George Clinton was born in North Carolina in 1941 and grew up in New Jersey. His early love of doo-wop music led him to form the Parliaments in the 1950s in Plainfield, New Jersey. After years of development, the group finally charted a hit single in 1967 with the Motown-influenced “(I Wanna) Testify.” Shortly after this long-awaited success, Clinton lost the rights to the band’s name in a record label dispute. Undeterred, he formed Funkadelic the following year and went in a new musical direction.
Funkadelic merged the psychedelic rock sound of Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa with the funky soul music of James Brown and Sly Stone. From 1970 onward, the group charted new territory in funk music and acid rock. Clinton explored science-fiction themes that incorporated outrageous costumes, bizarre humor and elaborate narratives that involved motherships, alien beings and psychedelic adventures.
Eventually, Funkadelic became one half of a collective paired with a relaunch of the Parliaments. With P-Funk, Clinton created an Afrofuturist mythology that explored the current and future identity of African-Americans in the United States.
Throughout the 1970s, Clinton charted over 40 R&B hits and three platinum albums. In the 1980s, Clinton began a solo career and became an important music producer for fellow members of P-Funk and popular acts like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
In 1994, he moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where he has resided ever since. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and continues to work with artists as diverse as T-Pain, Carlos Santana and Kendrick Lamar. Even when it comes time for Clinton to retire from performing, he plans for a hologram of himself to keep funking into the future.