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This band, masterminded by George Clinton in the seventies, established funk as a legitimate outgrowth of soul music. Usually called the P-Funk Mob, the Funk Mob, or the P-Funk All-Stars, the history of this musical family spans over 30 years and at last count has included over 250 musicians and vocalists.

The group itself is a combination of two of Clinton’s projects, Parliament and Funkadelic. Parliament was a vocal group (founded by Clinton as a teenager), which was recording songs as far back as 1956, but didn’t make a name for themselves until “(I Wanna) Testify” hit the charts in 1967. During that time, Clinton was influenced by psychedelic rock bands such as Cream, Vanilla Fudge and Sly and the Family Stone.

The combined influence of his background in soul, and the new wave rock inspired him to then form Funkadelic. While Parliament was mainly a horn-based soul group, Funkadelic was a guitar-based rock group, though each was all about funk. The two entities were referred to style-wise as P-Funk. Clinton and other members referred to themselves in Parliament's self-referential theme song, "P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)," as "dealers of funky music, P-Funk, uncut funk, The Bomb."

Because of the number of members this band/bands, who-went-where-with-what becomes difficult to track. Parliament Funkadelic was a constantly shifting group of individuals, although several musicians have made P-Funk their home for over twenty-five years. George Clinton has remained the high priest of the funk, as well as the glue that held it all together. Though there have been others of influence, writing, arranging, playing, and co-producing tracks and live shows, he remained the center.

The eras of P-Funk

  • 1969-1972 "Funkadelic Phase 1" with Eddie Hazel, Billy Bass, Bernie Worrell. Tiki Fullwood, the Parliaments and others
  • 1973-1974 "Funkadelic Phase 2" with Gary Shider, Boogie Mosson, Tyrone Lampkin, Ron Bykowski, Bernie Worrell, the Parliaments and others
  • 1975-1977 "P-Funk Phase 1" with Glen Goins, Kidd Funkadelic, Bigfoot Brailey, Mudbone Cooper, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Gary Shider, Boogie Mosson, Maceo Parker, Tyrone Lampkin, the Parliaments and others
  • 1978-1980 "P-Funk Phase 2" with Junie Morrison, Skeet Curtis, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Kidd Funkadelic, Gary Shider, Tyrone Lampkin, and others

The performances of this group have been regarded as some of the most wild in the business. When they first began, the shows tended to be loud, intense and in-your-face. George Clinton often got naked on stage or within the audience. As they made more money, the shows became more ornate. It culminated in the construction of a huge spaceship that would "land" on stage during "Mothership Connection", from which Clinton would emerge in costume. The number of people onstage was always huge. There'd be at least 7 or 8 singers, including a backup or three. One or two keyboardists. Between 3-5 guitarists. A couple of drummers. A 4-piece horn section. Percussionists. Bass players. There might be as many as thirty members onstage at any one time!

Parliament Funkadelic is, in fact, the bomb. Go buy the albums. I did, and then I caught them live at Hofstra University in 1998. It was one of the most outrageous experiences of my life.

"I am intent on making the word funk as legitimate as jazz and rock and roll."
-George Clinton

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