George Clinton (funk musician)
Clinton performing in Centreville, Virginia, 2007
|Birth name||George Edward Clinton|
|Born||July 22, 1941|
Kannapolis, North Carolina, U.S.
George Edward Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer. His Parliament-Funkadelic collective (which primarily recorded under the distinct band names Parliament and Funkadelic) developed an influential and eclectic form of funk music during the 1970s that drew on science fiction, outlandish fashion, psychedelia, and surreal humor. He launched his solo career with the 1982 album Computer Games and would go on to influence 1990s hip-hop and G-funk.
Clinton is regarded, along with James Brown and Sly Stone, as one of the foremost innovators of funk music. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, alongside 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. In 2019, he and Parliament-Funkadelic were given Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Clinton was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, United States, grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and currently resides in Tallahassee, Florida. During his teen years, Clinton formed a doo-wop group inspired by Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers called The Parliaments, while straightening hair at a barber salon in Plainfield
The West End of Plainfield, New Jersey was once home to a barbershop on 216 Plainfield Avenue known as "Silk Palace". Owned in part by Clinton, it was staffed by various members of Parliament-Funkadelic, and known as the "hangout for all the local singers and musicians" in Plainfields' 1950s and 1960s doo-wop, soul, rock, and proto-funk music scene.
1960s and 1970s
For a period in the 1960s Clinton was a staff songwriter for Motown. Despite initial commercial failure and one major hit single, ("(I Wanna) Testify" in 1967), as well as arranging and producing scores of singles on many of the independent Detroit soul music labels, The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the 1970s (see also P-Funk). These two bands combined the elements of musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Frank Zappa, and James Brown while exploring various sounds, technology, and lyricism. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic dominated diverse music during the 1970s, with over 40 R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and three platinum albums.
From 1971 to late 1973, Clinton and several other members of the band settled in Toronto. During their years in Toronto, they honed their live show and recorded the album America Eats Its Young, which was their first to feature Bootsy Collins.
In the 1980s, Clinton began to encounter legal difficulties arising from PolyGram's acquisition of Parliament‘s label, Casablanca Records. He recorded several solo albums, although all of these records featured contributions from P-Funk's core musicians. This period of Clinton's career was marred by multiple legal problems resulting in financial difficulties due to royalty and copyright issues, notably with Bridgeport Music, who Clinton claims fraudulently obtained the copyrights to many of his recordings.
In 1982, Clinton was signed to Capitol Records under two names: his own as a solo artist, and as the P-Funk All-Stars, releasing Computer Games under his own name that same year. The single "Loopzilla" hit the Top 20 on the R&B charts, followed by "Atomic Dog", which reached #1 R&B and #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?".
He is also a notable music producer who works on almost all the albums he performs on, and has produced albums for Bootsy Collins and Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. In 1985, he was recruited by the Chili Peppers to produce their album Freaky Styley, because the band members were huge fans of George Clinton's and of funk in general. Clinton wrote the vocals and lyrics to the title track, which was originally intended by the band to be left as an instrumental piece. The album was not a commercial success at the time. In 1987, Clinton was recruited to write the theme song for The Tracey Ullman Show, "You're Thinking Right".
During the mid to late 1980s, many hip-hop and rap artists cited Clinton's earlier music as an influence. Along with James Brown, Clinton's songs with Parliament-Funkadelic were often sampled by rap producers. "Sure, sample my stuff…" he remarked in 1996; "Ain't a better time to get paid than when you're my age. You know what to do with money. You don't buy as much pussy or drugs with it – you just buy some."
In 1989, Clinton released The Cinderella Theory on Paisley Park, Prince's record label. This was followed by Hey Man, Smell My Finger in 1993. 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.
1990s to 2000s
Clinton appeared in films such as Graffiti Bridge (1990), House Party (1990), PCU (1994), Good Burger (1997), and The Breaks (1999). In 1997 he appeared as himself in the Cartoon Network show Space Ghost Coast to Coast. Clinton also 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 often sampled Clinton's music, helping to bring about the G-Funk era. In 1999, Clinton collaborated with Lil' Kim and Fred Durst for rap metal group Methods of Mayhem's single "Get Naked".
Displaying his influence on rap and hip hop, Clinton also worked with Tupac Shakur on the song "Can't C Me" from the album All Eyez on Me; Ice Cube on the song and video for "Bop Gun (One Nation)" on the Lethal Injection album (which sampled Funkadelic's earlier hit "One Nation Under A Groove"); 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; the Wu Tang Clan on "Wolves" from the album 8 Diagrams.
