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Group Members: Bernie Worrell, The JB's and Fred Wesley, Parker, Maceo, Maceo Parker, Junie, Bootsy's New Rubber Band, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton And Parliament Funkadelic, George Clinton, George Clinton & The P-Funk Allstars, George Clinton's Family Series Volume 2, George Clinton presents The P-funk Allstars, P-Funk All Stars, Calvin Simon, Fred Wesley & The Swing ‘N Jazz All-Stars, Fred Wesley, Eddie Hazel
All Music Guide:
Though it often took a back chair to its sister group Parliament, Funkadelic furthered the notions of black rock begun by Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone, blending elements of '60s psychedelia and blues plus the deep groove of soul and funk. The band pursued album statements of social/political commentary while Parliament stayed in the funk singles format, but Funkadelic nevertheless paralleled the more commercial artist's success, especially in the late '70s when the interplay between bands moved the Funkadelic sound closer to a unified P-Funk style.
In the grand soul tradition of a backing band playing support before the star takes the stage, Funkadelic began life supporting George Clinton's doo wop group, the Parliaments. After having performed for almost ten years, the Parliaments had added a rhythm section in 1964 -- for tours and background work -- consisting of guitarist Frankie Boyce, his brother Richard on bass, and drummer Langston Booth; two years later, the trio enlisted in the Army. By mid-1967, Clinton had recruited a new backing band, including his old friend Billy "Bass" Nelson (born January 28, 1951, Plainfield, NJ) and guitarist Eddie Hazel (born April 10, 1950, Brooklyn, NY). After several temporary replacements on drums and keyboards, the addition of rhythm guitarist Lucius "Tawl" Ross (born October 5, 1948, Wagram, NC) and drummer Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood (born May 23, 1944, Philadelphia, PA) completed the lineup.
The Parliaments recorded several hits during 1967, but trouble with the Revilot label backed Clinton into a corner. He hit upon the idea of deserting the Parliaments' name and instead recording their backing group, with the added vocal "contributions" of the former Parliaments -- same band, different name. Billy Nelson suggested the title Funkadelic, to reflect the members' increased inspiration from LSD and psychedelic culture. Clinton formed the Funkadelic label in mid-1968 but then signed the group to Detroit's Westbound label several months later.
Released in 1970, Funkadelic's self-titled debut album listed only producer Clinton and the five members of Funkadelic -- Hazel, Nelson, Fulwood, and Ross plus organist Mickey Atkins -- but also included all the former Parliaments plus several Motown sessionmen and Rare Earth's Ray Monette. Keyboard player Bernie Worrell also appeared on the album uncredited, even though his picture was included on the inner sleeve with the rest of the band.
Worrell (born April 19, 1944, Long Beach, NJ) was finally credited on the second Funkadelic album (1970's Free Your Mind...and Your Ass Will Follow). He and Clinton had known each other since the early '60s, and Worrell soon became the most crucial cog in the P-Funk machine, working on arrangements and production for most later Parliament/Funkadelic releases. His strict upbringing and classical training (at the New England Conservatory and Juilliard), as well as the boom in synthesizer technology during the early '70s, gave him the tools to create the horn arrangements and jazz fusion-inspired synth runs that later trademarked the P-Funk sound. Just after the release of their third album, Maggot Brain, P-Funk added yet another big contributor, Bootsy Collins. The throbbing bass line of Collins (born October 26, 1951, Cincinnati, OH) had previously been featured in James Brown's backing band, the J.B.'s (along with his brother, guitarist Catfish Collins). Bootsy and Catfish were playing in a Detroit band in 1972 when George Clinton saw and hired them.
The Clinton/Worrell/Collins lineup premiered on 1972's America Eats Its Young, but soon after its release several original members left the camp. Eddie Hazel spent a year in jail after a combination drug possession/assault conviction, Tawl Ross left the band for medical reasons relating to an overdose of LSD and speed, and Bill Nelson quit after more financial quarrels with Clinton. Funkadelic hired teenaged guitar sensation Michael Hampton as a replacement, but both Hazel and Nelson would return for several later P-Funk releases.
Funkadelic moved to Warner Bros. in 1975 and delivered its major-label debut, Hardcore Jollies, one year later to lackluster sales and reviews. The same year, Westbound raided its vaults and countered with Tales of Kidd Funkadelic. Ironically, the album did better than Hardcore Jollies and included an R&B Top 30 single, "Undisco Kidd." In 1977, Westbound released The Best of the Early Years while Funkadelic recorded what became its masterpiece (and arguably the best P-Funk release ever), 1978's One Nation Under a Groove.
During the most successful year in Parliament/Funkadelic history, Parliament hit the charts first with "Flash Light," P-Funk's first R&B number one. "Aqua Boogie" would hit number one as well late in the year, but Funkadelic's title track to One Nation Under a Groove spent six weeks at the top spot on the R&B charts during the summer. The album, which reflected a growing consistency in styles between Parliament and Funkadelic, became the first Funkadelic LP to reach platinum (the same year that Parliament's Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome did the same). In 1979, Funkadelic's "(Not Just) Knee Deep" hit number one as well, and its album (Uncle Jam Wants You) reached gold status.
