Parliament-Funkadelic (abbreviated as P-Funk) is an American funk music collective led by George Clinton that consists principally of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic, both of which have been active since the 1960s. P-Funk is well known for the songs “Hydraulic Pump” and “Pumpin’ It Up”. Their unusual funk style was influenced by psychedelic culture, eccentric fashion, science fiction, and surreal humor, and it influenced subsequent funk, post-punk, hip-hop, and post-disco musicians of the 1980s and 1990s, while their collective mythology helped pioneer Afrofuturism.
The P-Funk tale began in 1956 in Newark, New Jersey, with the formation of a doo-wop group by George Clinton, who was fifteen years old by then. The Parliaments was the name of the band, which was inspired by Parliament cigarettes. By the early 1960s, Clinton, Ray “Stingray” Davis, Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas had formed a five-man lineup. Later, the ensemble rehearsed and entertained clients at a barbershop operated by Clinton in Plainfield, New Jersey. The Parliaments added a rhythm section in 1964, consisting of guitarist Frankie Boyce, his brother Richard on bass, and drummer Langston Booth, after performing for almost ten years. The Parliaments finally had a hit single in 1967 with “(I Wanna) Testify,” and Clinton began commuting to Detroit as a songwriter and producer for Motown Records.
Maggot Brain (1971), Mothership Connection (1975), and One Nation Under a Groove (1978) were critically acclaimed albums, and singles like “Give Up the Funk” (1976), “One Nation Under a Groove” (1978), and “Flash Light” (1979) charted (1978). Between 1967 and 1983, the group had thirteen top ten songs on the American R&B music charts, including six number one hits.
Parliament and Funkadelic both had multiple high-charting albums and singles on the R&B and Pop charts between 1975 and 1979. Under George Clinton’s guidance, many members of the collective began to form side bands and independent projects.The Parliament albums of this era had evolved into concept albums with science fiction and afro-futurism motifs, complex political and sociological themes, and an ongoing storyline with recurrent fictional characters. Stage presentations of Parliament-Funkadelic (especially the P-Funk Earth Tour of 1976) were enlarged to include science fiction themes and a stage prop known as the Mothership. The P-Funk mythology was born out of these ideas.
By the late 1970s, the Parliament-Funkadelic collective had grown too large, and some prominent members had left acrimoniously due to differences with Clinton and his managerial style. After becoming disillusioned with the inflow of new members, original Parliaments members Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas left in 1977 and eventually made an album under the moniker Funkadelic. Clinton split Parliament and Funkadelic as separate entities due to financial issues and the failure of Casablanca Records (Parliament’s label). Many members of the group went on to work for Clinton as Parliament-Funkadelic or the P-Funk All Stars, initially on his solo recordings and then as Parliament-Funkadelic or the P-Funk All Stars.
George Clinton continued to record in the early 1980s despite financial difficulties and well-publicized drug troubles. The remaining members of Parliament-Funkadelic recorded the hit album Computer Games in 1982, which was later released as a solo album by George Clinton. The #1 hit track “Atomic Dog,” which has been widely sampled, was included on this CD. Clinton formed the P-Funk All Stars the next year, and they went on to record Urban Dancefloor Guerillas in 1983.
George Clinton and 15 other members of Parliament-Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in May 1997, making Parliament-Funkadelic the largest band ever honored. Parliament-Funkadelic was voted #56 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Artists of All Time” list in 2004. Parliament-Funkadelic was named #6 on Spin’s list of the “50 Greatest Bands of All Time” in February 2002. George Clinton and P-Funk are still heard today, especially in hip-hop sampling, for their contributions to the entire genre of funk music. A tribute to Parliament-Funkadelic was featured in the Red Hot Chili Peppers video for their 2006 hit “Dani California.” Rhythm and blues, soul, electronica, gospel, jazz, and new wave are all influenced by Parliament-music.
The Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall of Fame inducted Parliament-Funkadelic in 2013. Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Recording Academy in December 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Was The Lead Singer Of P-Funk?
George Clinton was the lead singer of P-Funk. He is also a record producer and songwriter. Clinton was born in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and later moved to Plainfield, New Jersey.
Where Did Parliament-Funkadelic Originate From?
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic originated from Plainfield, New Jersey. Clinton formed the group in the late 1960s after leaving The Parliaments, a doo-wop group he had been a part of since the 1950s. Clinton recruited musicians like Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins, and Maceo Parker to join his new band, which blended elements of psychedelic rock, soul, and R&B. Parliament-Funkadelic became one of the most groundbreaking and influential groups in music history, helping to pioneer the development of funk music in the 1970s.