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Biography

  • Years Active

    1968 – 1980 (12 years)

  • Founded In

    Plainfield, Union County, New Jersey, United States

  • Members

    • Bernie Worrell
    • Bootsy Collins
    • Calvin Simon
    • Cordell Mosson
    • David Spradley
    • DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight
    • Eddie Hazel
    • Fred Wesley (1975 – present)
    • Fuzzy Haskins
    • Garry Shider
    • Gary "Mudbone" Cooper
    • George Clinton
    • Glen Goins
    • Grady Thomas
    • Greg Boyer
    • Jerome Brailey
    • Larry Fratangelo
    • Maceo Parker (1975 – 1984)
    • Michael Hampton
    • Prakash John
    • Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood
    • Ray Davis
    • Richard Griffith
    • Rick Gardner
    • Sidney Barnes

Parliament is an American funk band formed in the late 1960s by George Clinton as part of his Parliament-Funkadelic collective. Less rock-oriented than its sister act Funkadelic, Parliament drew on science-fiction and outlandish performances in their work. The band scored a number of Top 10 hits, including the million-selling 1976 single "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)", and Top 40 albums such as Mothership Connection (1975). Clinton dissolved the band in the early 1980s. Reformed in January 2018, the first new Parliament release in 38 years was "I'm Gon Make U Sick O'Me", which features the rapper Scarface. A new Parliament album, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, was released in May 2018.

Parliament was originally The Parliaments, a doo-wop group based out of George Clinton's Plainfield, New Jersey barber shop. The name was soon abandoned due to legal issues with Revilot and Atlantic Records, and most of the same people recorded under the name Funkadelic, which consisted of The Parliaments' backing musicians. Billy "Bass" Nelson is credited with creating the name Funkadelic. He also switched from 6-string guitar to bass, creating room for his childhood friend Eddie Hazel to join the group. Soon, Parliament was created in addition to Funkadelic and the two bands consisted of essentially the same people, though both released albums under their respective names.

The legal problems with the name "The Parliaments" were resolved in 1970, and Clinton signed all of Funkadelic to Invictus Records under the name Parliament, releasing Osmium ("The Breakdown" reached #30 on the R&B charts in 1971) but the name Parliament was then abandoned for some time, as Funkadelic was much more successful.

In the early 1970s, Bernie Worrell, Bootsy Collins and Catfish Collins joined Funkadelic, which released five albums by 1974. With only moderate success, Funkadelic signed with Casablanca Records as Parliament, releasing "Up for the Down Stroke" (off the album of the same name) which reached #10 on the R&B charts but peaked at #63 Pop. The song was the biggest hit of P Funk's career. 1975 saw the release of Chocolate City, which also enjoyed moderate success; the title track reached #24.

With the ensuing albums, Parliament became one of the most respected bands on the 1970s, and are now recognized as one of the forefathers of funk music. Of particular interest are the spacey themes of Starchild, Sir Nose and other recurring characters from multiple albums.

Of particular note is the landmark album Mothership Connection, an amalgam of many '70s themes and the tight "popular" funk sound which was both more commercially viable (particularly in the black community) and more readily emulated by the numerous artists capitalizing on the popularity of 's mainstream cousin: . Artists such as the BeeGees, the Commodores and Kool and the Gang repackaged many of Parliament's innovations into radio-ready pop hits and upon the mass acceptance of disco culture as portrayed in Saturday Night Fever, millions of suburban Americans were able to boogie-oogie-oogie safely protected from exposure to the urban dance scene's multi-ethnic, sexually diverse and cocaine-fueled celebration.

In the early 1980s, with legal difficulties arising from the multiple names used by multiple groups, as well as a shakeup at Casablanca Records, George Clinton dissolved Parliament and Funkadelic as recording and touring entities. Parliament/Funkadelic morphed into . New audiences were fueled in the '90s due to extensive sampling by DJs and producers, including beats used in The Chronic and Cypress Hill's debut album.

A variety of bands evolved in their own right out of the main two bands - they were of course, Parlet, Bootsy's Rubber Band, The Brides of Funkinstein, Horny Horns and Quasar.

George Clinton subsequently worked with the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Reformed in January 2018, the first new Parliament release in 38 years was "I'm Gon Make U Sick O'Me", which features the rapper Scarface. A new Parliament album, Medicaid Fraud Dogg, was released in May 2018.

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