PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC: One Nation Under a Groove

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The Music

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Welcome to station WEFUNK, better known as We-Funk, 
Or deeper still, the Mothership Connection.
Home of the extraterrestrial brothers,
Dealers of funky music.
	—Parliament, “P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)”

A group portrait of six people dressed in a variety of colorful costumes: a red and gold bodysuit, a black mask with a large nose, a monster-type chest piece and an astronaut suit.

George Clinton and the two groups, Parliament and Funkadelic, released a staggering amount of albums over half a century of recording, resulting in an oeuvre that exemplified the creativity and collectivity of P-Funk itself, espoused and defined a funk-based mythology that advocated dance, freedom and social change.

Although Parliament and Funkadelic stopped recording in the ‘80s, P-Funk musicians and offshoot bands continued to tour and record. Now the world’s most sampled band, P-Funk continues to provide a profound influence on generations of artists and musicians. George Clinton’s most recent album, How Late Do You Have 2 B B 4 U R Absent?, was released in September, 2005.

Check out a discography of Parliament and Funkadelic recordings below and magnify the album covers to get a closer look.

Find out more about the album artists >>

Manipulated photo of one man’s face repeated in a circle, creating a flower-like shape and a vortex in the middle. FUNKADELIC, the title, appears in rounded rainbow text.

1970: FUNKADELIC
(Westbound), Funkadelic

The heavy bass lines, extended jams and funky rhythms that would later be Funkadelic trademarks first emerged on the band’s debut album with such songs as “Mommy, What’s a Funkadelic?” Eddie Hazel, Tawl Ross, Billy Nelson, Tiki Fulwood and Mickey Atkins formed the instrumental backbone, with the original Parliaments heading up the vocals. The Jackson 5 later covered the R&B-influenced track “I Bet You.”

1970: FREE YOUR MIND… AND YOUR ASS WILL FOLLOW
(Westbound), Funkadelic

George Clinton has referred to this album as, “Let’s see if we can cut a whole album while we’re all tripping on acid.” A seminal Funkadelic release, Free Your Mind… employs several subversive Christian themes, with the notion that “the kingdom of heaven is within” and salvation can be reached through freeing one’s mind. The title track, with its call of “freedom is free of the need to be free” features vocals by Clinton and Ray Davis and a ten-minute-long feedback heavy guitar solo courtesy of Eddie Hazel.

1970: OSMIUM
(Invictus), Funkadelic

The first Parliament album included such gems as “I Call My Baby Pussycat” and “Little Ol’ Country Boy,” blending genres such as funk, gospel and even country, and providing an appropriate foreshadowing into the future work of keyboardist Bernie Worrell and guitarist Eddie Hazel.

Photo of a woman with large Afro, buried in dirt up to her neck, screaming yet smiling.

1971: MAGGOT BRAIN
(Westbound), Funkadelic

Arguably the most influential Funkadelic album, Maggot Brain showcases the band’s creative takes and mastery of rock, gospel, soul and psychedelia. Standout tracks include the title song, with its famous 12-minute Eddie Hazel guitar solo. “Maggot Brain” purportedly refers to a P-Funk mythos: a way of existing that celebrates the freedom of funk. The album also contains hits such as the gospel-infused “Can You Get to That;” “Hit It and Quit It,” with vocals and organs by Bernie Worrell; and “You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks,” which calls for the need for unity among the poor.

1972 AMERICA EATS ITS YOUNG
(Westbound), Funkadelic

New P-Funk members including brothers Bootsy and Catfish Collins are featured on this album, which includes such gems as “You Hit the Nail on the Head” and “If You Don’t Like the Effects, Don’t Produce the Cause.” This was one of the most political early Funkadelic albums, with lyrics advocating justice and freedom for the poor.

1973 COSMIC SLOP
(Westbound), Funkadelic

Heavy funk, political refrains, R&B love songs and innovative instrumentation all shine on this 1973 recording, which contains the beloved title track about a woman forced to work as a prostitute in order to make money to feed her family. Pedro Bell, who designed most of the band’s album covers, started his tradition of illustrating each song in the liner notes.

Colorful and busy illustration of spaceships, various creatures and a nude woman with a large Afro standing on the edge of the earth. A man watches from the edge.

1974 STANDING ON THE VERGE OF GETTING IT ON
(Westbound), Funkadelic

Eddie Hazel’s hard funk jams take the spotlight in this album, with songs such as “Standing on the Verge of Getting It On” urging fans to get funky—not only by dancing, but by opening one’s mind and fighting for social change.

1974: UP FOR THE DOWN STROKE
(Casablanca), Parliament

With horns, beats and bass, Parliament’s sophomore effort incorporated both Bernie Worrell’s skillful keyboard work and arrangements and the return of bassist Bootsy Collins. This album also features a ‘70s-style re-make of the original Parliaments doo-wop hit, “(I Wanna) Testify.”

Illustration of a corpse-like body with a green face and orange jacket, being watched by skull with alien eyes.

1975: LET’S TAKE IT TO THE STAGE
(Westbound), Funkadelic

This 1975 album includes less of the band’s trademark extended jams and more stream of consciousness vocals, such as the title track by Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Garry Shider.

The cover of the Chocolate City album, featuring the “official seal” of the City: iconic brown drawings of the White House, Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

1975: CHOCOLATE CITY
(Casablanca), Parliament

This Parliament classic sports the all-star line-up of George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel, along with Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley providing brass back-ups as the Horny Horns. Chocolate City heralds the start of the P-Funk concept album and the band’s mid-1970s mythology of African American pride and liberation—through funk. With such icons as the U.S. Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial on the cover, the album’s title was a shout out to Washington, D.C., where P-Funk had a large fan base and where black residents were the majority. Drawing from funk, soul and R&B, the album’s tight focus shines in such songs as the title track, a paean to black power in an era of white suburban flight. The album kicks off with an introduction by a fictional DJ on the radio station WEFUNK.

Photo / illustration collage: George Clinton sits back in a silver flying saucer wearing a silver space costume and platform boots, legs splayed, as he flies through a star-filled galaxy.

1975: MOTHERSHIP CONNECTION
(Casablanca), Parliament

Another Parliament classic and one of the most famous funk albums in music history, Mothership Connection includes such hits as “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker),” “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)” and “Mothership Connection (Star Child),” setting the stage for the band’s famous live acts and lavish concerts. With horns, layered synths and spoken word and introducing the Star Child/Mothership allegory, this album continues to be an influence on artists of multiple musical genres, even decades later. An alien who comes to earth via a spaceship to bring the power of funk, Star Child represented freedom and positivity in the face of repression and hypocrisy.

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