Before George Clinton became known as "Dr. Funkenstein," he sang in a New Jersey doo-wop group. Years later, he took over the seminal late '60s funk-rock band Funkadelic. By the early '70s, that troupe had morphed into Parliament -- until it all became an indistinguishable entity simply known as "P-Funk," with Clinton the undisputed ringmaster.
A reflection of '70s excess, their shows featured a "Mothership" descending upon Clinton and crew, an amalgamation of glammed-out, space-age eccentrics, including bent bassist Bootsy Collins. Their extended, funky grooves -- to which all jam bands today owe a humongous debt -- provoked a "free your mind and your ass will follow" philosophy on the dance floor. With a firmly antiestablishment sense of fun, they came up with such urban classics as "Chocolate City," "Paint the White House Black," "Uncle Jam Wants You," and the infamous "Flashlight."
For all the usual reasons, the group's star began to dim in the '80s, though Clinton launched a solo career with "Atomic Dog." Thanks to a stint on Lollapalooza '94, they reassembled for another long run of popularity with a new generation of funkateers. The circus has toned down considerably, now that George is a senior citizen, but no one can "pin the tail on the funky" like the "P."