George Clinton (born July 22, 1941) is an American musician and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and is a solo funk artist as of 1981. He has been called one of the most important innovators of funk music, next to James Brown and Sly Stone. Clinton is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.
Clinton 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. For a period in the 1960s Clinton was a staff songwriter for Motown. The Parliaments eventually found success under the names Parliament and Funkadelic in the seventies. These two bands combined elements of bands/musicians such as Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, Cream and James Brown while exploring different sounds, technology, and lyricism.
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?”. In 1985, he was recruited by the Red Hot Chili Peppers to produce their album Freaky Styley, because the band members were huge fans of George Clinton and funk in general. Clinton, in fact, wrote the vocals and lyrics to the title track, which was originally intended by the band to be left an instrumental piece. The album was not a commercial success at the time, but has since sold several copies after the Chili Peppers became popular years later.
Though Clinton’s popularity had waned by the mid 1980s, he experienced something of 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.
Clinton appeared in films such as Graffiti Bridge (1990), House Party (1990), PCU (1994), Good Burger (1997) and The Breaks (1999). Most recently he 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 sampled most of his beats to create his G-Funk music era. He’s also worked with Tupac Shakur on the song “Can’t C Me” from the album All Eyez on Me; 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 and the Wu Tang Clan on “Wolves” from the album “8 Diagrams”. In 1994 he collaborated with British band Primal Scream on “Funky Jam” from their LP “Give Out But Don’t Give Up”.
Clinton founded a record label called The C Kunspyruhzy in 2005. He had a cameo appearance in the season-two premiere of the CBS television sitcom How I Met Your Mother, on September 18, 2006. “You’re Thinking Right”, the theme song for The Tracey Ullman Show, was written by Clinton. He appeared on the intro to Snoop Dogg’s Tha Blue Carpet Treatment album, released in 2007. He also appeared in the film PCU (Jeremy Piven, David Spade) and played a concert for the big party. In 2008, George appeared on the reality show Gone County 3, where seven celebrities move into a Nashville mansion and compete to cross over into the country music scene. With his Gone Country experience, George gave birth to his country song; Time Is, which will be released on his C Kunspyruhzy label. On September 16, 2008, Clinton released his next 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.
Currently George is fighting for artists’ rights. Throughout his career numerous entities have fraudulently exploited P-Funk’s music. With the creation of his blog (Funkprobosci.com) George hopes to educated and entertain others so they won’t succumb to the similar schemes.
In his free time George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic tour over 200 days out of the year in Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA.