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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 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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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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Clinton, George

George Clinton

Born July 26, 1739 (Little Britain, New York)

Died April 20, 1812 (Washington, D.C.)

Governor, vice president

George Clinton, who presided over New York's government in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, is considered the "father of New York." In the early years of the nation, most politicians relied on the wealthy elite for support in their elections. Clinton was the first U.S. politician to build a power base of staunch support among the common people. He served in the American Revolution (1775–83) and was a member of the Second Continental Congress. He opposed ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788 because he feared a strong federal government would overpower state governments. After serving seven terms as governor of New York, Clinton went on to become vice president of the United States in 1805.

"The security of the States and the liberties of the people . . . are the true principles of a free representative government."

Adventurous and outspoken

George Clinton was the son of Charles Clinton and Elizabeth Denniston. Charles, born in Ireland, immigrated to America and settled in the community of Little Britain, located in Ulster County, New York, near present-day Poughkeepsie. Clinton was prospering as a farmer and surveyor when George was born in 1739.

At eighteen years of age, the strong-willed, adventurous George Clinton left home and signed on to a privateer, the Defiance, based in New York's port. A privateer is a private vessel licensed by the government to harass and attack enemy ships. When a nation lacks a navy, privateers sometimes aid in that capacity by being called into service to defend the nation against foreign navies when needed.

Returning to New York in 1760, Clinton enlisted in the New York militia, a volunteer army made up of local citizens. He served under Colonel John Bradstreet (1711–1774) in the successful campaign to capture Montreal from the French during the French and Indian War (1754–63). Britain waged the war to secure territory in America that the French were trying to claim.

Following his service in the militia, Clinton went to New York City to study law under a well-known attorney in the colony, William Smith Jr. In the eighteenth century, no law schools existed in America; instead bright young men wishing to enter the legal profession studied under established lawyers. Returning to Ulster County, Clinton began his law practice in 1764. Four years later, Clinton started what became a lifetime of public service when he was elected to New York's colonial assembly from Ulster County. The outspoken young man soon made a reputation for himself with his vigorous defense of free speech and freedom to print anti-British pamphlets.

A Patriot

By 1770, Clinton was a confirmed Patriot, one who opposed British rule of the colonies. That same year, he married Cornelia Tappen, a member of a politically powerful Ulster County family.

As Patriots across America grew more and more discontented with British rule, they formed Committees of Correspondence, which served as a chain of communication between the colonies. The colonial assembly appointed Clinton to the New York committee and then, on April 22, 1775, to the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia. The first shots of the American Revolution had just been fired at Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts. By December 1775, Clinton was called back into the militia; he was one of the few New York colonists with military experience. Attaining the rank of brigadier general, he courageously fought British troops along the Hudson River, north of the town of Albany. Although overcome by the strength of the British, Clinton's troop resistance contributed to the October 17, 1777, defeat of the British at Saratoga, New York, a turning point in the Revolution.

States' rights governor

Clinton left military service in late 1777, having earned the status of war hero. He had been elected governor of New York in June of that year and inaugurated on July 30. By then, New York was no longer a colony but a state, as proclaimed by the Declaration of Independence in July 1776. Clinton would serve as New York's governor for the next eighteen years, winning six consecutive three-year terms. He skillfully managed New York's finances and worked to build a strong, supportive political network in the state. Clinton largely controlled politics in New York until his death in 1812.

Clinton was a strong states' rights politician, one who supported state power and control over governmental affairs rather than a strong central or federal government. Clinton worked to build New York into a self-sufficient state, relying chiefly on the state's geographic advantage: water inlets with superior harbors where ships could bring in goods.

Ratification battle

In September 1787, a new U.S. constitution, designed to strengthen the federal government, was submitted to the states for ratification (approval). Each state called a ratification convention. Clinton presided over New York's convention, which was held in Poughkeepsie in June 1788. Delegates split into two groups, Federalists and Anti-Federalists. Federalists supported ratification of the new constitution. Anti-Federalists were states' rights advocates opposed to ratification. Clinton was a staunch Anti-Federalist. He had published seven letters (under the pen name of "Cato") against ratification in the New York Journal between September 1787 and January 1788. In the letters, Clinton insisted that state governments would be overrun by the power of the federal government and complained that the powers of the chief executive (president) were not clearly defined.

