music fest Lollapalooza '94, and in concert throughout the United States. Celebrated filmmakers the Hudlin brothers announced plans for a Mothership Connection feature film. And the sounds of P-Funk, if not the new work of their inventor, continued to rule the airwaves via samples on rap records.

Indeed, the gangsta rappers who outran the competition in the 1990s consistently turned to Clinton. In Dr. Dre's video "Let Me Ride," the rapper's possegrooving to a Mothership Connection samplegathers, like a dutiful congregation, at a P-Funk concert, while Clinton himself guested along with Bootsy Collins on Ice Cube's Parliament tribute "Bop Gun." In a cultural era beset by despair, Clinton's vision remained an oasis of hope and renewal. Perhaps, as he noted in Pulse!, we could still unite as one nation under a groove: "I'm gonna believe that even when it ain't happening. 'Cause I know it's possible to happen, and to me, reality is a belief, and if you give energy to the things that you believe, that's what makes 'em possible."

Clinton and his All Stars showed no signs of slowing down as the new millennium dawned. High off the boost following his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, Clinton presided over concerts all over the United States and the world, including a 2004 performance at the 46th annual Grammy Awards show.

With rallying cries like that heard at a concert in Alaska in late 2003, "Welcome to the world of the Funkadelic, ya'all. Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1979," Clinton and the crew of the Mothership have tapped into a resurgence of their popularity, attracting crowds of the faithful to their shows and inspiring a new generation of pop stars like Macy Gray, along with the by-now familiar lineup of sampling rappers and DJs.

In 2002, Spin magazine anointed Clinton and the various incarnations of P-Funk as one of the Greatest Bands of All Time. And as far as Clinton, heading into his sixties, is concerned, the party never has to end. "We've got the same vibe going on as we always did," he told Ray Routhier in the Portland Press Herald in 2003. "We get people kickin' and dancin'. I'll be doing this as long as I can; it beats any other job I've had."

Selected discography

Solo

Computer Games, Capitol, 1982.

You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish, Capitol, 1983.

Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends, Capitol, 1984.

R&B Skeletons in the Closet, Capitol, 1986.

The Mothership Connection from Houston, Capitol, 1986.

The Best of George Clinton, Capitol, 1986.

The Cinderella Theory, Paisley Park, 1989.

"Dope Dog," One Nation, 1993.

Sample Some of Disc, Sample Some of D.A.T., AEM, 1993.

Hey Man Smell My Finger, Paisley Park, 1993.

Part 1, Castle, 1994.

Part 2, Castle, 1994.

Part 3, Castle, 1994.

George Clinton with Parliament, Music Merchant, 1995.

Series 1, Castle, 1996.

Series 2, Castle, 1996.

Series 3, Castle, 1996.

Greatest Funkin' Hits, Capitol, 1996.

Tamurinillis, Music Merchant, 1996.

Testing Positive, Castle, 1996.

T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership), 550 Music/Epic, 1996.

Live & Kickin', Prestige Elite, 1997.

Hardcore Jollies, Disky, 1997.

Back to Back Hits, EMI-Capitol, 2000.

Greatest Hits, Capitol, 2000.

The Best of George Clinton, EMI-Capitol, 2000.

Six Degrees of P-Funk: The Best of George Clinton & His Funky Family, Sony, 2003.

Original Artist Hit List, Intersound, 2003.

The Best of George Clinton, Collectables, 2003.

500,000 Kilowatts of P-Funk Power, Fruit Tree, 2004.

With Parliament

(The Parliaments) "I Wanna Testify," Revilot, 1966.

Osmium, Invictus, 1970.

Up for the Down Stroke, Casablanca, 1974.

Chocolate City, Casablanca, 1975.

Mothership Connection, Casablanca, 1975.

The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, Casablanca, 1976.

Get Down & Boogie, Casablanca, 1977.

Parliament Live: P-Funk Earth Tour, 1977.

Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, Casablanca, 1977.

Motor Booty Affair, Casablanca, 1978.

Gloryhallastoopid (Pin the Tail on the Funky), Casablanca, 1979.

Trombipulation, Casablanca, 1981.

The BombParliament's Greatest Hits, Casablanca, 1984.

Rhenium, Demon/HDH, 1989.

Tear the Roof Off: 1974-1980, Casablanca, 1993.

First Thangs, HDH, 1993.

