George Clinton receives star on Walk of Fame

Wave Wire Services

HOLLYWOOD — A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was unveiled Jan. 19 honoring George Clinton, the mastermind of the Parliament-Funkadelic collective, for his contributions to funk music.

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis, famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump and longtime Motown songwriter Janie Bradford joined Clinton in speaking at the ceremony in front of the Musicians Institute, where many of the new Walk of Fame stars from the music industry are placed.

“This is an honor to receive this star alongside the many names and notables from the world of entertainment,” Clinton said during the ceremony. “This is something very special for me.”

Clinton told the audience about his career in the music world, and how he had to keep things in perspective so he wouldn’t develop a big ego.

“I found out there’ll be times when it seemed like everyone knew your name, and there were times when no one knew you. I learned to respect the balance. If I needed to hear my name spoken out loud, I would go to the airport and page myself,” Clinton said, drawing a big laugh from the audience.

Kiedis paid tribute to Clinton, calling him a “national treasure,” and thanked him for producing one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ albums.

“We started writing, and George started teaching us, and for me personally, George became an instant friend, a teacher, a mentor, a father figure, a coconspirator, an instigator, and honestly a conductor of alien enterprises, truth be told,” Kiedis said.

That Red Hot Chili Peppers album was titled “Freaky Styley,” which was released in 1985.

Born July 22, 1941, in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, Clinton formed the barbershop doo-wop ensemble The Parliaments when he was 15 years old. It scored a major hit in 1967, “(I Wanna) Testify.”

When Clinton temporarily lost the rights to the name The Parliaments during a contractual dispute with Revilot Records in 1968, he formed Funkadelic, a rock group that fused acid-rock guitar, bizarre sound effects and cosmological rants with danceable beats and booming bass lines.

Funkadelic had several influential concept albums, including “Free Your Mind … and Your Ass Will Follow,” released in 1970, “Maggot Brain,” released in 1971, and “America Eats Its Young,” released in 1972.

After regaining the rights to name “The Parliaments,” Clinton formed Parliament in 1970, with the same five singers and five musicians as Funkadelic but as a smoother R&B-based funk ensemble.

At his Walk of Fame ceremony, Clinton spoke about the people who helped him on his musical journey.

“One thing I realized is that there is not a single name on this street that did it by themselves. There are so many that I stand on that I can’t name them all. But for each and every one of you, I give thanks,” Clinton said.

Some of Clinton’s most popular songs include “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up),” “Mothership Connection (Star Child),” “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker),” “Flash Light,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” “(Not Just) Knee Deep,” and “Aqua Boogie,” eventually culminating with the 1982 solo release of “Atomic Dog.”

“Atomic Dog” has been featured in such films as “102 Dalmatians,” “Trolls World Tour” and “Menace II Society” and sampled many times, most notably by Snoop Dogg on his smash-hit “Snoop Dogg (What’s My Name Pt. 2).”

Bradford, the Motown songwriter, reminded Clinton how he retired in 2018, yet continues to work.

“My kids think I’m cool because I know George Clinton. I think I am blessed that he is my friend, and I am his,” Bradford said.

Clinton is also known for otherworldly live performances in which he would emerge from a giant spaceship, “The Mothership,” at center stage as “Dr. Funkenstein.”

Parliament-Funkadelic became a source for early rap recordings, with its beats, loops and samples appearing on albums by 2Pac, OutKast, Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, De La Soul, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and Childish Gambino.

Clinton collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on the rapper’s 2015 Grammy-winning album “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Parliament-Funkadelic was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.