Fellow New Yorker and political leader Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804; see entry in volume 1) and another New Yorker, John Jay (1745–1829; see entry in volume 1), attempted to convince New York delegates to ratify the Constitution. They joined with the principal author of the Constitution, James Madison (1751–1836; see entry in volume 2) of Virginia, to write a series of eighty-five essays that refuted the arguments of Clinton and other Anti-Federalists. These were published in New York newspapers such as the Daily Advertiser from October 1787 to May 1788. The essays were published in a book titled The Federalist, one of the most influential political books in U.S. history. In their essays, the three authors interpreted the Constitution and explained the powers of the three branches of government.

Hamilton, who was a strong opponent of Clinton, displayed his great political skills at the New York ratification convention. The delegates had arrived at the meeting heavily opposed to the Constitution. However, through sheer determination, and with help from Jay and Robert R. Livingston (1746–1813), another New York politician, Hamilton was able to persuade the delegates to approve the Constitution; they voted in its favor by a narrow margin.

Nine states needed to vote for ratification before the Constitution could become law. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth ratifying state. However, without the approval of the two largest and most influential states, Virginia and New York, ratification seemed meaningless. At last, on June 25, 1788, Virginia voted favorably. New York's convention had begun on June 17, 1788, and Clinton's Anti-Federalists had been in the majority. However, Hamilton was able to hold off the vote until word came of Virginia's positive vote. Fearing New York would be left out of the new government, some Anti-Federalists decided to vote for ratification. The vote on July 26 was thirty to twenty-seven in favor of ratification. Clinton voted negatively but then signed a petition to call a second Constitutional Convention to consider the many amendments (changes) New York proposed.

Reelection and retirement

Clinton had been fairly easily reelected as governor in 1780, 1783, and 1786, but in 1789 the race between Clinton and state court judge Robert Yates (1738–1801) was contentious and close. Clinton won, but he lost votes because of his stand against ratification. In the 1792 gubernatorial election, U.S. Supreme Court chief justice John Jay was Governor Clinton's Federalist opponent. Although Jay received the majority of votes, the Federalist votes of three counties were disqualified, allowing Clinton to win another term. In 1795, when it was clear he would not win reelection, Clinton retired to oversee his many land investments. (His 1792 opponent, Jay, won the 1795 and 1798 elections.)

Vice presidential material

Clinton reentered politics in 1800. Two political parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans, had developed in the United States. Federalists supported a strong federal government, while Democratic-Republicans supported states' rights. Clinton aligned with the Democratic-Republicans. Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826; see entry in volume 1), the Democratic-Republican presidential candidate in 1800, was planning to choose former U.S. senator Aaron Burr (1756–1836; see entry in volume 1) of New York or Clinton as his vice presidential candidate. Technically each party simply chose two people to run for election, with neither one designated as the presidential or vice presidential candidate. However, one of the candidates was always assumed to be the major vote getter, and the party hoped the second candidate would receive enough votes to be elected vice president. Of the four candidates, two from each party, the one to receive the mostvotes became president, and the candidate who came in second became vice president. Burr pushed hard for the nomination to run with Jefferson, and Clinton did not; Jefferson therefore chose Burr. In 1801, Clinton decided to run again for governor of New York and won his seventh term.

Clinton served out his term as governor and then agreed to run with President Jefferson in the 1804 presidential election. Jefferson was reelected, and Clinton was elected vice president. Rumors abounded that Jefferson had chosen the sixty-five-year-old Clinton to run with him because by the next presidential election in 1808 Americans would most likely consider Clinton too old to be president. Jefferson hoped to see his secretary of state, James Madison, elected president in 1808. Jefferson and Madison, both Virginians, worked closely together, largely ignoring Vice President Clinton. Madison did win the presidential election of 1808, and Clinton reluctantly settled for vice president again. However, Clinton openly disapproved of Madison's performance as president.

