As this list of the Top 10 Funkadelic Rock Songs demonstrates, the more experimental half of George Clinton's P-Funk empire sure knew what to do with a guitar. While Parliament focused on more traditional funk and soul music, guitarists Eddie Hazel, Gary Shider and Michael Hampton led Funkadelic deep into uncharted territory, creating some of the most exotic rock music of the '70s. So free your mind and let your ass follow as we explore the Top 10 Funkadelic Rock Songs.
"Hardcore Jollies"From: 'Hardcore Jollies' (1976)
As you can probably guess just by looking at these album covers, P-Funk mastermind George Clinton can get into some pretty strange topics lyrically. So, we'll ease you into this list of Funkadelic Rock Songs with a heavy, churning instrumental track that gives the group's late-era lead guitarist Michael Hampton plenty of room to display his jaw-dropping soloing skills.
"Lunchmeataphobia"From: 'One Nation Under a Groove' (1978)
By 1978, the differences between Funkadelic and Parliament albums were blurred beyond recognition, as the dance-floor ready title track from this album demonstrates. But there were still a couple of moments where Hampton's guitar took center stage, such as on this stormy warning about government thought control – "Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet."
"Trash A-Go-Go"From 'Cosmic Slop' (1973)
With original lead guitarist Eddie Hazel having left the band (he'd return sporadically over the years) and "Kidd Funkadelic" Michael Hampton not having arrived yet, guitar hero duties on the 'Cosmic Slop' album fell to Ron Bykowski and longtime P-Funk musical director Gary Shider – complete with trademark diaper. As you can hear from this awesomely chunky song – an accused pimp's insistence of innocence – they carried the load quite nicely.
"I Call My Baby Pussycat"From: 'America Eats Its Young' (1972)
Obviously, there was a lot of sharing between Funkadelic and Parliament, both in terms of band members and musical ideas. This song originally appeared as an uptempo rocker on Parliament's 1970 album 'Osmium.' Clinton recycled the opening riff as the foundation for "Hardcore Jollies" (see above), but not before re-recording the rest of the track in a completely different, dramatically slower and swampier version for Funkadelic's 1972 double-album epic. Also suggested from this album: the swirling "You Hit the Nail on the Head."
"Cosmic Slop"From: 'Cosmic Slop' (1973)
Shider and Bykowski again share duties on the slow-burning groove and soaring leads of this longtime concert favorite. The song's popularity is somewhat surprising considering its depressing subject matter: A young child secretly hears his mother beg forgiveness from God for prostituting herself in order to feed her family. But hey, before you judge them, you try not singing along to "I can hear my mother call / Hear my mother call ..."
"Alice in My Fantasies"From: 'Standing on the Verge of Getting It On' (1974)
After missing the group's previous two albums, Hazel returned with a vengeance for this 1974 masterpiece, which features three of our top 10 Funkadelic rock songs. This is the hardest hitting of the trio, with Clinton and Hazel breathlessly running wild on top of a barreling, Jimi Hendrix-inspired riff.
"Who Says a Funk Band Can't Play Rock?!"From: 'One Nation Under a Groove' (1978)
"Who says a jazz band / Can't play dance music? / Who says a rock band / Can't play funky? / Who says a funk band / Can't play rock?" The lyrics of this irresistibly rollicking song gently but directly take people who insist on filing music into restrictive genre categories to task. Meanwhile, Hampton alternates between echoing the vocalists' melodic lines and punctuating their thoughts with brief, stinging leads.
"Red Hot Mama"From: 'Standing on the Verge of Getting It On' (1974)
Are you still somehow resisting the charms of these Funkadelic Rock Songs? Let us save you time: If the hard-hitting swing and rooster strut of this one doesn't get you, go ahead and stop reading now. "Red Hot Mama" just might be Hazel's finest hour, and the track has continued to be one of the group's most beloved songs. Speaking of ... wanna see one of the greatest things that's ever happened on late-night TV? Click here.
"Super Stupid" From: 'Maggot Brain' (1971)
You might think we're breaking some sort of music-critic law by not including the title track from this album. It's a fantastic, nearly 10-minute long guitar solo from Hazel that still serves as the centerpiece of most P-Funk shows to this day. But we're focusing on full-band rock songs, and this raw, incendiary little slice of napalm is the one that really gets our rocks off. Check out the way Bernie Worrell's tranquil keyboard interludes actually help ratchet up the tension by making Hazel's soloing sound even more intense by comparison.
"Standing on the Verge of Getting It On"From: 'Standing on the Verge of Getting It On' (1974)
People, whatcha doing? Still standing on the verge of getting it on instead of getting it on in terms of Funkadelic rock songs? Well, if the massive BOMMM-chicka-chick-bomp groove of this one doesn't get you, we'll let their lyrics make the final case: "Even if you don't dig it / Don't mean it's not the thing or thing to do / It could be just for you / Even if you don't feel it / Right now don't mean someday it'll turn you out / You'll be out of sight / You really shouldn't ought to fight it / The music is designed to do no harm / It's just for you / With just a little bit of effort / I can, and well we might, just turn you on."