Celebrating 50 Years of “Maggot Brain”, and 80 Years of George Clinton
On his milestone anniversary, we take a look back at the funk pioneer and his work on the seminal masterpiece…
On a turntable in a smoky dorm, in a dance club at 2 a.m. and on the radio in your car, mixed into your favorite song, George Clinton, who recently celebrated his 80th birthday, continues to speak to folks from vastly different walks of life and remains as relevant today as he was in 1971. If one thing is certain, and not much seems to be, it is that the funk is universal.
As legend has it, Clinton’s reign as the proverbial “Godfather of Funk” begins in a barber shop on a street corner in Plainfield, NJ, sometime in the 1960’s, where he formed doo-wop group, The Parliaments. It would be a couple of years, though, until the vocal group would re-emerge with guitarist Eddie Hazel, bassist Billy Nelson, keyboard player Bernie Worrell, drummer Tiki Fullwood, and rhythm guitarist Tawl Ross as Funkadelic, and the entity that is P-Funk began to break new ground.
Their unique blend of Hendrix-inspired psych rock and James Brown-esque funk and soul would go on to influence and inform generations of musicians and songwriters to come, blurring the lines that separated genres. The group would reinvent themselves time and time again, as Funkadelic and as funk-pop hitmakers, Parliament, featuring a revolving door of top-notch musicians and collaborators who included the likes of Bootsy Collins, Michael Hampton and Garry Shider. After 50+ years, the empire that George Clinton heads, shows no signs of slowing down