One of Clinton's few significant acts as vice president occurred on February 30, 1811, while he was serving as president of the U.S. Senate. The vice president's primary job was to preside over the Senate and cast a vote only if necessary to break a tie. The Senate vote on a bill rechartering the First Bank of the United States resulted in a tie. Clinton cast the deciding vote, a negative vote. For the time being, the First Bank of the United States ceased to exist. No longer was a major source of loans available to growing and new businesses that had greatly spurred the nation's economy since the early 1790s. Little more than a year later, in April 1812, Clinton died after a four-week illness, without finishing his second term as vice president. Though Clinton's stint as vice president was unremarkable, he had been a dominant figure in New York state politics.

DeWitt Clinton

DeWitt Clinton (1769–1828), born in Orange County, New York, was the nephew of George Clinton, the governor of New York from 1777 until 1795 and again from 1801 until 1804. Like his uncle, DeWitt Clinton was a Democratic-Republican. Democratic-Republicans supported strong state governments and had a large base of political support among farmers. Clinton was elected mayor of New York City in 1803. The other political party in the United States, the Federalists, drew much of its support from Northern merchants, including those who lived in New York City.

By the 1812 presidential election, DeWitt Clinton was hoping to be nominated as the Democratic-Republican candidate, but incumbent James Madison was renominated. Back in 1807, then–secretary of state Madison had supported President Thomas Jefferson's Embargo Act, which effectively halted commercial shipping and the importing and exporting of goods, which severely damaged the business of merchants. However, Clinton got his chance to run for president when Northern merchants decided to support him as the Federalist nominee.

The 1812 election came just as the War of 1812 (1812–15) with Britain was about to erupt. President Madison had done everything in his power to avert war, but this angered his own party, the Republicans, who believed the United States should enter the war. The Federalists hoped to capture the votes of militant Democratic-Republicans and thereby defeat Madison. Clinton's Federalist friends published pamphlets, common campaign tools of the day, that used language designed to appeal to both Federalist merchants and to Democratic-Republicans who wanted war with Britain. In the end, Clinton's change of party and use of pamphlets weren't enough, and he lost the election to Madison, the incumbent president.

For More Information

Books

Clinton, George. Public Papers of George Clinton, First Governor of New York, 1777–1795, 1801–1804. New York: AMS Press, 1973.

Cornog, Evan. The Birth of Empire: DeWitt Clinton and the American Experience, 1769–1828. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

Kaminski, John P. George Clinton: Yeoman Politician of the New Republic. Madison, WI: Madison House, 1993.

Rutland, Robert A., ed. James Madison and the American Nation, 1751–1836: An Encyclopedia. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994.

Spaulding, E. Wilder. New York in the Critical Period, 1783–1789. New York: Columbia University Press, 1932. Reprint, Port Washington, NY: I. J. Friedman, 1963.

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Clinton, George

Clinton, George

CLINTON, GEORGE. (1739–1812). First governor of the state of New York; Continental general. New York. Born in Little Britain, New York, on 26 July 1739, Clinton left home in 1757 to serve on a privateer. Returning home in 1760, he joined the militia company commanded by his brother, James Clinton, and took part in the capture of Montreal. After studying and practicing law for a few years, he entered the New York provincial assembly in 1768, where he became the rival of Philip Schuyler as a leader of the radical minority. In 1775 he was sent to the Second Continental Congress, but lost the opportunity of signing the Declaration of Independence because Washington ordered him to take charge of the defenses of the Hudson Highlands in July 1776. After being commissioned as a brigadier general of militia on 25 March 1777, he was also appointed a brigadier general of the Continental Army. The British threat to the Highlands did not develop until October 1777, but his defenses failed to stop Sir Henry Clinton's expedition or avert the burning of Kingston. On 20 April 1777, Clinton became the first governor of New York under the new state constitution, winning election to six consecutive terms. After General John Burgoyne's surrender in October 1777, fighting in New York state was restricted to border warfare, which forced Clinton to devote most of his energies to repelling the raids mounted by Loyalist and Indian forces from Canada. Clinton's firm opposition to Vermont's independence, which extended to twice threatening to take New York out of the war if Congress recognized Vermont, prevented coordinated defensive actions. Clinton insisted that the state of Vermont was in fact the northeastern counties of New York and he would not compromise or budge on the state's sovereign rights to these lands. On 30 September 1783 he was given the brevet rank of major general in the Continental army.

