George Clinton Biography

22 July 1940, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA. The mastermind behind the highly successful Parliament and Funkadelic, George ‘Dr Funkenstein’ Clinton’s seemingly impregnable empire crumbled at the beginning of the 80s. Restrained from recording by a damaging breach-of-contract lawsuit and unable to meet the running expenses of his considerable organization, he found himself personally and professionally destitute. Clinton, nonetheless, tackled his problems. He settled most of his outstanding debts, overcame an addiction to freebase cocaine and resumed recording. An ad hoc group, the P-Funk All Stars, secured two minor hits with ‘Hydrolic Pump’ and ‘One Of Those Summers’ (both 1982), before the singer introduced a solo career with the magnificent ‘Loopzilla’, a rhythmic tour de force abounding with references to black music past (the Supremes and the Four Tops) and present (Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Planet Rock’). The ensuing album, Computer Games, featured several ex-Funkadelic/Parliament cohorts, including Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins, while a further track, ‘Atomic Dog’, was a US R&B number 1 single in 1983.

Clinton then continued to work both as a soloist and with the P-Funk All Stars, pursuing his eclectic, eccentric vision on such innovatory albums as Some Of My Best Jokes Are Friends and The Cinderella Theory. The latter was the first of a succession of recordings released on Prince’s Paisley Park label. His Hey Man... Smell My Finger set featured a cameo by ex-N.W.A. artist Dr. Dre, who in turn invited Clinton to guest rap on ‘You Don’t Wanna See Me’ from Dre’s collaboration with Ice Cube, Helter Skelter. As Dre and many other recent American rappers confess, they owe a great debt to Clinton, not least for their liberal use of his music. Clinton was not one to complain, however, as the young guns’ heavy use of Parliament and Funkadelic samples had helped him overcome a crippling tax debt in the early 80s. Ironically enough, Clinton too makes use of samples in his recent recordings, returning to his past ventures for beats, breaks and riffs as so many of his legion of admirers have done before him. Clinton’s 1996 album The Awesome Power Of A Fully Operational Mothership was a superb blend of the Funkadelic and Parliament sounds.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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