George Clinton Jr.
|Birth name||George Edward Clinton|
|Born||July 22, 1941|
Kannapolis, North Carolina, U.S.
George Edward Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American funk musician, 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, 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 Plainfield's 1950s and 1960s doo-wop, soul, rock, and proto-funk music scene.
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.
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 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
|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.|
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