Funkmaster George Clinton and his ties to New Jersey
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and funk pioneer George Clinton was born on July 22, 1941 in North Carolina but was raised in Plainfield, New Jersey.
According to Allmusic.com, Clinton formed the Parliaments at age 14 in the back of a barbershop in Plainfield where he straightened hair. He got a job in the music business in Detroit and shuttled between there and Plainfield where he operated the Silk Palace hair salon. The Parliaments struck in big in 1967 with the hit "(I Wanna) Testify," which reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and #20 on the Hot 100.
A legal dispute led to Clinton changing the name to Funkadelic and featuring more horns “without losing a grip on gospel, soul, and funk.” Around the same time he formed a band called Parliament, which, while using a lot of the same musicians, was a distinct band from Funkadelic. Parliament and Funkadelic charted a combined 39 singles including number one R&B hits "Flash Light," "One Nation Under a Groove," "(Not Just) Knee Deep," and "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)."
In 1982 he went solo, releasing the album Computer Games which spawned two big R&B hits, “Loopzilla” and “Atomic Dog.” Clinton continued to record as both a solo act and as part of reconstituted Parliament and Funkadelic; they were known for their elaborate stage shows that featured an alien spacecraft (the “Mothership”) that was later donated by Clinton to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History.
Clinton was also a prolific producer and collaborator, working with acts like Dr. Dre, Tupac, Snoop Dogg and others. In 1997, Parliament/Funkadelic were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2017 they received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy (Grammy Award).
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.