Clinton founded a record label called The C Kunspyruhzy in 2003. He had a cameo appearance in "Where Were We?", the season two premiere of the CBS television sitcom How I Met Your Mother, on September 18, 2006.
He appeared on the intro to Snoop Dogg's Tha Blue Carpet Treatment album, released in 2007. Clinton was also a judge for the 5th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists' careers.
On September 16, 2008, Clinton released a 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 September 10, 2009, George Clinton was awarded the Urban Icon Award from Broadcast Music Incorporated. The ceremony featured former P-Funk associate Bootsy Collins, as well contemporary performers such as Big Boi from Outkast and Cee-Lo Green from Goodie Mob.
In May 2012, Clinton was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. During the commencement concert, Clinton joined the college's P-Funk Ensemble to perform hits like “Testify,” “Give Up the Funk,” and “One Nation Under a Groove." He was accompanied by longtime horn players Bennie Cowan and Greg Thomas.
On June 27, 2015, Clinton joined Mark Ronson, Mary J. Blige and Grandmaster Flash on stage at the Glastonbury Festival to perform Ronson's hit Uptown Funk. Clinton also appears with Kendrick Lamar on the song "Wesley's Theory" from the album To Pimp a Butterfly.
Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic are slated to headline the seventh annual Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho in 2018. The release of a new Parliament album, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, was announced in March 2018. It was released May 22.
In April 2018, Clinton announced that he would retire from touring in May 2019. Billboard reported that Clinton had recently undergone pacemaker surgery, but he said that was not a factor in his decision. He indicated that he expected Parliament-Funkadelic would continue to tour without him, saying "Truth be told, it's never really been about me. It's always been about the music and the band. That's the real P-Funk legacy. They'll still be funkin' long after I stop." Earlier in 2018, he told Rolling Stone that he had made a hologram, suggesting that the band could "have it start performing in Vegas".
Clinton collaborated with Flying Lotus on his new album Flamagra released on May 24, 2019. The track "Burning Down the House" was co-written by Clinton.
Clinton married Stephanie Lynn Clinton in 1990. In February 2013, after 22 years of marriage, he filed for divorce.
Clinton is currently married to Carlon Thompson-Clinton, his manager of over 10 years.
On February 1, 2010, Clinton's 50-year-old son, George Clinton, Jr., was found dead in his Florida home. According to police, he died of natural causes and had been dead for several days.
|Year||Album information||Peak chart positions|
|1983||You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish
|1985||Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends
|1986||R&B Skeletons in the Closet
|1989||The Cinderella Theory
|1993||Hey Man, Smell My Finger
|2005||How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?
|2008||George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
|1976||The Mothership Connection – Live from Houston
|1990||Live at the Beverly Theater
|1995||Mothership Connection Newberg Session
|2004||500,000 Kilowatts of P-Funk Power (Live)
|2006||Take It To The Stage (Live)
|2015||P-Funk Live at Metropolis
Family Series albums
|1992||Go Fer Yer Funk||Nocturne|
|1993||P Is the Funk||Nocturne|
|Testing Positive 4 the Funk||AEM|
|A Fifth of Funk||AEM|
|1995||The Best (compilation)||P-Vine|
|1988||Atomic Clinton! (EP)
|1990||Atomic Dog (EP)
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|1983||"Nubian Nut"||15||—||—||You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish|
|1986||"Do Fries Go with That Shake?"||13||—||57||R&B Skeletons in the Closet|
|"R&B Skeletons (In the Closet)"||—||—||—|
|1989||"Why Should I Dog You Out?"||—||—||—||The Cinderella Theory|
|1993||"Paint the White House Black"||—||—||—||Hey Man, Smell My Finger|
|1996||"If Anybody Gets Funked Up (It's Gonna Be You)" (as George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars)||13||—||97||T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M.|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart.|
