"One Nation Under the Groove": the story of the legendary funk hit by Funkadelic

"We really wanted this song to be a hit, so we really made the single more commercial and simpler than I would have liked," Clinton told Blues & Soul in 1978.

How did Funkadelic record one of the biggest funk hits in history? All about "One Nation Under a Groove"

«One Nation Under a Groove"- the legendary song of the group Funkadelic from their self-titled album 1978. By the way: this is the first album to feature a keyboardist and songwriter. Walter Morrison. Like the song, the album became the most commercially successful of Funkadelic's career! It is not for nothing that today he is included in the hundred of influential records of the last century according to Vibe magazine. However, today we will focus on the song, which remains one of the most famous and popular funk hits. 1970's

Track "One Nation Under a Groove» reached number one on the R&B chart and today is the greatest moment of his career George Clinton as a lyricist: the flexible composition evokes an extraordinary state of mind and has a chorus to die for... It also captures the guitarist Michael Hampton at the height of his skill. The song is certainly very catchy and serves as a great introduction to Clinton's quirky, funk-drenched alternate reality! It has long been a dance funk classic and is probably the most famous in the Funkadelic repertoire. Actually, more about it below ...

Background, inspiration


In 1978 New Jersey's most popular funk band - the eccentric and forward-thinking Funkadelic led by George Clinton - had the biggest hit of their career! A couple of young fans ignited a spark, and soon the world heard an amazing funk composition "One Nation Under a Groove"… It was the first track Funkadelic worked on Walter Morrison. In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy, he said:

“As far as I remember, George was not present when the track was created. Luckily, Harry Schieder was there and was very supportive throughout the process. Harry helped ease the tension between me and the members, which made the arrangement easier… Bootsy Collins added his drums later…”

In turn, George Clinton said the following:

“Morrison (keyboards) just joined us from the Ohio Players and we got a lot of new equipment so we had a lot of inspiration and opportunities…”

George Clinton
George Clinton

So: in 1978 George Clinton released an album that was supposed to break down musical differences and just give people the opportunity to hear great music! But where did the inspiration and, in fact, the name itself come from? Clinton continues his story:

"We played a gig in Washington DC and after that, two young girls, LaTanya and Darlene, came up to the car and told us it was the best gig they've ever seen." They said, "It was all like one nation under the groove..." As soon as I heard that, I knew it was going to be a song. Initially, all I had was a hook: “One nation to the grooves, only go down for the funk…” At the same time, I wanted to get the silky feel of Dionne Warwick records – smooth groove, but funky…”

With his powerful percussive groove"One Nation Under a Groovepays homage to previous music with a call to James Brown, The Delfonics and even gospelwhile using patriotic rhetoric to get the message across. It's more of a call to dance than a call to arms. A call to unite and celebrate diversity, not a desire for homogenization. A call to break down racial barriers that are "so wide you can't go around them / so low you can't get past them…." In case someone didn't understand, in the lyrics of "One Nation Under a Groove" dancing is seen as a path to freedom.


And yes, just like Funkadelic pay homage to the great music that came before them, Michael Jackson worships"One Nation” a lyrical reference in his hit “Wanna be startin' something»:

"It's too strong not to overcome (yes, yes)
You're too weak to die (yes, yes)
You're stuck between two fires (yes, yes)
And the pain is like thunder ... (yes, yes) "

Success, influence

The band Funkadelic, 1971...
Funkadelic band, 1971…

"One Nation Under a Groove" was released as a single and peaked at number one on Billboard Soul! IN Billboard Hot 100 the track is in top 30! Outside the US, "One Nation Under a Groove" reached the top ten on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number nine in January. 1979. It was the band's only UK hit. "One Nation Under a Groove" also became Funkadelic's first million-selling single, and third for the P-Funk organization as a whole. Today, the song is featured on various prestigious lists including "500 Greatest Songs of All Time»according to Rolling Stone magazine!

"We really wanted this song to be a hit, so we really made the single more commercial and simpler than I would have liked," Clinton told Blues & Soul in 1978. “It's something we haven't done since Motown. Of course, we could do it all the time, but if people put you in a bag, you can't get out... At one time we were going to make this track a lot harder, but it didn't match its vibe. We don't want people to think of us as politicians - although we are politicians, but from a mental point of view. Burn the ghetto in your head and encroach on your mind, that's what we're trying to say..."

George Clinton ...
George Clinton...

It is noteworthy, but this track was used in the film "Young Soul Rebels" 1991: The film takes place during the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977, a year before "One Nation Under a Groove" was recorded...

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