George Clinton (musician)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
George Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American musician and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and is a solo funk artist as of 1981. He has been called one of the most important innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
Clinton was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida. In Plainfield, he ran a barber salon, where he straightened hair, and soon formed a doo wop group, inspired by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, called The Parliaments. For a period in the 1960s Clinton was a staff songwriter for Motown. Despite initial commercial failures (and one major hit single, "(I Wanna) Testify", in 1967), The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies (see also P-Funk). These two bands combined elements of bands/musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Cream and James Brown while exploring different sounds, technology, and lyricism. This article focuses on Clinton's solo efforts after 1981.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Clinton recorded several nominal "solo" albums, although all of these records featured contributions from P-Funk's core musicians. The primary reason for recording under his own name was legal difficulties, due to the complex copyright and trademark issues surrounding the name "Parliament" (primarily) and Polygram's purchase of his former label (as part of Parliament), Casablanca Records.
In 1982, Clinton signed to Capitol Records as a solo artist and as the P-Funk All-Stars, releasing Computer Games that same year. "Loopzilla" hit the Top 20 R&B charts, followed by "Atomic Dog", which reached #1 R&B, but peaked at #101 on the pop chart. In the next four years, Clinton released three more studio albums (You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish, Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends and R&B Skeletons in the Closet) as well as a live album, Mothership Connection (Live from the Summit, Houston, Texas) and charting three singles in the R&B Top 30, "Nubian Nut", "Last Dance", and "Do Fries Go with That Shake?". This period of Clinton's career was marred by multiple legal problems (resulting in financial difficulties) due to complex royalty and copyright issues.
In 1985, he was recruited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to produce their album Freaky Styley, because the band members were huge fans of George Clinton and funk in general. Clinton, in fact, wrote the vocals and lyrics to the title track which was originally intended by the band to be left an instrumental piece. The album was not a commercial success at the time, but has since sold 500,000 copies after the Chili Peppers became popular years later.
Though Clinton's popularity had waned by the mid 1980s, he experienced something of a resurgence in the early 1990s, as many rappers cited him as an influence and began sampling his songs. Alongside James Brown, George Clinton is considered to be one of the most sampled musicians ever.
In 1989, Clinton released The Cinderella Theory on Paisley Park, Prince's record label. This was followed by Hey Man, Smell My Finger. Clinton then signed with Sony 550 and released T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. (The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership) in 1996, having reunited with several old members of Parliament and Funkadelic.
1990s to 2000s
In 1995 Clinton sang "Mind Games" on the John Lennon tribute "Working Class Hero". In the 1990s, Clinton appeared in films such as Graffiti Bridge (1990), House Party (1990), PCU (1994), Good Burger (1997) and The Breaks (1999). Most recently he appeared as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the Funk radio station Bounce FM in the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, in which his song "Loopzilla" also appeared. Rapper Dr. Dre sampled most of his beats to create his G-Funk music era. He's also worked with Tupac Shakur on the song "Can't C Me" from the album All Eyez on Me; Outkast on the song "Synthesizer" from the album Aquemini; Redman on the song "J.U.M.P." from the album Malpractice; Souls of Mischief on "Mama Knows Best" from the album Trilogy: Conflict, Climax, Resolution; Killah Priest on "Come With me" from the album Priesthood and the Wu Tang Clan on "Wolves" from the album "8 Diagrams". In 1994 he collaborated with British band Primal Scream on "Funky Jam" from their LP "Give Out But Don't Give Up".
On December 6, 2003, Clinton was charged with one felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor count of possessing drug paraphernalia in Tallahassee, Florida. Just two weeks later, he made his first public appearance since the arrest, jamming onstage with the jam band Phish in Miami. On August 11, 2004, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor drug-paraphernalia charges, while the felony charge was dropped.
Clinton founded a record label called The C Kunspyruhzy in 2005.
"You're Thinking Right", the theme song for The Tracey Ullman Show, was written by Clinton. He appeared on the intro to Snoop Dogg's Tha Blue Carpet Treatment album, released in 2007. He also appeared in the film PCU (Jeremy Piven, David Spade) and played a concert for the big party.
Clinton was also a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
Clinton allows audience members to tape his live performances for private, non-commercial use only.
On September 16, 2008, Clinton released his next solo album George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love on Shanachie Records. Largely a covers album, Gangsters features guest appearances from Sly Stone, El DeBarge, Red Hot Chili Peppers, RZA, Carlos Santana, gospel singer Kim Burrell and more.
On May 9 George performed at Pole Day for the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
|1982||Computer Games||Capitol Records|
|1983||You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish||Capitol Records|
|1985||Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends||Capitol Records|
|1986||R&B Skeletons in the Closet||Capitol Records|
|1989||The Cinderella Theory||Paisley Park Records|
|1993||Hey Man, Smell My Finger||Paisley Park Records|
|1993||Sample Some of Disc - Sample Some of D.A.T.||AEM|
|1996||Testing Positive 4 The Funk||AEM|
|1996||T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.||Sony 550 Music|
|2005||How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?||The C Kunspyruhzy|
|2008||George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love||Shanachie|
- "Loopzilla" (1982) US R&B #19, UK #57
- "Atomic Dog" (1982) US R&B #1, UK #94
- "Nubian Nut" (1983) US R&B #15
- "Do Fries Go with That Shake?" (1986) US R&B #13, UK #57
- "R&B Skeletons (In the Closet)" (1986)
- "Why Should I Dog You Out?" (1989)
- "Tweakin'" (1989)
- "Paint The White House Black" (1993)
- "Martial Law (Hey Man...Smell My Finger)" (1993)
- "If Anybody Gets Funked Up (It's Gonna Be You)" (1996)
- 1990: "We Can Funk" (Prince with George Clinton; Graffiti Bridge)
- 1991: "Sons of the P" (Digital Underground; Sons of the P)
- 1993: "G-Funk Intro" (Snoop Dogg; Doggystyle)
- 1994: "Bop Gun (One Nation)" (Ice Cube; Lethal Injection)
- 1994: "P-Funk" (NBA Jam; Hidden Character)
- 1994: "Funky Jam" (Primal Scream; Give Out But Don't Give Up)
- 1998: "Synthisizer" (Outkast; "Aquemini")
- 1996: "Can't C Me" (2Pac featuring George Clinton; All Eyez on Me)
- 1999: "Get Naked" (Methods of Mayhem featuring Fred Durst, Lil' Kim, Mixmaster Mike and George Clinton; Methods of Mayhem)
- 2001: "Come With Me", "The One" (Killah Priest featuring George Clinton; Priesthood)
- 2001: "Speed Dreaming" (Warren G featuring George Clinton and Mista Grimm; The Return Of The Regulator)
- 2001: "J.U.M.P." (Redman featuring George Clinton; Malpractice)
- 2002: "The Movie" (Too Short featuring George Clinton and Belita Woods; What's My Favorite Word?)
- 2005: "Lotus Flower" (Blackalicious featuring George Clinton; The Craft)
- 2006: "Uncle Speaks (Album Naration)" (Joi featuring George Clinton; Tennessee Slim Is The Bomb)
- 2006: "Intrology" (Snoop Dogg featuring George Clinton; Tha Blue Carpet Treatment)
- 2006: "The Doctor and the Kidd" (People Under the Stairs featuring George Clinton; Stepfather)
- 2007: "Wolves", "Tar Pit" (Wu-Tang Clan featuring George Clinton; 8 Diagrams)
- 2008: "Up Again" (RZA featuring George Clinton; Digi Snacks)
- 2009: "There's A Party" (N.A.S.A featuring George Clinton and Chali 2na)