At just the point that Funkadelic appeared to be at the top of its powers, the band began to unravel. As is sometimes the case, commercial success began to dissolve several old friendships. In 1977, original Parliaments members Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas had left the P-Funk organization to record on their own. In early 1981, they hit the R&B charts with a single called "Connections and Disconnections," recorded as Funkadelic. To confuse matters more, the original Funkadelic appeared on the charts at the same time, with the title track to The Electric Spanking of War Babies.
During 1980, Clinton began to be weighed down by legal difficulties arising from Polygram's acquisition of Parliament's label, Casablanca. Jettisoning both the Parliament and Funkadelic names (but not the musicians), Clinton began his solo career with 1982's Computer Games. He and many former Parliament/Funkadelic members continued to tour and record throughout the '80s as the P-Funk All Stars, but the decade's disdain of everything to do with the '70s resulted in critical and commercial neglect for the world's biggest funk band, especially one which in part had spawned the sound of disco. During the early '90s, the rise of funk-inspired rap (courtesy of Digital Underground, Dr. Dre, and Warren G.) and funk rock (Primus and Red Hot Chili Peppers) re-established the status of Clinton & co., one of the most important forces in the recent history of black music.
Wikipedia:This article is about the band. For album, see Funkadelic (album).The bands Parliament and Funkadelic cannot be easily separated. For more information, see Parliament and Parliament-Funkadelic.
Funkadelic is an American band that was at its most prominent during the 1970s. The band and its sister act Parliament, both led by George Clinton, began the funk music culture of that decade.Henderson, Lol; Stacey, Lee, eds. (2013). "Funk". Encyclopedia of Music in the 20th Century. Routledge. ISBN 1-5795-8079-3. John, Bush. Funkadelic: Biography. AllMusic.
The group that would become Funkadelic was originally formed by George Clinton in 1964, as the unnamed musical backing for his doo wop group The Parliaments while on tour. The band originally consisted of musicians Frankie Boyce, Richard Boyce, and Langston Booth plus the five members of the Parliaments on vocals. Boyce, Boyce, and Booth enlisted in the Army in 1966, and Clinton recruited bassist Billy Bass Nelson and guitarist Eddie Hazel in 1967, then also added guitarist Tawl Ross and drummer Tiki Fulwood. The band name "Funkadelic" was coined by Nelson after the band relocated to Detroit. By 1968, because of a dispute with Revilot, the record company that owned the name "The Parliaments," the ensemble began playing under the name Funkadelic.
As Funkadelic, the group signed to Westbound in 1968. Around this time, the group's music evolved from soul and doo wop into a harder guitar-driven mix of psychedelic rock, soul and funk, much influenced by the popular musical (and political) movements of the time. Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone were major inspirations. This style later evolved into a tighter guitar-based funk (circa 1971-75), which subsequently, during the height of Parliament-Funkadelic success (circa 1976-81), added elements of R&B and electronic music, with fewer psychedelic rock elements. The band made their first live television performance on Say Brother in October 7, 1969. They played a jam with songs "Into My Own Thing", "What Is Soul?" , "(I Wanna) Testify", "I Was Made to Love Her" (Stevie Wonder cover), "Friday Night, August 14th" and "Music for My Mother".
The group's self-titled debut album, Funkadelic, was released in 1970. The credits listed organist Mickey Atkins plus Clinton, Fulwood, Hazel, Nelson, and Ross. The recording also included the rest of the Parliaments singers (still uncredited due to contractual concerns), several uncredited session musicians then employed by Motown, as well as Ray Monette (of Rare Earth) and future P-Funk mainstay Bernie Worrell.
Bernie Worrell was officially credited starting with Funkadelic's second album, 1970s Free Your Mind... and Your Ass Will Follow, thus beginning a long working relationship between Worrell and Clinton. The album Maggot Brain followed in 1971. The first three Funkadelic albums displayed strong psychedelic influences (not least in terms of production) and limited commercial potential, despite containing many songs that stayed in the band's setlist for several years and would influence many future funk, rock, and hip hop artists.
After the release of Maggot Brain, the Funkadelic lineup was expanded greatly. Tawl Ross was unavailable after experiencing either a bad LSD trip or a speed overdose, while Billy Bass Nelson and Eddie Hazel quit due to financial concerns. From this point, many more musicians and singers would be added during Funkadelic's (and Parliament's) history, including the recruitment of several members of the famous James Brown backing band The JB's in 1972 - most notably Bootsy Collins and the Horny Horns. Bootsy and his brother Catfish Collins were recruited by Clinton to replace the departed Nelson and Hazel. Bootsy in particular become a major contributor to the P-Funk sound. In 1972, this new line-up released the politically charged double album America Eats Its Young. The lineup stabilized a bit with the album Cosmic Slop in 1973, featuring major contributions from recently added singer-guitarist Garry Shider. After first leaving the band, Eddie Hazel spent a year in jail after assaulting an airline stewardess and air marshal while under the influence of PCP, then he returned to make major contributions to the 1974 album Standing on the Verge of Getting It On. Hazel only contributed to P-Funk sporadically thereafter.