Greatest hits 1972-1993, AEM, 1994.

The Best of Parliament: Give Up the Funk, Casablanca, 1995.

Live, 1976-1993, Sequel, 1996.

The Early Years, Deep Beats, 1997.

12" Collection & More, Polygram, 1999.

20th Century MastersThe Millennium Collection: The Best of Parliament, Mercury, 2000.

Get Funked Up, Polygram, 2000.

Winning Combinations: Parliament & Ohio Players, Universal, 2001.

Osmium (U.K. release with bonus tracks), Castle, 2001.

Best of Anthology, Polygram, 2002.

Funked Up: The Very Best of Parliament, Mercury, 2002.

Up for the Down Stroke (bonus tracks), Mercury, 2003.

Mothership Connection (bonus tracks), Mercury, 2003.

Chocolate City (bonus tracks), Mercury, 2003.

With Funkadelic

Funkadelic, Westbound, 1969.

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, Westbound, 1970.

Maggot Brain, Westbound, 1971.

America Eats Its Young, Westbound, 1972.

Cosmic Slop, Westbound, 1973.

Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, Westbound, 1974.

Let's Take It to the Stage, Westbound, 1975.

Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, Westbound, 1976.

Hardcore Jollies, Westbound, 1976.

Funkadelic's Greatest Hits, Westbound, 1977.

The Best of the Early Years, Volume One, Westbound, 1979.

One Nation Under a Groove, Westbound, 1978.

Uncle Jam Wants You, 1979.

Connections & Disconnections, LAX, 1981.

The Electric Spanking of War Babies, Westbound, 1981.

Who's a Funkadelic, Rhino, 1981.

The Best of Funkadelic (1976-1981), Charly, 1994.

Hardcore Funk Jam, Charly, 1994.

Ultimate, Music Club, 1997.

Finest, Westbound, 1997.

The Very Best of Funkadelic, Charly, 1998.

Best, Neon, 1999.

Suitably Funky, Dressed to Kill, 2000.

The Original Cosmic Funk Crew, Metro Music, 2000.

Funk Gets Stronger, Recall, 2000.

The Funkadelic Collection, Vol. 1, Dressed to Kill, 2000.

The Funkadelic Collection, Vol. 2, Dressed to Kill, 2000.

Complete Recordings 1976-1981, Charly, 2000.

The Legends Collection, Dressed to Kill, 2001.

Motor City Madness: The Ulitmate Collection, Westbound (British import), 2003.

Under a Groove, Snapper Music, 2004.

With the P-Funk All Stars

Urban Dancefloor Guerillas, Uncle Jam/CBS Associated, 1983.

Live at the Beverly Theater in Hollywood, 1983, Westbound/Ace, 1990.

George Clinton Presents Our Gang Funky, MCA, 1989.

Music for Your Mother, 1993.

P-Funk All Stars, AEM, 1993.

Family Series Vol. I: Go Fer Yer Funk, AEM, 1993.

Family Series Vol. II: "P" is the Funk, AEM, 1993.

Family Series Vol. III: Plush Funk, AEM, 1993.

Family Series, Vol. V: A Fifth of Funk, AEM, 1994.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Periodicals

Anchorage Daily News, September 12, 2003, p. H5; September 20, 2003, P. E2.

Down Beat, April 5, 1979, pp.14-18, 44.

Guitar Player, November 1991, p. 55.

Melody Maker, January 16, 1993, p. 35.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, February 9, 2004, p. 1A.

Portland Press Herald, March 13, 2003, p. 3D.

Pulse!, December 1993, pp. 56-66, 102.

Request, December 1993, pp. 42-4.

Rolling Stone, September 20, 1990, pp. 75-8.

Vibe, November 1993, pp. 44-8; August 1994, p. 47.

Online

"Funkadelic," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 17, 2004).

"George Clinton," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 17, 2004).

George Clinton Official Website, http://www.georgeclinton.com (February 17, 2004).

"Parliament," All Music Guide, http://www.allmusic.com (February 17, 2004).

