Saturday, April 26, 2008

Clinton For President....George Clinton That Is

In 1983 I wasn't at all familiar with the already 27 year long career of George Clinton. But I was familiar and fanatical about his latest single 'Atomic Dog'. As soon as I heard it on an Australian released compilation called 'Keep On Dancing' it was an instant hit in my mind. The song failed to register on Australia's singles charts, but it reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart in the U.S., where Clinton was a far more established figure on the music scene as the spearhead of the long running funk ensemble Parliament, sometimes known as Funkadelic, sometimes known as The Mothership Connection.

Clinton, AKA Dr. Funkenstein, gathered together his first lineup of musicians in 1956. Over the next 25 years they were at the vanguard of innovative funk and dance music, influencing the likes of Prince and Red Hot Chili Peppers to come. I can't help but think of the likes of Frank Zappa when considering the groundbreaking nature of Clinton's work. Mainstream chart success largely eluded him but yet his influence was deep and wide. During the 90s Clinton continued to work with his followers such as Prince and branched out to produce rap artists such as Ice Cube. If James Brown was the 'Godfather Of Soul', George Clinton must surely be considered funks equivalent patriarch.

This promo clip for 'Atomic Dog' incorporates all that was extravagant about the sound and look of George Clinton the artist, and it is the archetypal 80s video clip:

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