The Evolution of George Clinton

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 7: George Clinton at the Perez Art Museum Presents George Clinton on December 7th, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 7: George Clinton at the Perez Art Museum Presents George Clinton on December 7th, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
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MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 7: George Clinton at the Perez Art Museum Presents George Clinton on December 7th, 2023 in Miami, Florida.

George Clinton’s contributions to the culture are undeniable. Known for colorful costumes and exhilarating performances, he’s a hit-making artist whose tracks are just as funky today as they were in the 1970s. If you don’t believe me, I dare you to try to sit still when “Flashlight” comes on.

Clinton created a sound all his own that has influenced artists from rock to Hip-Hop, including Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Now, the 82-year-old singer, songwriter and producer is set to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a Jan. 19 ceremony with featured speakers including Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and attorney Ben Crump.

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The Parliaments
The Parliaments


The Parliaments

George Edward Clinton was born on July 22, 1941 in Kannapolis, N.C. He grew up in New Jersey, where he first discovered his love of Doo-wop. It was there that Clinton formed his first group, The Parliaments, in the early 1950s. The group rehearsed in the back of a barbershop where Clinton worked at the time.

1968 - Forming Funkadelic

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 1971: (L-R) Fuzzy Haskins, Tawl Ross, Bernie Worrell, Tiki Fulwood, Grady Thomas, George Clinton, Ray Davis, Calvin Simon and seated Eddie Hazel and Billy “Bass” Nelson of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic pose for a portrait in May 1971 in Liverpool, England.
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 1971: (L-R) Fuzzy Haskins, Tawl Ross, Bernie Worrell, Tiki Fulwood, Grady Thomas, George Clinton, Ray Davis, Calvin Simon and seated Eddie Hazel and Billy “Bass” Nelson of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic pose for a portrait in May 1971 in Liverpool, England.


LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 1971: (L-R) Fuzzy Haskins, Tawl Ross, Bernie Worrell, Tiki Fulwood, Grady Thomas, George Clinton, Ray Davis, Calvin Simon and seated Eddie Hazel and Billy “Bass” Nelson of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic pose for a portrait in May 1971 in Liverpool, England.

The Parliaments scored their first hit record with “I Wanna Testify” in 1967. But when their record label, Revilot Records, went bankrupt, the band lost the rights to their name and began recording their music under a new name – Funkadelic.

1977 - Flashlight

In 1970, Clinton reclaimed The Parliaments name and the group secured a new contract with Invictus Records to record as Parliament. But Funkadelic didn’t go away. Clinton’s musicians recorded under both names, with Funkadelic recording more psychedelic rock and Parliament focusing on funk. One of Parliament’s first and funkiest hits was “Flashlight,” the group’s first number-one R&B hit.

1978 - “One Nation Under a Groove”

In 1978, Funkadelic released their tenth studio album, “One Nation Under a Groove,” which also happened to be the one to achieve the most commercial success. The title track spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Soul charts and is included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

Outrageous Outfits

George Clinton (right) performing on stage with American funk band Parliament, USA, 1978.
George Clinton (right) performing on stage with American funk band Parliament, USA, 1978.


George Clinton (right) performing on stage with American funk band Parliament, USA, 1978.

A Parliament/Funkadelic show is always a treat for the eyes and ears. You can always count on Clinton to wear something memorable. His outfits are almost as famous as his music.

1982 - “Atomic Dog”

In 1982, Clinton began recording as a solo artist. One of the most popular tracks on his first solo album, “Computer Games,” was “Atomic Dog,” which spent four weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot R&B Singles chart. The funky track is a cookout classic that is guaranteed to get the men of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. off their feet.

A Huge Hip-Hop Influence

LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 1989: Public Enemy members Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and the one and only George Clinton pose for a portrait in October 1989 in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 1989: Public Enemy members Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and the one and only George Clinton pose for a portrait in October 1989 in Los Angeles, California.


LOS ANGELES - OCTOBER 1989: Public Enemy members Chuck D, Flavor Flav, and the one and only George Clinton pose for a portrait in October 1989 in Los Angeles, California.