Simon Glickman and

Michael Belfiore

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"Clinton, George." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Clinton, George." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/clinton-george

Clinton, George 1941–

George Clinton 1941

Singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer

Parlayed Parliament Into Funkadelic

Bore Elaborate, Conceptual Works

Rode Solo Career Rollercoaster

Selected discography

Sources

The evolution of funkthe hard-edged, syncopated dance music that derived from soul in the early 1960s and paved the way for the emergence of hip hop in the late 1970sowes a profound debt to George Clinton. With the barnstorming P. Funk family of musicians, including but not limited to Parliament, Funkadelic, and the P. Funk All-Stars, Clinton fashioned a celebratory fusion of soul, psychedelic rock, performance art absurdity, and revolutionary politics without which most of the rap and much of the alternative rock that followed are virtually unimaginable.

After ruling the R&B charts in the 1970s, Clinton weathered legal difficulties and changing tastes to re-emerge in the 1990s as one of raps deities and funk-rocks king. And though his own 1993 solo album sold modestly, his musicalbeit in sampled formcould be found all over the charts, on songs by rappers Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Warren G., and others. Aside from its obvious appeal to the booty, funkparticularly the ecstatic workouts of the P. Funk gangpresents an optimistic, communal spirit for which the gangsta-rap-satu-rated nineties hunger desperately. As Clinton defined it to Rolling Stone, funk is anything it [needs] to be to save your life.

Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, the eldest of nine children, Clinton had made his way to Newark, New Jersey, by his early teens. He worked in the Uptown Tonsorial Parlor barber shop and formed a vocal group, the Parliaments, which plied the street corner harmony style known as doo-wop. I mean, I would go downtown on Sundays and go onto the back streets and just say the name out loud, just to hear myself say it, he told Pulse! of the days before the groups formation. In a Down Beat interview Clinton attributed his ambition to his astrological sign, noting, I was a little Leo. If I couldnt have a baseball team I wanted a singing group. You know, that was our only [way]out of the ghetto if you could sing, dance, or some shit. Soon the group arranged gigs at dances and made its first recording at a coin-operated recording booth.

Parlayed Parliament Into Funkadelic

After several record company and personnel changesduring which time Clinton worked as a staff songwriter for Jobete Music and Motown Recordsthe Parliaments achieved a hit with their 1966 single I Wanna Testify. By

At a Glance

Born George Edward Clinton, July 22, 1941, in Kannapolis, NC; son of Julia Keaton; children: Tracey, Shawn (sons).

Hairdresser at Uptown Tonsorial Parlor, Plainfield, NJ, c. 1955-67. Formed vocal group the Parliaments, Newark, NJ, 1955; signed to Hull Records and released Poor Willie and Party Boys, 1958; signed to Flipp label and recorded Lonely Island and Cry, 1959; worked as staff songwriter for Jobete Music and Motown, 1962-63; cofounded Geo-Si-Mik production team, 1963; signed to Revilot label and released single I Wanna Testify, 1966; formed group Funkadelic, 1968; signed to Westbound label and released debut, Funkadelic, 1969; formed Parliament; signed to Invictus label and released debut, Osmium, 1970; Parliament signed to Casablanca label and released Up for the Down Stroke, 1974; Funkadelic signed to Warner Bros. and released Hardcore Jollies, 1976; oversaw/produced Bootsys Rubber Band, the Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet, Zapp, the Horny Horns, and others, 1970s; recorded for Capitol Records as solo artist, 1982-87; formed P. Funk All-Stars, 1983; signed to Paisley Park Records as solo artist and released The Cinderella Theory, 1989; produced artists Red Hot Chili Peppers and others, 1980s; appeared on recordings by William Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Eddie Hazel, Dolbys Cube, Prince, Digital Underground, Ice Cube, and many others, 1970s; appeared with Red Hot Chili Peppers and P. Funk All-Stars on Grammy Awards presentation, 1993; appeared in films House Party, 1989, and Graffiti Bridge, 1990.

Awards: Platinum records for Parliaments Chocolate City and Mothership Connection and for Funkadelics One Nation Under a Groove.

Addresses: Record company NPG/Bellmark, 7060 Hollywood Blvd., Ste. 1000, Hollywood, CA 90028.

then Clinton had included in his musical lineup a number of musicians who would figure prominently in subsequent P. Funk operations, among them guitarist Eddie Hazel and bassist Billy Nelson. Clinton briefly lost legal rights to the Parliaments name in the late 1960s, so he came up with a new nameand a new sound.