- 1981: "Work That Sucker to Death" (Xavier featuring George Clinton and Bootsy Collins; Point of Pleasure)
- 1983: "I Almost Believed You" (from the Michael Bolton album Michael Bolton)
- 1985: "American Ghost Dance" (sang backing vocals with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their album Freaky Styley; he also produced this album)
- 1985: "May the Cube Be With You" (collaborated with Thomas Dolby and appeared in the music video for the song)
- 1985: "Sun City" (from the Artists United Against Apartheid album Sun City)
- 1986: "Break My Heart" (Jimmy G. & The Tackheads; one of his many one-off groups with George Clinton supplying vocals & possibly Bootsy Collins on bass)
- 1986: "Magilla Gorilla" (from the Kurtis Blow album Kingdom Blow)
- 1988: "Lifestyles of the Roach and Famous by the INCorporated Thang Band (Produced by George Clinton and Bootsy Collins. Songs co-wrote by George Clinton)
- 1990: "We Can Funk" (from the Prince album Graffiti Bridge)
- 1990: House Party (George Clinton, as himself)
- 1991: "Rock the Planet", "Dysfunction", "Air Head", and "Freedom of Speech" (from the Muruga UFM album Rock the Planet)
- 1991: "Sons of the P" (from the Digital Underground album Sons of the P)
- 1991: "Words & Music from da Lowlands" (from the Gotcha! album Words and Music from da Lowlands)
- 1993: "G-Funk Intro" (from the Snoop Doggy Dogg album Doggystyle)
- 1993: "Tight" (from the MC Breed album The New Breed)
- 1994: PCU (George Clinton, as himself)
- 1993: "Bop Gun (One Nation)" (from the Ice Cube album Lethal Injection)
- 1994: "P-Funk" (NBA Jam; hidden character)
- 1994: "Funky Jam", "Give Out But Don't Give Up" and "Free" (from the Primal Scream album Give Out But Don't Give Up)
- 1995: "Blac Mermaid" (from the Society of Soul album Brainchild)
- 1996: "Can't C Me" (from the 2Pac album All Eyez on Me)
- 1997: Good Burger (Mental Patient/Dancer)
- 1998: "Synthesizer" (from the Outkast album Aquemini)
- 1999: "Get Naked" (from the Methods of Mayhem album Methods of Mayhem)
- 2000: "Alien Love" (from the Alien Lovestock album Planet of the Fish)
- 2001: "Come With Me", "The One" (from the Killah Priest album Priesthood)
- 2001: "Speed Dreaming" (from the Warren G album The Return Of The Regulator)
- 2001: "J.U.M.P." (from the Redman album Malpractice)
- 2002: "The Movie" (from the Too Short album What's My Favorite Word?)
- 2003: "Hey Bulldog" (from the Eric McFadden album Diamonds To Coal)
- 2005: "Lotus Flower" (from the Blackalicious album The Craft)
- 2006: "Uncle Speaks (Album Naration)" (from the Joi album Tennessee Slim Is the Bomb)
- 2006: "Intrology" (from the Snoop Dogg album Tha Blue Carpet Treatment)
- 2006: "The Doctor and the Kidd" (from the People Under the Stairs album Stepfather)
- 2007: "Wolves" and "Tar Pit" (from the Wu-Tang Clan album 8 Diagrams)
- 2007: "When the World Is at Peace" (Masters of Funk & Blues feat. George Clinton & Bobby Taylor; A Soulful Tale of Two Cities)
- 2007: "Love Won't Let Me Wait" (Masters of Funk, Soul & Blues featuring George Clinton; A Soulful Tale of Two Cities)
- 2007: "Night Out" (from the Lifesavas album Gutterfly)
- 2008: "Up Again" (from the Bobby Digital album Digi Snacks)
- 2008: "Hitler's Brain" (from the Die Warzau album Vinyl88: Not the Best of Die Warzau)
- 2009: "There's a Party" (from the N.A.S.A album The Spirit of Apollo)
- 2010: "Fo Yo Sorrows" (from the Big Boi album Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty)
- 2010: "Red Wine" & "Red Wine (Skit)" (from the Stevie Stone album New Kid Comin)
- 2011: "D-Funk (Funk With Us)" (from The Headhunters album Platinum)
- 2012: Thanksgiving Day halftime show at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan; Halftime Concert featuring Kid Rock)
- 2013: "Tonight We Ride" (from the Killah Priest album The Psychic World of Walter Reed)
- 2013: "Do the Damn Thang" (from the Ralph Myerz album Supersonic Pulse)
- 2014: "UFO Le Funk" & "Brooklyn UFO" from the Funky Taurus & George Clinton album UFO Le Funk)
- 2015: "Wesley's Theory" (from the Kendrick Lamar album To Pimp a Butterfly)
- 2015: "The Lavishments of Light Looking" (from the Adult Swim Singles Program 2015 by WOKE)
- 2016: "Do the Damn Thang" (Da YoungFellaz single featuring Snoop Dogg & Nipsey Hussle)
- 2016: "Cool Joe" (new version by George Clinton & Funky Taurus)
- 2016: "Riot" (from the Childish Gambino album "Awaken, My Love!")
