George Clinton began his musical career in New Jersey, where his obsession with doo-wop and R&B led to a barbershop quartet--literally, as Clinton and his friends also styled hair in the local shop--the way kids often got their musical start in the '50s. Read more...
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Publisher: Atria Books$17.00
George Clinton began his musical career in New Jersey, where his obsession with doo-wop and R&B led to a barbershop quartet--literally, as Clinton and his friends also styled hair in the local shop--the way kids often got their musical start in the '50s. But how many kids like that ended up playing to tens of thousands of rabid fans alongside a diaper-clad guitarist? How many of them commissioned a spaceship and landed it onstage during concerts? How many put their stamp on four decades of pop music, from the mind-expanding sixties to the hip-hop-dominated nineties and beyond?
One of them. That's how many.
How George Clinton got from barbershop quartet to funk music megastar is a story for the ages. As a high school student he traveled to New York City, where he absorbed all the trends in pop music, from traditional rhythm and blues to Motown, the Beatles, the Stones, and psychedelic rock, not to mention the formative funk of James Brown and Sly Stone. By the dawn of the seventies, he had emerged as the leader of a wildly creative musical movement composed mainly of two bands--Parliament and Funkadelic. And by the bicentennial, Clinton and his P-Funk empire were dominating the soul charts as well as the pop charts. He was an artistic visionary, visual icon, merry prankster, absurdist philosopher, and savvy businessmen, all rolled into one. He was like no one else in pop music, before or since.
"Candid, hilarious, outrageous, and] poignant" (Booklist), this memoir provides tremendous insight into America's music industry as forever changed by Clinton's massive talent. This is a story of a beloved global icon who dedicated himself to spreading the gospel of funk music.
- ISBN-13: 9781476751078
- ISBN-10: 1476751072
- Publisher: Atria Books
- Publish Date: October 2014
- Page Count: 404
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-01-05
- Reviewer: Staff
Clinton, the far-left-of-center mastermind behind the Parliament-Funkadelic universe, is one of the great outliers of American culture, a homegrown visionary who pulled together R&B, psychedelic rock, pop and experimental music to begat his own idiosyncratic, and massively influential, version of funk. Now in his early 70s, Clinton has been in the game from doo-wop to hip-hop; his own unmistakable contributions reflecting a boundary-free imagination stoked by obsessions with science fiction, societal unease and personal freedom. Collaborating with Greenman, a New Yorker contributor and R&B authority, Clinton recounts, with clearheaded vigor, an absorbing story of early scuffling, slow but steady success, and restless artistic experimentation, in counterpoint with darker tales of drug addiction and inevitable legal wrangling. While we get considerable insight into the workings of an inclusive musical mind unfettered by limitations, what is conspicuously missing is an authentic sense of Clinton's outrageous humor and radical worldview. How can the artist who brought us "Maggot Brain" come off so well behaved? (Oct.)