With the explosion of hard blues and psychedelic rock in the late 1960s, Clinton decided to move with the times. The Parliaments first tour, he averred in Rolling Stone, necessitated sharing not only the bill, but amplifiers with rockers the Vanilla Fudge. The extremely loud gear gave him an idea; he introduced his bandmates to cutting-edge records by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, and the psychedelic soul troupe Sly and the Family Stones debut. I said Let me stop this Motown, stop this doo-wop and pretty shit and let me get something else, he recollected to Pulse! writer Carter Harris. If the blues is working, then the speeded-up blues will work, the funky blues, the one with the little light groove to it, that would work.

Hallucinogenic drugs and the general atmosphere of political and social foment added to this heady musical brew, his new purveyors of which Clinton dubbed Funkadelic. With the addition of keyboardist Bernie Worrellwho would prove to be one of P. Funks musical architectsthe groups distinctive sound was complete. They signed with Westbound Records and released their eponymous debut in 1969. The following year, having regained the rights to his old groups name, Clinton signed the streamlined Parliament to Invictus Records.

Though the two projects at first shared a hard blues-funk sound and sociological concerns, they formed distinct identities over the next few years. Funkadelic refined its acid-drenched proto-heavy metal on albums like Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, the seminal Maggot Brain, and Cosmic Slop, relying on lengthy guitar jams and spooky keyboards to accommodate its often despairing reports of injustice at home and abroad. After moving to Warner Bros. in the mid-1970s, the band lightened up somewhat but retained its mighty guitar attack.

Parliament, meanwhile, added horns and charismatic bassist William Bootsy Collinsinherited from funk forebear James Browns bandand became the quintessential party-funkers of the 1970s. Getting down on the one, the first beat of a measure and the rhythmic jumping-off point for funks subversive syncopations, became one of its many compelling slogans. The P in the P. Funk moniker stood for pure, undilutedlike the drugs that fueled their frenetic pace of recording and touring.

Bore Elaborate, Conceptual Works

At the same time, Clinton harbored ambitions beyond the marriage of hard rock and funk; concept albums like the Beatles landmark Sgt. Pepper and The Whos rock opera Tommy had laid the groundwork for long-format works in the pop idiom. Clinton engineered the first known R&B concept records, in which the all-powerful Funk conquers evil and indifference in outer sp forget thatace, under the ocean, and even in Washington, D.C. In fact, both Funkadelic and Parliament were vitally concerned with liberation: of the head, the heart, and, most of all, the booty. And however comical and outrageous the process, the importance of P. Funks redemptive message and communal vibe can scarcely be overestimated.

After moving to the Casablanca label, Parliament proceeded to dominate the R&B charts with jams like Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk), Do That Stuff, and Flash Light. With their cast of imaginary charactersStarChild, Sir Nose DVoidoffunk, Dr. Funkenstein science fiction regalia, and raunchy, playful patter, Parliament dispensed with the well-groomed and hyper-stylized conventions of black performance, introducing soul music to the concept of anarchy.

I was trying to put blacks in places you wouldnt expect to see em, Clinton explained to Harris of Pulse! I just knew that a nigger on a spaceship would look pretty strange, especially if he looks like hes on a Cadillac. Thus was born the spaceship prop from Parliaments Mothership Connection Tour. Such concertsdescribed in Vibe by guitarist Vernon Reid, founder of rock band Living Colour, as resembling some sort of ritualhave become the stuff of legend. Parliament spawned scores of imitators, many of whom they teased on their elaborately cartooned album covers.

At the heart of it all was the wizard himself, climbing out of the Mothership to lead the crowd in invocations that could come from everywhere: scripture, James Brown records, even dirty limericks. Neither an instrumentalist nor a particularly virtuosic singer, Clinton nonetheless provided the intellectual and organizational spark at the heart of P. Funks sonic orgy. The one talent I had, he explained to Rolling Stone, was the ability to keep people together. I knew how to keep personalities in place, how to use them. That is still the most important thing I do in P-Funk. I can get anything out of anybody.

Funkadelics biggest recording was 1978s One Nation Under a Groove, which Harris of Pulse! described as a fiercely funky utopian dream that became the rallying call for P. Funks acolytes. By this time Clinton had realized that he could not only get more work done, but get more music out by creating new groups under the Parliament-Funkadelic umbrella. Projects such as Bootsys Rubber Band, the Brides of Funkenstein, Parlet, and many othersmostly comprised of P. Funks regular musicians and singers in various combinationsreleased an avalanche of output in the late 1970s and early 1980s. By 1980, however, a series of legal entanglements had begun to hamper Clinton; meanwhile, Parliament and Funkadelic started to lose steam as electronically produced technofunk, disco, and hip hop loomed large on the R&B horizon.

