This year’s Nelsonville Music Festival will feature what might be one of the last opportunities to see legendary funk music entrepreneur, George Clinton, perform live.
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic will take the main stage at 9:45 p.m. This performance coincides with a recent article in Billboard Magazine which stated that Clinton will officially retire from touring as of May 2019.
Born in Kannapolis, North Carolina in 1941 and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, Clinton’s musical career began in the 1950’s when he formed a singing quartet called The Parliaments. Then in the '60s he moved to Detroit to become a staff songwriter for Motown Records. There he worked with established stars such as Diana Ross and up-and-coming acts like The Jackson 5.
When The Parliaments moniker got tied up in litigation, Clinton changed the name of the group to Funkadelic. Afterwards, Clinton and his bandmates began recording music for one record label under this band name as well as making records for another label under the revised band name, Parliament.
Parliament and Funkadelic’s unique sound was described by Clinton as “funky and psychedelic.” This along with the use of over-the-top theatrical props and controversial costumes in their performances helped both bands flourish throughout the '70s.
In addition, Clinton incorporated his flamboyant alter-ego, Dr. Funkenstein, into every performance. This helped boost Parliament and Funkadelic’s popularity, and provided them with a continuous sting of hit records, the most commercial of which still remains, Give up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker).
In 1982, Clinton pursued a solo career that began with the release of his first album titled Computer Games. This extremely successful outing is best known for featuring the funk/dance classic Atomic Dog.
Thanks to the rap music revolution of the 1990’s, a whole new generation got introduced to Clinton’s musical legacy once rap legends such as Grandmaster Flash, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dog, and the late Tupac began sampling his work.
Clinton also had a successful side career as a composer. Over the years he collaborated with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Fifth Harmony, and Weird Al Yankovic, as well as produced albums for Fatboy Slim and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Parliament Funkadelic as #58 in their 100 Greatest Artists issue along with a tribute by rapper/actor Ice-T who described the band as “30 years ahead of their time.”
In 1997 Clinton’s career and contributions to the music industry were immortalized when he and Parliament Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Prince.
The Nelsonville Music Festival is an annual music festival with over 60 musical acts on five stages, and takes place on the Hocking College campus located in Nelsonville, OH.