George Clinton, the “Godfather of Funk”, will be performing at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on Friday night.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was born in North Carolina, but was raised in 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 will be joined by Questlove, Vernon Reid, and Nona Hendryx. Tickets are available at the NJPAC website.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.
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