Rode Solo Career Rollercoaster

Clinton signed as a solo artist with Capitol Records and in 1982 scored a huge hit with the kinetic single Atomic Dog. Various other solo recordings and gatherings of the P. Funk All-Stars followed, as well as a collaboration with British synthesizer whiz Thomas Dolby and work as a producer, notably for P. Funk lovers the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Yet Clinton was still mired in legal difficulties, particularly over the Funkadelic catalog, which went out of print as compact discs overtook vinyl; by 1985 he was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Signing with the Paisley Park label of longtime admirer and 1980s R&B superhero Prince, Clinton released 1989s ill-fated The Cinderella Theory. Later he lamented to Requests Bill Forman, If I could have put that album out the way I first did itbefore we remixed it and remixed it and buffed it to shinyismmy first mixes were closer to what people know us to sound and feel like. But the whole industry got into a remix situation. They remix the record before they put the record out.

By the early 1990s, however, P. Funk had re-emerged as a kind of stylistic Holy Grail for young musicians of widely divergent stripes. Hip-hoppers De La Soul sampled a Funkadelic hit for one of their early smashes, funk-rappers Digital Underground looped Flash Light and other Parliament hits on their debut and then persuaded Clinton to appear on their sophomore effort and pronounce them Sons of the P, and Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, and countless other rhymesmiths leaned on both the sound and lore of P. Funk. At the same time, funk-rockers like the Chili Peppers, Living Colour, Faith No More, Primus, and Big Chief extolled the energy and inventiveness of Parliament-Funkadelic. As the Peppers influential bassist Flea told Guitar Player, Funkadelic is my favorite band. Rock, funk whatever you want to call it, they were one of the greatest.

The prodigious output of Clintons clan rapidly made him the eras most sampled artistsurpassing even Godfather of Soul James Brown. Rather than begrudge rappers access to the P. Funk catalog, however, he facilitated it by releasing Sample Some of Disc Sample Some of D.A.T., intended as the first in a series of CDs providing sample-ready slices from the vaults, along with simple permission request forms. Everybody else is making money off us now, he reasoned in Request, so we just say, forget that, well make a record with all those typical grooves in it, and they can sample them. More than profits were at stake, though; Clinton sensed early on that rap was the future of the P. Hip hop has the same energy, the same kind of rowdy vibe as funk, he insisted in Pulse!

Priority Records at last managed to secure the rights to the discontinued Warner Bros. Funkadelic catalog, issuing long-awaited CDs of One Nation and other classics. Clinton and the P. Funk mob joined the Chili Peppers for a riotous performance at the Grammy Awards presentation; meanwhile, Clintons next solo project, Hey Man Smell My Finger, appeared after a long delay.

Featuring a bevy of raps leading lights on the single Paint the White House Black and several P. Funk alumni and guest production by Princewho told Vibe, They should be giving that man a government grant for being that funkythe album was hailed by critics as a strong return to form. Still, Hey Man sold modestly; as numerous commentators reflected, black radio was largely disinclined to support artists associated with past glories, no matter how influential. As if to add insult to injury, Princes Paisley Park folded shortly after the albums release. Clinton subsequently signed to NPG/Bellmark, which rose from the ashes of Paisley Park.

Clintonwho planned a doo-wop reunion with the original Parliamentscontinued to tour with the P. Funk All-Stars, appearing at the traveling alternative music fest Lollapalooza 94 and in concert throughout the United States. Celebrated filmmakers the Hudlin brothers announced plans for a Mothership Connection feature film. And the sounds of P. Funk, if not the new work of their inventor, continued to rule the airwaves via samples on rap records.

Indeed, the gangsta rappers who outran the competition in the 1990s consistently turned to Clinton. In Dr. Dres video Let Me Ride, the rappers possegrooving to a Mothership Connection samplegathers, like a dutiful congregation, at a P. Funk concert, while Clinton himself guested along with Bootsy Collins on Ice Cubes Parliament tribute Bop Gun. In a cultural era beset by despair, Clintons vision remained an oasis of hope and renewal. Perhaps, as he noted in Pulse!, we could still unite as one nation under a groove: Im gonna believe that even when it aint happening. Cause I know its possible to happen, and to me, reality is a belief, and if you give energy to the things that you believe, thats what makes em possible.