George Clinton revived Parliament in 1974 and signed that act to Casablanca Records. Parliament and Funkadelic featured mostly the same stable of personnel but operated concurrently under two names. At first, Parliament was designated as a more mainstream funk ensemble dominated by soulful vocals and horn arrangements, while Funkadelic was designated as a more experimental and freestyle guitar-based funk band. The ensemble usually toured under the combined name Parliament-Funkadelic or simply P-Funk (which also became the catch-all term for George Clinton's rapidly growing stable of funk artists).
In 1975 Michael Hampton, a teen guitar prodigy, replaced Hazel as the premier lead guitarist in Parliament-Funkadelic, and was a major contributor to the next several Funkadelic albums. Funkadelic left Westbound in 1976 and moved to Warner Brothers. Their first album for Warner was Hardcore Jollies in 1976. Just before leaving Westbound, Clinton provided that label with a collection of recently recorded outtakes, which Westbound released as the album Tales of Kidd Funkadelic. That album did significantly better commercially than Hardcore Jollies and included "Undisco Kidd", an R&B Top 30 single. In 1977, Westbound capitalized further by releasing the anthology The Best of the Early Years.
As Parliament began achieving significant mainstream success in the 1975-1978 period, Funkadelic recorded and released its most successful and influential album, One Nation Under a Groove in 1978, adding former Ohio Players keyboardist Walter "Junie" Morrison and reflecting a more melodic dance-based sound. The title track spent six weeks at #1 on the R&B charts, around the time that Parliament was enjoying the #1 R&B singles "Flash Light" and "Aqua Boogie". Uncle Jam Wants You in 1979 continued Funkadelic's new more electronic sound production. The album contains the fifteen-minute "(Not Just) Knee Deep" featuring former Spinners lead singer Philippé Wynne, an edited version of which topped the R&B charts. The final official Funkadelic album, The Electric Spanking of War Babies, was released in 1981. The release was originally a double-album project, but it was reduced to a single disc under pressure from Warner Brothers. Some of the deleted tracks would appear on future P-Funk releases, most notably the 1982 hit single "Atomic Dog" which appeared on the first George Clinton solo album.
Meanwhile, the album Connections & Disconnections (re-issued on CD as Who's a Funkadelic) was released under the name Funkadelic in 1981. The album was recorded by former Funkadelic members and original Parliaments Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas, who had left P-Funk in 1977 after disagreements with George Clinton's management practices. This LP, notable for its heavy use of Thomas "Pae-dog" McEvoy's jazz horn, contains the track called "You'll Like It Too", which came a very popular breakbeat source for the Hip hop community in the 80s. Another rebellious former band member, drummer Jerome Brailey, released the album Mutiny on the Mamaship, by his new band Mutiny. Even Clinton himself found this to be a good album despite containing lyrics that mocked him and his management of the P-Funk enterprise.
In the early 1980s, with legal difficulties arising from the multiple names used by multiple groups, as well as a shakeup at Parliament's record label, George Clinton dissolved Parliament and Funkadelic as recording and touring entities. However, many of the musicians in later versions of the two groups remained employed by Clinton. Clinton continued to release new albums regularly, sometimes under his own name and sometimes under the name George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars. In the mid-1980s, the last Funkadelic album By Way Of The Drum was recorded by Clinton with P-Funk personnel and many electronic devices. The album was rejected by its record label and did not see official release in America until it appeared as a reissue in 2007. It features a cover of "Sunshine Of Your Love" by Cream. The album did not receive any publicity, but still received favorable reviews.
Clinton continued his P-Funk collective in the 1990s and 2000s, with a revolving stable of musicians, some of whom remain from the classic lineups of Funkadelic and Parliament. The rock-oriented sound of Funkadelic has diminished, as Clinton has moved towards more of an R&B and hip hop sound. In 1997 the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Filmmaker Yvonne Smith of New York City-based Brazen Hussy productions produced Parliament-Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove, a full-length documentary about the groundbreaking group, which aired on PBS in 2005. As of 2008, Clinton was at work on a new Funkadelic album for his new record label. In November 2008, Westbound Records released Toys, a collection of Funkadelic outtakes and demos from the Free Your Mind and America Eats Its Young era. Critical reception of the album has generally been positive. In April 2013, the band released their first single in over 25 years when they released "The Naz". The song is a collaboration with Sly Stone and tells the story of Jesus Christ. The B-side to the song is "Nuclear Dog" which is guitar solo by former P-Funk guitarist Dewayne "Blackbird" McKnight.Vincent, Rickey. Parliament-Funkadelic. Encyclopædia Britannica. Funk: the music, the people, and the rhythm of the one By Rickey Vincent p. 237. Green, Tony. Up for the Downstroke: The Guitar Legacy of Parliament Funkadelic. Guitar Player. Sullivan, James. Twisted Tales: P-Funk's Eddie Hazel Is the New Hendrix, for Better or Worse. Spinner.com. "Parliament Funkadelic at Rock Hall". Rockhall.com. Retrieved 2011-11-02. Parliament Funkadelic: One Nation Under a Groove. The Film. Public Broadcasting Service.