- 2018: "Hawking Tribute" (George Clinton & Funky Taurus; pays tribute to the passing of Stephen Hawking)
- 2019: "Lazy Daisy" (George Clinton & Funky Taurus; from the Lazy Daisy album Lazy Daisy George Clinton & Funky Taurus)
- 2019: "Burning Down the House" (from the Flying Lotus album Flamagra)
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- Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 274. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
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- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-10-27. Retrieved 2019-06-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "George Clinton And Killer Mike: Talking (Barber) Shop". Npr.org. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
- Sammy Campbell and the Del Larks - Classic Urban Harmony. classicurbanharmony.net/wp-content/uploads/.../Sammy-Campbell-The-Del-Larks.pdf by T Ashley. The story of the Del Larks revolves around the extensive music careers of two individuals; Sammy. Campbell and Ron Taylor.
- "George Clinton and the Parliaments – (Part One of Two) – Rock 'n' Roll Spotlight". Rocknrollspotlight.com. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
- "Biography". Georgeclinton.com. Retrieved October 15, 2019.
- Mike Masnick, "George Clinton Explains How Bridgeport Allegedly Faked Documents To Get His Music Rights", Techdirt, June 17, 2011.
- Gold, Jonathan (1989-09-16). "Funky George Clinton and Crew Are Back". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
- Q, 1996, precise date unknown.
- "George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic". Theorientaltheater.com. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
- "Past Judges". Independent Music Awards. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
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- "BMI Honors George Clinton, T-Pain, Lil Wayne and Many More at Urban Awards in New York". Broadcast Music Incorporated. September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 7, 2010.
- "2009 Inductees". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "George Clinton Accepts Honorary Doctor of Music Degree at Berklee", Jambands.com, February 17, 2017.
- "Mark Ronson at Glastonbury 2015 review – saving the best for last". The Guardian. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
- Argyle, Samuel (29 March 2019). "A fantasy getaway in a fish tank". The Outline. theoutline.com. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
- Sacher, Andrew (2017-12-07). "Treefort Music Fest 2018 initial lineup". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
- Mitchell, Gail (April 27, 2018). "Funk Icon George Clinton to Retire from Touring: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
- Kreps, Daniel (April 27, 2018). "George Clinton to Retire From Touring in 2019". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
- Hertweck, Nate (December 19, 2018). "Dionne Warwick, Donny Hathaway & More To Receive Special Merit Awards". The Recording Academy. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- Aniftos, Rania (December 19, 2018). "Black Sabbath, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic Among Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients". Billboard. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- Grow, Kory (December 19, 2018). "Black Sabbath, George Clinton to Get Lifetime Achievement Grammys". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- "George Clinton Calls Flying Lotus, Thundercat & Kendrick Lamar "The New Generation Of Funk Musicians"". Okayplayer.com. November 5, 2018. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
- "GEORGE CLINTON TO WIFE Go Funk Yourself ... I Filed for DIVORCE". TMZ. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
- Binelli, Mark; Binelli, Mark (2015-04-27). "George Clinton: Doctor Atomic". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
- "Two Deaths in the George Clinton Family: George Clinton Jr. & Mahlia Franklin". CelebStoner.com. 2010-02-08. Archived from the original on 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
- Clinton, George; Greenman, Ben (2014). Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?. New York: Atria Books. ISBN 978-1-4767-5107-8.
- Rushin, Rob (August 27, 2018). "Bringing Back the Funk with P-Funk Legend George Clinton". Flamingo.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to George Clinton (musician).|
- Official website
- Holdengräber, Paul (October 29, 2014). "Live from the NYPL: George Clinton | Paul Holdengräber". New York Public Library.
- "Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: George Clinton & Christian Acker". Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. March 11, 2014.
- Keyes, Allison (June 6, 2012). "George Clinton Fights for His Right to Funk". All Things Considered. NPR.
- Cox-Cordova, Jill (September 15, 2011). "Red Chair Interview: George Clinton". CNN.com.
- College Crier George Clinton Interview
- Houston Press interview
- George Clinton on IMDb
- George Clinton Interview NAMM Oral History Library (2006)
- Trouser Press George Clinton Discography
- Promotional MP3 "Ain't That Peculiar" from George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love
- George Clinton at WhoSampled