Selected discography

Solo releases

Computer Games (includes Atomic Dog), Capitol, 1982.

You Shouldnt Nuf Bit Fish, Capitol, 1983.

Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends, Capitol, 1984.

R&B Skeletons in the Closet, Capitol, 1986.

The Mothership Connection from Houston, Capitol, 1986.

The Best of George Clinton, Capitol, 1986.

The Cinderella Theory, Paisley Park, 1989.

Dope Dog, One Nation, 1993.

Sample Some of Disc, Sample Some of D.A.T, AEM, 1993.

Hey Man Smell My Finger (includes Paint the White House Black), Paisley Park, 1993.

With Parliament; on Casablanca, except where noted

(The Parliaments) I Wanna Testify, Revilot, 1966.

Osmium, Invictus, 1970.

Up for the Down Stroke, 1974.

Chocolate City, 1975.

Mothership Connection (includes Mothership Connection and Tear the Roof Off the Sucker [Give Up the Funk]), 1975.

The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (includes Do That Stuff), 1976.

Parliament Live: P. Funk Earth Tour, 1977.

Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome (includes Flash Light), 1977.

Motor Booty Affair (includes Aqua Boogie), 1978.

Gloryhallastoopid (Pin the Tail on the Funky), 1979.

Trombipulation, 1981.

The BombParliaments Greatest Hits, 1984.

Rhenium, Demon/HDH, 1989.

Tear the Roof Off: 1974-1980, 1993.

First Thangs, HDH, 1993.

With Funkadelic

On Westbound

Funkadelic, 1969.

Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, 1970.

Maggot Brain, 1971.

America Eats Its Young, 1972.

Cosmic Slop, 1973.

Standing on the Verge of Getting It On, 1974.

Lets Take It to the Stage, 1975.

Tales of Kidd Funkadelic, 1976.

Funkadelics Greatest Hits, 1977.

The Best of the Early Years, Volume One, 1979.

Music for Your Mother, 1993.

On Warner Bros.; reissued by Priority, 1993

Hardcore Jollies, 1976.

One Nation Under a Groove (includes One Nation Under a Groove), 1978.

Uncle Jam Wants You, 1979.

The Electric Spanking of War Babies, 1981.

With the P. Funk All-Stars

Urban Dancefloor Guerillas, Uncle Jam/CBS Associated, 1983.

Live at the Beverly Theater in Hollywood, 1983, Westbound/Ace, 1990.

P. Funk compilations

George Clinton Presents Our Gang Funky, MCA, 1989.

Family Series Voi I: Go Fer Yer Funk, AEM, 1993.

Family Series Vol. II: P is the Funk, AEM, 1993.

Family Series Vol. III: Plush Funk, AEM, 1993.

With others

Dolbys Cube, May the Cube Be With You, Parlophone, 1985.

Bernie Worrell, All the Woo in the World, Arista, 1978.

Bernie Worrell, Blacktronic Science, Gramavision, 1993.

Digital Underground, Sons of the P, Sons of the P, Tommy Boy, 1991.

Prince, We Can Funk, Graffiti Bridge, Paisley Park, 1991.

Ice Cube, Bop Gun, Lethal Injection, 1994.

Sources

Books

Rees, Dafydd, and Luke Crampton, Rock Movers & Shakers, Billboard, 1991.

Periodicals

Down Beat, April 5, 1979, pp. 14-18, 44.

Guitar Player, November 1991, p. 55.

Melody Maker, January 16, 1993, p. 35.

Pulse!, December 1993, pp. 56-66, 102.

Request, December 1993, pp. 42-4.

Rolling Stone, September 20, 1990, pp. 75-8.

Vibe, November 1993, pp. 44-8; August 1994, p. 47.

Simon Glickman

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"Clinton, George 1941–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Clinton, George 1941–." Contemporary Black Biography. . Retrieved December 15, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/clinton-george-1941

George Clinton

George Clinton

The American patriot and statesman George Clinton (1739-1812) was the governor of New York for 21 years and vice president of the United States for two terms.

George Clinton's father, Charles, was an Ulster County, N.Y., farmer who had emigrated from Ireland in 1729. Charles Clinton achieved modest prominence through military and political office, but it was the marriage of his sons, James to Mary DeWitt in 1765 and George to Cornelia Tappen in 1769, that gave the Clintons status in New York society and future political allies among influential Dutch families.

