Flash Light – Parliament | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: R&B (#1 for 3 weeks) & Pop (#16); 1978

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

It would take hundreds of spreadsheets and diagrams to track the comings-and-goings of the scores of musicians that recorded for the various George Clinton collectives.

What started as a doo-wop group called the Parliaments in 1956 and finally emerged – with a completely different Clinton-led lineup – on the charts in 1967 with (I Wanna)Testify, had become a full-blown industry unto itself by 1978.

To funk fans, the best known recording aliases were Parliament, Funkadelic, and Bootsy’s Rubber Band: all of which notched up #1 records that year. The first of these, Flash Light, started out as a song tagged for Bootsy’s Rubber Band. Written by Clinton, William “Bootsy” Collins, and Bernie Worrell, Flash Light ended up as a Parliament release.

Not to be outdone, Bootsy’s Rubber Band followed Flash Light at #1 R&B in March with Bootzilla. At the end of September Funkadelic’s One Nation Under A Groove – Part 1 bested them both by spending six weeks atop the R&B chart.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • George Clinton

Lyrics Written by:

  • George Clinton
  • Bootsy Collins
  • Bernie Worrell