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George Clinton (funk musician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Clinton Jr.
Clinton performing in Centreville, Virginia, 2007
Clinton performing in Centreville, Virginia, 2007
Background information
Birth nameGeorge Edward Clinton
Born (1941-07-22) July 22, 1941 (age 79)
Kannapolis, North Carolina, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • bandleader
Years active1955–present[5]
Associated acts

George Edward Clinton[6] (born July 22, 1941) is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer.[7] 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.[8] He launched his solo career with the 1982 album Computer Games and would go on to influence 1990s hip-hop and G-funk.[2]

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,[7] 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.[9]

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.[10][11][12]

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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[2] 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.[2] 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.[15] "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."[16]

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

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic performing at Pori Jazz 2014 in Finland.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic performing at Pori Jazz 2014 in Finland.

The year 1994 saw Clinton contribute to several tracks on Primal Scream's studio album Give Out But Don't Give Up. In 1995, Clinton sang "Mind Games" on the John Lennon tribute Working Class Hero.

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".[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

On September 10, 2009, George Clinton was awarded the Urban Icon Award from Broadcast Music Incorporated.[20] 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.

Also in 2009, Clinton was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.[21]

2010s to 2020s

On March 7, 2010, Clinton voiced a colorful blob alien version of himself in T-Pain's Adult Swim television movie Freaknik: The Musical.

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.[22]

Clinton was a guest star in Odd Future's television show Loiter Squad on Adult Swim in 2013.

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.[23] Clinton also appears with Kendrick Lamar on the song "Wesley's Theory" from the album To Pimp a Butterfly.

In March 2017, Clinton appeared on the Adult Swim television series FishCenter Live. The Outline's Samuel Argyle described it as "[t]he episode that makes the most cohesive narrative sense."[24]

Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic are slated to headline the seventh annual Treefort Music Fest in Boise, Idaho in 2018.[25] 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.[26] 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".[27]

In December 2018, the Recording Academy announced that Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic would be given Lifetime Achievement Awards. The awards will be presented on May 11, 2019.[28][29][30]

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.[31]

Clinton voices King Quincy in the Trolls World Tour movie that premiered on April 10, 2020.[32]

Personal life

Clinton married Stephanie Lynn Clinton in 1990. In February 2013, after 22 years of marriage, he filed for divorce.[33]

Clinton is currently married to Carlon Thompson-Clinton, his manager of over 10 years.[34]

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.[35]

Clinton was inducted as an honorary member of Omega Psi Phi on July 30, 2020.[36]


Studio albums

Year Album information Peak chart positions
1982 Computer Games 40 3
1983 You Shouldn't-Nuf Bit Fish
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:
102 18
1985 Some of My Best Jokes Are Friends
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:
163 17
1986 R&B Skeletons in the Closet
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:
81 17
1989 The Cinderella Theory 192 75
1993 Hey Man, Smell My Finger
  • Released:
  • Label: Paisley Park Records
  • Format:
145 31
Dope Dogs
  • Released:
  • Label: XYZ
  • Format:
1996 T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M. 121
2005 How Late Do U Have 2BB4UR Absent?
  • Released: September 6, 2005
  • Label: The C Kunspyruhzy
  • Format: CD
2008 George Clinton and His Gangsters of Love
  • Released: September 16, 2008
  • Label: Shanachie
  • Format: CD
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Live albums

Year Album information
1976 The Mothership Connection – Live from Houston
1990 Live at the Beverly Theater
1995 Mothership Connection Newberg Session
  • Released:
  • Label: P-Vine
  • Format:
2004 500,000 Kilowatts of P-Funk Power (Live)
  • Released:
  • Label: Fruit Tree
  • Format:
2006 Take It To The Stage (Live)
  • Released:
  • Label: Music Avenue
  • Format:
2015 P-Funk Live at Metropolis
  • Released: July 31, 2015
  • Label: Metropolis
  • Format: Vinyl, CD, DVD

Family Series albums

Year Title Label
1992 Go Fer Yer Funk Nocturne
Plush 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


Year Album information
1988 Atomic Clinton! (EP)
1990 Atomic Dog (EP)
  • Released:
  • Label: Capitol Records
  • Format:

Solo singles

Year Title Peak chart positions Album
US Dance UK
1982 "Loopzilla" 19 48 57 Computer Games
"Atomic Dog" 1 38 94
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
"Martial Law"
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.



