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"One Nation Under the Groove": the story of the legendary funk band Funkadelic's hit song

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

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

"One Nation Under a Groove" is a legendary song by the band Funkadelic from their album of the same name 1978. By the way: this is the first album to feature a keyboardist and songwriter on the record Walter Morrison. Like the song, the album became the most commercially successful of Funkadelic's career! It is not for nothing that today it is one of the hundred influential records of the last century according to Vibe magazine. However, today we will talk about the song, which remains one of the most famous and popular funk hits of all time 1970-х

Trek "One Nation Under a Groove" went to number one on the R&B chart, and today it stands as the greatest moment of his career George Clinton as a writer of lyrics: the flexible composition evokes an extraordinary state of mind and has a chorus to die for... It also captures guitarist Michael Hampton at the height of his prowess. The song is certainly very catchy and serves as a great introduction to Clinton's quirky, funk-soaked alternate reality! It has long been a dance funk classic and is probably the best known in Funkadelic's repertoire. In fact, more about it below....

Background, inspiration

Funkadelic
Funkadelic

В 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 lit the spark, and soon the world was hearing the awesome funk song "One Nation Under a Groove"... It was the first Funkadelic track that Funkadelic worked on Walter Morrison. In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy, he said:

"As far as I can remember, George was not present for the making of the track. Fortunately, Harry Sheader was there and was a great support in the process. Harry helped ease the tension between myself and the members, which made the arrangement easier... Bootsy Collins added his drums later..."

In turn, George Clinton recounted 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 divisions and just let people hear great music! But where did the inspiration and, in fact, the title itself come from? Clinton continues his story:

"We played a gig in Washington, D.C., and afterwards two young girls, LaTanya and Darlene, came to the car and told us it was the best gig they'd ever seen." They said, "The whole thing was like one nation under a groove..." As soon as I heard that, I knew it had to become a song. Initially all I had was a lead in, "One Nation Under the Groove, get down just for the funk..." At the same time I wanted to get the silky feel of Dionne Warwick records - a smooth groove, but funky..."

With his powerful percussive groove "One Nation Under a Groove" pays homage to the music that preceded it with a call for a to James Brown, The Delfonics and even Gospelwhile using patriotic rhetoric to get the message across. It is a call to dance rather than a call to arms. A call to unite and celebrate diversity rather than a desire for homogenisation. A call to break down racial barriers that are "so wide you can't get round them / so low you can't get over them...." In case anyone didn't realise - the lyrics of One Nation Under a Groove see dancing as a path to freedom.

funkadelic
funkadelic

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' Somethin":

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

Success, impact

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

"One Nation Under a Groove" was released as a single and reached number one on the Billboard Soul! В Billboard Hot 100 the track went to top 30! Outside the US, "One Nation Under a Groove" entered 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 the third for the P-Funk organisation as a whole. Today, the song is included on various prestigious lists including "500 greatest songs of all time"according to Rolling Stone magazine!

"We really wanted that song to be a hit, so we really made the single more commercial and more straightforward than I would have liked," Clinton told Blues & Soul in 1978. "That's something we hadn't done since Motown. Sure, we could do that all the time, but once people put you in the sack, you can't get out anymore... At one time we were going to make this track a lot harder, but that didn't fit the vibe of it. We don't want people to think of us as political - even though we are political, it's from a mental point of view. To burn the ghetto in your head and encroach on your mind, that's what we're trying to say..."

George Clinton ...
George Clinton ...

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

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