PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under a Groove

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Parliament Funkadelic was notorious for its sheer quantity of musicians: countless members have joined, left and re-joined the collective over its decades of performing and recording, and live shows often boasted up to 30 musicians on stage at once. While P-Funk would have never existed without the work of all the musicians and artists in the historic “P-Funk mob,” the following are often viewed as the band’s most iconic and influential.


a headshot of George Clinton, with multi-colored dreadlocks George Clinton
Born in North Carolina in 1941, Clinton began singing doo-wop in New Jersey in the 1950s, when he formed the Parliaments, the predecessors to Parliament Funkadelic. Clinton remains the figurehead of P-Funk, and is widely known for his extravagant costumes and hairstyles as well as his creative influence on countless musicians. As a singer and lyricist, he broke musical boundaries with his political outspokenness, vocal protests and artistic flamboyance. Despite persisting legal and financial difficulties, Clinton has had a successful recording career following the dissolution of P-Funk in the early 1980s, with albums such as Atomic Dog; The Cinderella Theory; Hey Man, Smell My Finger and T.A.P.O.A.F.O.M., as well as touring as a solo artist and with the P-Funk All Stars, which released How Late Do You Have 2 B B 4 U R Absent? in fall 2005.

a headshot of Bootsy Collins, wearing large star-shaped sunglasses and a Harley Davidson hat Bootsy Collins
Born William Collins in 1951 in Cincinnati, Bootsy Collins first started playing bass in the late 1960s with his band The Pacesetters, which also featured his brother, Catfish Collins, on guitar. The group was James Brown’s back-up band in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Collins joined P-Funk in 1972 and continued to record with the band for years as well as on solo and side projects such as Bootsy’s Rubber Band. One of the most legendary bass players in music history, Collins’s career has boasted singles such as “The Pinocchio Theory” and “Bootzilla,” best-selling albums including Ahh… The Name is Bootsy Baby! and Bootsy? Player of the Year, as well as performances with the Bootzilla Orchestra and with bands such as Deee-Lite.

a headshot of Eddie Hazel playing the guitar Eddie Hazel
Legendary guitarist Hazel was famous for his unconventional playing stylings, as exemplified in such P-Funk classics as “Maggot Brain,” and his pioneering of such musical fusions as mixing funk, metal, soul, psychedelia and R&B. Born in Brooklyn in 1950, Hazel grew up in New Jersey and first played for the Parliaments’ back-up band as a teenager in the late 1960s, in a group that would later become Funkadelic. Hazel’s trademark riffs contributed musically to a number of P-Funk albums, but by the mid-1970s, his problems with drug abuse had began to affect his work, and he was forced to leave the band for a few years, returning in the late 1970s. Hazel continued to play with George Clinton and as a solo artist until his death in 1992 from internal bleeding and liver failure.

a headshot of Garry Shider wearing a black cap Garry Shider
Known for his soulful voice, Shider was born in Plainfield, NJ and grew up singing with gospel legends. After a short time living in Canada, Shider returned to the U.S. to join P-Funk. He sang lead on many of the band’s most well-known songs, including “Cosmic Slop,” “One Nation,” and “Getting to Know You,” and also co-authored hits such as “Atomic Dog.” As a solo artist in the post-Funkadelic years, Shider has received accolades for his songwriting and producing work, including several Grammy nominations and Dove Gospel awards.

a headshot of Bernie Worrell wearing gold and black rimmed glasses and a large hat Bernie Worrell
Raised in Plainfield, NJ, the classically trained Worrell began playing the piano before the age of three, and was a child prodigy pianist, playing with symphonies and even penning his own concerto at age eight. He expanded his repertoire in college, playing with non-classical bands and eventually joining Funkadelic in 1970, after the release of the band’s first album. A central P-Funk figure, Worrell helped define the collective’s sound by providing most of the musical arrangements and producing most of the later albums. After P-Funk disbanded in the early 1980s, Worrell played and toured with the Talking Heads and fellow P-Funk alumnus Bootsy Collins, and has had a successful solo career.

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