Clinton strongly opposed the federal Constitution, fearing that it would undermine New York's economic authority and his personal power within the state. Clinton published his anti-federalist views in seven "Cato" letters (so called because he signed them using the name of that Roman statesman). His reasoning made use of the French philosopher, Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu's insistence that republics survive only if they are geographically small in scope. Alexander Hamilton responded to Clinton with a series of letters signed "Caesar," and, more significantly, by completely out-maneuvering the governor at the state ratifying convention in June 1788. Clinton's opposition to the Constitution almost cost him the election in 1789. In 1792 he stole the election by having his agents throw out the results from three counties. Clinton refused to run for office again in 1795 because he recognized that his defeat at the hands of John Jay was inevitable, but he allied himself with the powerful and rich Livingston family and Aaron Burr to win the governorship in 1800, moving on to serve two terms as vice president of the United States from 1805 to 1812, under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He died in office on 20 April 1812.

SEE ALSO Clinton, James; Schuyler, Philip John.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Hastings, Harold, ed. The Public Papers of George Clinton. 10 vols. Albany: The State of New York, 1899–1914.

Kaminski, John P. George Clinton: Yeoman Politician of the New Republic. Madison, Wisc.: Madison House, 1993.

Spaulding, E. Wilder. His Excellency, George Clinton. New York: Macmillan, 1938.

                         revised by Michael Bellesiles

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Clinton, George

Clinton, George

Clinton, George, leader The Parliaments, an R&B vocal group during the 1950s and 1960s; b. Plainfied, Ohio, July 22, 1940. The Parliaments lost the use of their name in the late 1960s. They regrouped as the rock-oriented Funkadelic, incorporating the innovations of Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix. Funkadelic continued to record on a separate label once Clinton regained use of the Parliament name (now without the s). Augmented by bassist William “Bootsy” Collins and horn players Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley from James Brown’s JBs, Parliament recorded a series of bizarre, oddly conceptual albums of so-called funk music, perhaps the last vestige of R&B music not overwhelmed by the rise of mindless disco music. Appealing primarily to African-American teenagers—and promoting humanitarian ideals such as equality and self-determination through an off-the- wall synthesis of ghetto jargon, science fiction fantasies, parodied psychedelia, and spiritual values—Parliament finally broke through to mainstream success with 1976’s Mothership Connection album and tour.

George Clinton subsequently concentrated on the Funkadelic side of the group, achieving enormous success with 1978’s One Nation Under a Groove. He also recorded various members of the Parliament-Funkadelic “family” such as Walter “Junie” Morrison, the Horny Horns, Parlet, and the Brides of Funkenstein; he formed his own label, Uncle Jam, for recordings by the Sweat Band and the P-Funk All-Stars. Former member William “Bootsy” Collins launched his own career with Bootsy’s Rubber Band, as did Roger Troutman with his family band Zapp.

Recording sporadically on his own in the 1980s, George Clinton served as inspiration to the hip-hop movement, and saw many of his hit songs sampled by rap acts. He ultimately joined Prince’s Paisley Park label for The Cinderella Theory, hailed as his comeback, and enjoyed renewed popularity as a result of his appearances with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Grammy Awards in 1993 and his participation in the Lollapal-ooza tour of 1994.

In 1955 George Clinton formed the Detroit R&B vocal group the Parliaments with Raymond Davis, Calvin Simon, Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins, and Grady Thomas. They first recorded for ABC in 1956, and subsequently recorded for a number of different labels before signing with Motown in 1964. They eventually scored a major pop and smash R&B hit with “(I Wanna) Testify” on Revilot in 1967, but the company soon folded and Motown claimed the rights to the Parliament name. Nevertheless, they managed to record Osmium for Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Invictus label before losing the rights to the name.

George Clinton, assuming the persona of Dr. Funkenstein, augmented Parliament with guitarists Eddie Hazel and Lucius Ross, keyboardist Bernie Worrell, drummer Ramon Fullwood, and vocalist Ray Davis, and the group took the name of Funkadelic. Signed to the Detroit-based Westbound label in 1969, Funkadelic recorded a series of albums that attempted to bridge the gap between 1960s rock and contemporary R&B styles. Through 1976 Funkadelic scored a series of minor-to-moderate R&B hits, highlighted by “I’ll Bet You’”“I Wanna Know if It’s Good to You?’” and “On the Verge of Getting It On,” while recording modest-selling albums such as Maggot Brain, America Eats Its Young, Cosmic Slop, and Tales ofKidd Funkadelic for Westbound.

