‘Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),’ Parliament-Funkadelic


The cover of the 1975 Parliament album, “Mothership Connection.”

In October, I included, in 350 Jersey Songs, “(I Wanna) Testify,” by Plainfield’s Parliaments — a gospel- and Motown-influenced hit single from 1967 that gave little indication about where the Parliaments were headed, under George Clinton’s direction, in the ’80s and beyond.

The Parliaments, of course, evolved into the wild funk band Parliament, which had various eccentric spinoff bands of its own, including Funkadelic. The peak of it all, both commercially and artistically, was the futuristic 1975 Parliament concept album, “Mothership Connection,” and the subsequent P-Funk Earth tour, for which a mothership was built, so it could land onstage.

Below is a long, triumphant Halloween-1976 jam on the quintessential P-Funk party song (and the highest-charting Parliament single ever, rising to No. 15 on Billboard’s pop chart), “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” with a guest appearance by Sly Stone, who opened some shows on the tour. The venue is The Summit in Houston; footage was released in 2008 as a DVD, “The Mothership Connection Live 1976.”

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday from Sept. 2014 to Sept. 2015. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, for almost a year — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. The complete list is here.


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