Revolutionary Radical

Born in Ulster County, on July 26, 1739, George Clinton was educated at home and under a tutor, with the advantage of his father's better-than-average library. After studying law in New York City under William Smith, Jr., one of the famous Whig "triumvirate," he began practice in 1764. His political career was launched in 1768 with his election to the Assembly from Ulster County. There he allied himself with the minority "popular party" of the Livingstons against the DeLancey "court party" which controlled the legislature. For the next 7 years Clinton consistently opposed grants for supporting the king's troops, and he was one of a mere five assemblymen who in 1770 voted against jailing Alexander McDougall, a Whig "firebrand" who had publicly criticized the House for betraying its trust by its military appropriations. In the broader quarrel with Britain, Clinton sided with the radicals, denouncing parliamentary taxation and the Coercive Acts and urging support for the resolves of the First Continental Congress. A delegate to the Second Continental Congress, he was absent when independence was approved, having military obligations in New York, where he had been appointed brigadier general of the Ulster and Orange County militia in December 1775. Despite military shortcomings, the Continental Congress placed him in command of the forts in the Hudson Highlands. However, his energetic efforts did not prevent capture of the forts by the British in late 1777.

War Governor

The new state constitution of 1777 provided for a popularly elected governor. New York's aristocrats, led by Philip Schuyler, John Jay, John Morin Scott, and the Livingstons, expected Schuyler to be chosen. To their consternation the elections brought victory to Clinton—a tribute to his appeal to middle-class and small farmers and his popularity with the soldiers. Schuyler's postelection judgment that neither Clinton's family nor connections entitled him "to so distinguished a predominance" but that he was "virtuous and loves his country, has abilities and is brave" is an apt commentary on Clinton's entire political career. He attracted the majority of New Yorkers by his loyalty to the Revolutionary cause, his honesty, and his devotion to his state. His reputation was enhanced by his able service as war governor, a post which was more often military than political. He organized the defenses of the frontier, procured supplies, suppressed loyalists, quieted the Native Americans, and organized campaigns against Tory and British raiders. His universal popularity was attested to by his successive elections to the governorship, often without opposition, until his voluntary retirement in 1795.

Antifederalist and Republican

Conservative in his administration during the Confederation period, committed to the protection of property and a stable financial system, Clinton was equally sensitive to popular liberties and republican government. It was the latter that made him suspicious of the movement for the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Willing to strengthen congressional powers under the Articles of Confederation, he feared the substitution of a "consolidated" for a "federal" government. The acknowledged leader of New York's Antifederalists, he was not so virulent an opponent of the Constitution as Alexander Hamilton made him out to be. He presided over the state's ratifying convention at Poughkeepsie with impartiality and spoke seldom, and then with moderation. There is some doubt that he wrote the Antifederalist essays attributed to him which appeared in the New York Journal (September 1787 to January 1788) as "Cato's Letters." Preferring ratification conditional upon amendments, he nevertheless promised to support the new Constitution when New York ratified it 30 to 27, on July 26, 1788, without such conditions.

Vice President

While Clinton continued to be popular personally, his political followers hereafter faced stiff opposition from the Federalists, who in 1789 secured control of the legislature and in 1792 just missed placing John Jay in the governor's chair. Pleading ill health and perhaps sensing defeat, Clinton declined to stand in 1795, and his party was beaten. For the next 6 years his nephew DeWitt Clinton led the newly formed Democratic-Republican party in New York, an alliance of Clintonites, Livingstons, and the followers of Aaron Burr. George Clinton returned as governor for a term in 1801, but his political mantle remained with his nephew. Clinton played out the remainder of his political career on the national scene. In 1792 he was the unsuccessful candidate of Republicans in New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia for the vice presidency in place of John Adams. In 1804 he replaced Burr for the second place on the Republican ticket and served as vice president during Jefferson's second term. Four years later his followers promoted his candidacy for president on a ticket with James Monroe. When this failed, he settled for another term as vice president under James Madison. His 7 years in Washington (1805-1812) did not enhance his reputation. He had little influence with either administration, presided over the Senate without much skill, and disliked Washington society. Perhaps his most important action was his tiebreaking vote in 1811 to prevent the recharter of the Bank of the United States. He died in office on April 20, 1812.