  • Clinton, George; Ben Greenman (2014). Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard on You?. New York: Atria Books. ISBN 978-1-4767-5107-8.


  1. ^ Lauren Cochrane, "George Clinton: the best dressed man in music", The Guardian, June 23, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Bush, John (1940-07-22). "George Clinton - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  3. ^ Staff (25 December 2004). "Passings". Billboard (116). Nielsen. Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  4. ^ Hoard, Christian; Brackett, Nathan, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. Simon & Schuster. p. 524. ISBN 9780743201698.
  5. ^ Hua Hsu (2018-07-02). "How George Clinton Jr Made Funk a World View". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2019-12-21.
  6. ^ Gulla, Bob (2008). "George Clinton". Icons of R&B and Soul: An Encyclopedia of the Artists Who Revolutionized Rhythm. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. p. 441. ISBN 978-0-313-34044-4.
  7. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 274. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  8. ^ Bush, John. "Parliament -Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-10-27. Retrieved 2019-06-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "George Clinton And Killer Mike: Talking (Barber) Shop". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  11. ^ Sammy Campbell and the Del Larks - Classic Urban Harmony. by T Ashley. The story of the Del Larks revolves around the extensive music careers of two individuals; Sammy. Campbell and Ron Taylor.
  12. ^ "George Clinton and the Parliaments – (Part One of Two) – Rock 'n' Roll Spotlight". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  13. ^ "Biography". Retrieved October 15, 2019.
  14. ^ Mike Masnick, "George Clinton Explains How Bridgeport Allegedly Faked Documents To Get His Music Rights", Techdirt, June 17, 2011.
  15. ^ Gold, Jonathan (1989-09-16). "Funky George Clinton and Crew Are Back". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-10-04.
  16. ^ Q, 1996, precise date unknown.
  17. ^ "George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic". Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  18. ^ "Past Judges". Independent Music Awards. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  19. ^ Graff, Gary (2008-06-27). "George Clinton Goes 'Gangster' On New Album".
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "2009 Inductees". North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  22. ^ "George Clinton Accepts Honorary Doctor of Music Degree at Berklee",, February 17, 2017.
  23. ^ "Mark Ronson at Glastonbury 2015 review – saving the best for last". The Guardian. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  24. ^ Argyle, Samuel (29 March 2019). "A fantasy getaway in a fish tank". The Outline. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  25. ^ Sacher, Andrew (2017-12-07). "Treefort Music Fest 2018 initial lineup". Brooklyn Vegan. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  26. ^ Mitchell, Gail (April 27, 2018). "Funk Icon George Clinton to Retire from Touring: Exclusive". Billboard. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  27. ^ Kreps, Daniel (April 27, 2018). "George Clinton to Retire From Touring in 2019". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 13, 2018.
  28. ^ Hertweck, Nate (December 19, 2018). "Dionne Warwick, Donny Hathaway & More To Receive Special Merit Awards". The Recording Academy. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  29. ^ Aniftos, Rania (December 19, 2018). "Black Sabbath, George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic Among Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients". Billboard. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  30. ^ Grow, Kory (December 19, 2018). "Black Sabbath, George Clinton to Get Lifetime Achievement Grammys". Rolling Stone. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  31. ^ "George Clinton Calls Flying Lotus, Thundercat & Kendrick Lamar "The New Generation Of Funk Musicians"". November 5, 2018. Retrieved 2019-10-15.
  32. ^ "Trolls World Tour: How George Clinton of P-Funk helped make the hit movie funky". 2020-04-13. Retrieved 2020-10-28.
  33. ^ "GEORGE CLINTON TO WIFE Go Funk Yourself ...  I Filed for DIVORCE". TMZ. Retrieved 23 February 2013.
  34. ^ Binelli, Mark (2015-04-27). "George Clinton: Doctor Atomic". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-01-31.
  35. ^ "Two Deaths in the George Clinton Family: George Clinton Jr. & Mahlia Franklin". 2010-02-08. Archived from the original on 2012-09-27. Retrieved 2012-09-25.
  36. ^ Omega Psi Phi Inducts George Clinton, D.L. Hughley, Anthony Anderson, and Ted Ginn, Sr. as Honorary Members

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 3 March 2021, at 14:25
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