With Clinton regaining the use of the Parliament name by 1974, the group signed with Casablanca Records, recording bizarre yet entertaining albums backed by Funkadelic that included the near-smash R&B hit “Up for the Down Stroke.” The astounding success of the classic “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)” single (a major pop and smash R&B hit) and best-selling Mothership Connection album finally brought the group mainstream success in 1976. By then the members of Parliament-Funkadelic included veteran guitarists Bernie Worrell, Eddie Hazel, and Ray Davis, horn players Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, and bassist William “Bootsy” Collins, all former members of James Brown’s band, plus former Ohio Players keyboardist Walter Morrison. A weird conceptual album blending brilliant if erratic music and Clinton’s funk monologues regarding science fiction and psychedelic and spiritual fantasies, Mothership Connection was supported by a sell-out tour that incorporated odd costumes and massive stage props, including a spaceship dubbed the Mothership.

The success of Mothership Connection paved the way for subsequent best-selling albums by Parliament, including Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome, which yielded a major pop and top R&B hit with “Flash Light.” Subsequent R&B hits for Parliament through 1980 included the top hit “Aqua Boogie” and the near-smashes “Theme from the Black Hole” and “Agony of DeFeet.” By 1977 Funkadelic had switched to Warner Bros. Records, where they scored a top R&B and major pop hit with the title song to the classic One Nation Under a Groove album. Toward the end of 1979 Funkadelic scored a top R&B hit with “(Not Just) Knee Deep—Part 1” from Uncle Jam Wants You.

The members of Parliament-Funkadelic began taking on solo projects in 1975. Junie Morrison recorded three albums for Westbound before switching to Columbia by 1980; he later recorded for Island. Bootsy’s Rubber Band, headed by Bootsy Collins, began recording for Warner Bros, in 1976. The group produced a smash R&B hit with “The Pinocchio Theory” in 1977, and a top R&B hit with “Bootzilla” in 1978. An offshoot of Bootsy’s Rubber Band, the Sweat Band (with Maceo Parker), recorded an album for Clinton’s newly formed Uncle Jam label in 1980, the year Collins began recording on his own for Warner Bros. In 1982 he had a major R&B hit with “Body Slam!” He eventually switched to Columbia Records for 1988’s What’s Bootsy Doin’? and formed the New Rubber Band and Zillatron in the 1990s.

In 1977 Fred Wesley and the Horny Horns (again with Maceo Parker) recorded an album for Atlantic, and Eddie Hazel recorded one for Warner Bros. Also in 1977, three of the original Parliaments, Clarence Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas, left Parliament-Funkadelic to eventually record an album for LAX records as Funkadelic. In 1978 the vocal trio Parlet, with Mahalia Franklin and Shirley Hayden, began recording for Casablanca, and the Brides of Funkenstein, with Lynn Mabry, Dawn Silva, Ran Banks, and Larry Demps, recorded the first of two albums for Atlantic, producing the smash R&B hit “Disco to Go.” Bernie Worrell recorded an album for Arista in 1979, and in 1980 Roger Troutman formed Zapp with his brothers Lester, Tony, and Larry. Through 1983 they achieved R&B smashes with “More Bounce to the Ounce—Part 1,” “Dance Floor (Part 1),” “Doo Wa Ditty (Blow That Thing),” and “I Can Make You Dance (Part 1).” Roger began recording on his own in 1981, scoring a top R&B hit with “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” which featured his use of the voice-box device. In 1986 Zapp hit the R&B charts with “Computer Love,” and in 1987 Roger topped the R&B charts with “I Want to Be Your Man.”

In 1980 George Clinton withdrew from his high profile in the popular-music world. He recorded on his own for Capitol Records during the 1980s, scoring a top R&B hit with “Atomic Dog” from Computer Games in 1983. Around 1982 he formed the P-Funk All-Stars, whose album Urban Dancefloor Guerrillas came to be regarded as a funk masterpiece. He also produced albums by Jimmy Giles and the Tac-Heads, the Brides of Motown, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ second album. Bernie Worrell assisted in the recording of the Talking Heads’ celebrated 1980 Remain in Light album, and joined the group’s 1983 tour that produced the excellent concert film Stop Making Sense. By 1988 George Clinton had switched to Prince’s Paisley Park label for The Cinderella Theory, lauded as his comeback. In 1989 he toured with a new edition of his P-Funk All-Stars.

