George Clinton

George Clinton was born on July 22, 1941 in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

George Clinton grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he ran a barber salon; while there, inspired by Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, he formed a doo-wop group, The Parliaments (after the cigarette brand by that name). In 1964 Clinton formed a backing band and the group moved to Detroit to audition for Motown.

George Clinton

“George Clinton”

Clinton became a staff songwriter for Motown and wrote songs for The Jackson 5 and The Supremes; his biggest hit was “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967 by the Parliaments.

The Parliaments recorded for the Revilot label, which folded but kept the name “Parliaments” when it went under. Clinton then formed a new band, Funkadelic, whose sound evolved into psychedelic rock, R&B and a raw funk music sound. Featuring distortion and feedback and eye-popping live performances, the terms “P-Funk” or “Funk” came to define Clinton’s sound.

The name Parliament was dormant for four years but Clinton revived it in 1974; during the 1970s and 1980s Clinton headed two bands, Parliament and Funkadelic which were, essentially, the same line-up of musicians recording for two different labels. In 1975 the classic album, Mothership Connection featured the hit single “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker);” the album went platinum. In 1978 he released the album Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome which featured the hit single “Flash Light.”

Text and images provided by the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame.