UNSUNG REVIEW: George Clinton

by Kevin Ross - Posted Thursday, October 7th, 2010. Category: Of Interest, REVIEWS, URBAN

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Yet another great tale of an entertainer who has an interesting story and background. George Clinton was born in the south but raised in New Jersey and he was a barber for many years who did everything from cutting hair to putting those hardcore perms in the heads of the doo-wop set.   I had once heard that George Clinton was a record company rep in the 60s, which I thought was odd considering I had also heard there were NO black reps at the labels until the late 60s/early 70s when Urban disc jockey’s held a revolt against the labels and refused to play their records until black reps were hired. (I’d love to talk to someone who knows more about that to do a story). Needless to say there is none of that mentioned in this segment. I’ve met George on a couple of occasions and always thought he was a very down to earth nice guy.

My older brother was a HUGE Parliament and Parliament-Funkadelic fan and I didn’t get it. I’m sure it was because I was too young at the time. I was always attracted to anything different but I lost interest if other black people were interested. I wanted to feel like I discovered sh… (lol). I still learned a lot about Clinton during this show that I was unaware of. I had no idea that he recorded 19 albums in the 70s and that he had several different spin-offs of Parliament (the group was named after a pack of cigarettes) including Brides of Funkenstien etc. The segment reveals that the Brides, for example, would open the show then they would go backstage and get dressed to do the rest of the entire show as the background singers. Those people worked their asses off but none of them expressed any dismay towards George. They all seem to still love and respect him. George literally had hundreds of people recording for all his groups and offered a job to practically anyone who needed it back in the day. Before I forget, I was also surprised that there was no mention of the late Phillipe Wynn’s temporary membership in the collective and his singing efforts on one of the group’s hits “(Not Just) Knee Deep.’ Wynn was a member of The Spinners for over almost a decade when he left the group in the late 70s and shocked everyone by appearing on the Parliament-Funkadelic single. Many fail to realize that after Wynn left the Spinners, he had 2 solo efforts on the Cotillion label that both flopped. Tragically, Wynn died of a fatal heart attack on stage while performing in Oakland at the age of 43 in 1984.

 width=As I have never been a huge fan of Parliament or Parliament Funkadelic, I had my favorite singles, I will admit Atomic Dog was not one of them. I never understood why that record was, and still is, so huge. However, “Flashlight” and a few other hits did get my attention back in the day.   George was ripped off in a way that would have driven most people insane. A label owner that George trusted (but should not have) for advances would give him the money but he would ask George to sign over the rights to his publishing as a result. George, states he did do that once or twice for certain projects but he states he did not sign over ALL his rights. Members of the group claim Armen Boladian (pictured) who owned Clinton’s first label Westbound ripped him off royally for hundreds of millions of dollars. I have to admit, I could never understand how people could be so fooking sleazy but George is as a result, basically broke and at almost 70 years of age he is FORCED to continue touring at least half of the year. Clinton says he loves doing it but he also HAS to do it to keep money in his pocket.   I’m not going to give you much more than that and will let you watch the show to get more…

  • P-Shark

    Correction,Philippe Wynne did not sing on “One Nation”
    It was “(Not Just)Knee Deep”. He also sang on a few other
    P-Funk tracks, not to mention his own solo album “Wynne Jammin'” for Clinton’s short lived Uncle Jam label. Wynne
    deserves his own Unsung episode.