Without a doubt, Clinton’s music has had a major influence on Hip-Hop culture. His songs are right up there with James Brown’s – heavily sampled by some of Hip-Hop’s biggest artists, including Public Enemy (“Bring the Noise”), De La Soul (“Me, Myself, and I”) and Snoop Dogg (“Who am I (What’s My Name)?”).

1997 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

George Clinton (L) and Bootsy Collins (R), members of the funk group “Parliament-Funkadelic” answer questions during a press conference after ceremonies where they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a Cleveland, OH hotel 06 May. Ten people or groups were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
George Clinton (L) and Bootsy Collins (R), members of the funk group “Parliament-Funkadelic” answer questions during a press conference after ceremonies where they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a Cleveland, OH hotel 06 May. Ten people or groups were inducted into the Hall of Fame.


George Clinton (L) and Bootsy Collins (R), members of the funk group “Parliament-Funkadelic” answer questions during a press conference after ceremonies where they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at a Cleveland, OH hotel 06 May. Ten people or groups were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

In 1997, Parliament/Funkadelic became a part of music history when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Their all-star class included legendary artists like The Jackson 5, Mahalia Jackson and the Bee Gees.

2009 BMI Icon Award

NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: (L-R) President and CEO of BMI Del Bryant, George Clinton, winner of the BMI Icon Award, and Sly Stone attend the BMI Urban Awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2009 in New York City.
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: (L-R) President and CEO of BMI Del Bryant, George Clinton, winner of the BMI Icon Award, and Sly Stone attend the BMI Urban Awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2009 in New York City.


NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10: (L-R) President and CEO of BMI Del Bryant, George Clinton, winner of the BMI Icon Award, and Sly Stone attend the BMI Urban Awards at Jazz at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2009 in New York City.

In 2009, BMI, the music industry’s performance rights organization, honored Clinton with the BMI Icon Award. The award is presented to songwriters and producers who have had a meaningful impact on the industry at large. The presentation included an all-star tribute featuring Cee Lo Green, Janelle Monáe and Big Boi.

The Funk Doctor is In

MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 7: George Clinton at the Perez Art Museum Presents George Clinton on December 7th, 2023 in Miami, Florida.
MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 7: George Clinton at the Perez Art Museum Presents George Clinton on December 7th, 2023 in Miami, Florida.


MIAMI, FL - DECEMBER 7: George Clinton at the Perez Art Museum Presents George Clinton on December 7th, 2023 in Miami, Florida.

On February 16, 2012, Clinton received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. He also taught a four-day residency at the school. Talk about a funky class!

2018 - Tiny Desk Concert

Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars gave a 13-minute masterclass in bringing the funk in this Tiny Desk Concert, proving that even after all of these years, they have not missed a beat.

2020 - Honorary Omega

“Atomic Dog” is known for being the unofficial theme song of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. So it was only fitting that George Clinton was named an honorary member of the organization in 2020, along with D.L. Hughley, Anthony Anderson and Ted Ginn, Sr. He even created a special “Que Dog remix” of “Atomic Dog.”

Visual Artist

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 4: Band leader George Clinton emerges from The Mothership of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic onstage on June 4, 1977 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 4: Band leader George Clinton emerges from The Mothership of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic onstage on June 4, 1977 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.


LOS ANGELES - JUNE 4: Band leader George Clinton emerges from The Mothership of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic onstage on June 4, 1977 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.

Clinton is known for being an incredible singer, songwriter and producer. But you may not know that he is also a talented visual artist. Pieces he’s designed and created are on display in galleries across the country, including the well-known Parliament-Funkadelic’s Mothership stage prop, which is on permanent display at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington DC.

2024 - Walk of Fame

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 31: Anthony Kiedis and George Clinton attend the ceremony honoring Red Hot Chili Peppers with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 31, 2022 in Hollywood, California.
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 31: Anthony Kiedis and George Clinton attend the ceremony honoring Red Hot Chili Peppers with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 31, 2022 in Hollywood, California.


HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 31: Anthony Kiedis and George Clinton attend the ceremony honoring Red Hot Chili Peppers with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 31, 2022 in Hollywood, California.

On Jan. 19, Clinton took his place among stars like Missy Elliot, Salt-N-Pepa and Sheila E. when he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The star-studded presentation included remarks from civil rights attorney Ben Crump and Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

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