George Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American musician, widely considered one of the forefathers of funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and was a solo funk artist as of 1981.
He 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. Despite initial commercial failures, The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies (see also p-funk). This article focuses on Clinton’s solo efforts after 1981.
Beginning in the early 1980’s, 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 bandmembers were huge fans of George Clinton and funk in general. 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.
In the 1990s, Clinton appeared in films such as Graffiti Bridge (1990), Good Burger (1997) and PCU (1994). Most recently he appeared as the voice of The Funktipus, the DJ of the Bounce FM station in the 2004 video game, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Rapper Dr. Dre sampled most of his beats to create his g-funk music era.
“You’re Thinking Right” - the theme song for The Tracey Ullman Show, was written by Clinton. Fanart Banner