Daily Archives: July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday, George Clinton!

A good friend once said to me “You’d better like George Clinton, all of the music you like exists because of him.”  She was right.  Clinton’s impressive catalog, bombastic stage presence, wild creativity, legendary influence and downright funkiness command a certain respect. Respect that–especially on his birthday–is best paid with lots of dancing.

While our resident music expert, Tim, could probably fill you in on the facts better than I, you only need ears to appreciate George Clinton.  Over four decades, he has recorded about 50 albums that defied and defined genres and earned dozens of hits on Pop and R&B charts.  The mastermind behind a list of bands with confoundingly similar names, Clinton headed ParliamentFunkadelicP-Funk All Stars, and a web of offshoot bands, all comprised of phenomenally talented musicians (some of whom originally played with James Brown). In 1997, Parliament-Funkadelic was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, an achievement emblematic of their crusade to legitimize funk and elevate its reputation to the same level as jazz and rock. 

It only takes a glance at the impressive list of collaborators and inspirations to discover what an impact George Clinton has made on the world (that’s Earth and beyond) of music.  In addition to the musicians who lifted off from Parliament’s Mothership into their own stardom, like Bootsy Collins, Clinton has made music with Tupac Shakur, Wu Tang Clan, Red Hot Chili Peppers and other artists, and recorded albums on Prince‘s record label.  He has also lent his talents to films and even a video game.  His influence is powerfully evident in hip hop: artists like Dr. Dre have made him the second most heavily sampled artist.  (James Brown is the first.)

If you need further evidence of Clinton’s genius, get acquainted with the universe of P-Funk mythology via what must be the crown jewel of all Wikipedia articles. Here, you can trace the imaginative characters and story lines that thread the out-of-this-world concept albums heavy with social allegory and pure fun.

In June of 2001, George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars blew my teenage mind live and in person when they played at one of Hartwood Amphitheatre’s free outdoor concerts. (Scroll down for this year’s schedule.) What could be better than funk in the summertime? Free funk in the summertime! Check some out today and get your groove on in honor of the architecht of funk.


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