During the 1990s Bernie Worrell returned to recording after a stint with the Talking Heads, and Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker established themselves as jazz artists. Roger Troutman returned with 1991’s Bridging the Gap after a four-year absence, and George Clinton recorded Hey Man, Smell My Finger with veterans Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, and Maceo Parker, plus Prince and rappers Ice Cube and Dr. Dre. Clinton’s renewed career got a boost from his appearance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Grammy Awards in 1993 and his successful performances with the P-Funk All-Stars on the Lollapalooza 1994 tour.

Discography

parliament:Osmium (1971); Up for the Down Stroke (1974); Chocolate City (1975); Mothership Connection (1976); The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976); P-Funk Earth Tour (1977); Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome (1977); Motor Booty Affair (1978); Gloryhallastoopid (Pin the Tale on the Funky) (1979); Trombipulation (1981); Greatest Hits (The Bomb) (1984); The Best of Parliament: Give Up the Funk (1995); Tear the Roof Off (1974–1980) (1993). FUNKADELIC: Funkadelic (1970); 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); Greatest Hits (1975); Let’s Take It to the Stage (1975); Tales ofKidd Funkadelic (1976); Best of the Early Years, Vol. 1 (1977); Hardcore Jollies (1976); One Nation Under a Groove (1978); Uncle Jam Wants You (1979); The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981); Who’s a Funkadelic (1992). GEORGE CLINTON: TheG. C. Band Arrives (1974); Computer Games (1982); You Shouldn’t-Nuf Bit Fish (1984); Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends (1985); R&B Skeletons in the Closet (1986); The Best of G C.(1987); G. C. Presents Our Gang Funky (1989); The Cinderella Theory (1989); HeyMan, Smell My Finger (1993). BOOTSY’S RUBBER BAND: Stretchiri Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band (1976); Ahh... The Name Is Bootsy, Baby I (1977); Bootsy? Player of the Year (1978); This Boot Is Made for Funkin’ (1979); Jungle Bass (1990). THE SWEAT BAND: The Sweat Band (1980). WILLIAM “BOOTSY” COLLINS: Ultra Wave (1980); The One Giveth, the Count Taketh Away (1982); Back in the Day: The Best of Bootsy (1994); What’s Bootsy Doin’? (1988); Keepin’ Dah Funk Alive 4 1995 (1995). BOOTSY’S NEW RUBBER BAND: Blasters of the Universe (1994). ZILLATRON: Lord of the Harvest (1994). WALTER “JUNIE” MORRISON: When We Do (1975); Freeze (1976); Suzie Super Groupie (1976); Bread Alone (1980); Junie 5 (1981); Evacuate Your Seats (1984). FRED WESLEY AND THE HORNY HORNS: A Blow for Me, a Toot for You (1977). FRED WESLEY: New Friends (1991); Comme Ci Comme Ça (1992); Swing and Be Funky (1993); Amalgamation (1995). MACEO PARKER: Roots Revisited (1990); Mo’ Roots (1991); Life on Planet Groove (1992); Southern Exposure (1994). EDDIE HAZEL: Games, Dames, and Other Thangs (1977). PARLET: Pleasure (1978); The Best of Parlet, Featuring Parliament (1994). BRIDES OF FUNKENSTEIN: Funk or Walk (1978); Never Buy Texas from a Cowboy (1980). BERNIE WORRELL: All the Woo in the World (1979); Funk of Ages (1990); Blacktronic Science(1993). ZAPP: Zapp (1980); Zapp II (1982); Zapp III (1983); The New Zapp IV U (1985); Zapp V (1989). ROGER TROUTMAN: The Many Facets of Roger (1981); The Saga Continues (1984); Unlimited (1987); Bridging the Gap (1991). ZAPP AND ROGER: All the Greatest Hits (1993). THE SWEAT BAND: The Sweat Band (1980). FUNKADELIC (FORMER MEMBERS): Connections and Disconnections (1981). P-FUNK ALL-STARS: Urban Dancefloor Guerrillas (1984).

—Brock Helander

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