A moderate reformer who during his governorship promoted road and canal building, lent support for manufactures and reform of the criminal code, and gave aid to libraries and public funds for common schools, Clinton appealed to the middle-class democracy of New York State. He lacked the felicity of language and the talented pen of a Jefferson to extend his influence much beyond his state.

Further Reading

The standard biography of Clinton is E. Wilder Spaulding, His Excellency George Clinton: Critic of the Constitution (1938; 2d ed. 1964). It has been revised in many details by more recent works on early New York political history, most notably Linda Grant De Pauw, The Eleventh Pillar: New York State and the Federal Constitution (1966), and Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763-1797 (1967). Public Papers of George Clinton (10 vols., 1899-1914) is an essential source, although the introductory sketch of Clinton's life by the editor, Hugh Hastings, is inaccurate. The Clinton era in New York politics may be traced in Jabez D. Hammond, History of Political Parties in the State of New York (2 vols., 1842; 4th ed., 3 vols., 1852), and in De Alva Stanwood Alexander, A Political History of the State of New York (4 vols., 1906-1923). Clinton's war governorship is ably analyzed and evaluated in Margaret Burnham Macmillan, The War Governors in the American Revolution (1943).

Additional Sources

Kaminski, John P., George Clinton: yeoman politician of the new republic, Madison: Madison House, 1993. □

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Clinton, George (vice president of the United States)

George Clinton, 1739–1812, American statesman, vice president of the United States (1805–1812), b. Little Britain, N.Y. Before he was 20 he served on a privateer and, in the French and Indian War, accompanied the regiment of his father, Charles Clinton, in the expedition against Fort Frontenac led by John Bradstreet. After studying law in New York City he began practice in Ulster co. and was elected (1768) to the provincial assembly, where he became a leader of the anti-British faction. In 1775, Clinton was elected one of the state's delegates to the Second Continental Congress. Military duties as a brigadier general in the Continental Army prevented his signing the Declaration of Independence. Clinton's defense of the Hudson, although courageous, resulted in the capture of Fort Clinton and Fort Montgomery by the British general, Sir Henry Clinton.

Under the new state constitution, which George Clinton helped to frame, he was elected (June, 1777) the first governor of New York state. His energy and leadership as governor for six successive terms (1777–95) led to his being called the father of New York state. He managed trade and public welfare problems ably, and he successfully settled the Native American troubles in W New York. He advanced New York's claims to the New Hampshire Grants (now Vermont), initiated action on building canals (later realized by his nephew, De Witt Clinton), and unsuccessfully fought the transfer from New York to the United States of the right to collect duties at the port of New York.

An advocate of state sovereignty, Clinton was one of the chief opponents of the U.S. Constitution, writing seven letters against ratification, signed Cato, in the New York Journal. These were answered by Alexander Hamilton in his letters, signed Caesar, in the Daily Advertiser. Clinton's views on the Constitution were opposed by a rapidly growing party, the Federalists, under the leadership of John Jay. Jay, running against Clinton for governor, lost the election of 1792 only by a questionable manipulation of returns on the part of the Clintonians, and in 1795 Jay won with ease, Clinton having declined to become a candidate.

As a result of his alliance with the Livingstons and Aaron Burr, Clinton became governor for a seventh term in the Republican triumph of 1800; he still holds the record for longest-serving New York governor–22 years. In 1804 he was elected vice president for President Jefferson's second term. He sought the presidency in 1808, having won support for that office in previous elections, but again he received only the vice presidency, this time under James Madison.

See his Public Papers (ed. by H. Hastings and J. A. Holden, 10 vol., 1899–1914); E. W. Spaulding, His Excellency George Clinton (1938, repr. 1964) and New York in the Critical Period, 1783–1789 (1932, repr. 1960).

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Clinton, George (colonial governor of New York)

George Clinton, c.1686–1761, colonial governor of New York (1743–53), b. England; father of Sir Henry Clinton. He entered (1708) the British navy and rose to the rank of admiral in 1747. Through family connections, Clinton was appointed (1741) governor of New York and arrived in the colony in 1743. Under the influence of James De Lancey he tried to conciliate the assembly and acquiesced on the issue of increased legislative control over revenues. Clinton later quarreled with De Lancey; his attempts to regain his lost powers failed; and his administration resulted in a permanent weakening of royal government in New York. Clinton was recalled (1753) to England and later served (1754–60) in Parliament.

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