May 1977: Parliament Releases "Live: P-Funk Earth Tour"

CIRCA 1977: George Clinton and Garry Shider of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic perform onstage in circa 1977. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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(Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

When it came time for Parliament to embark on the The P-Funk Earth Tour, leader George Clinton had a vision. A very expensive vision he was able to sell to Casablanca Records honcho, Neil Bogart, who gave Clinton a whopping $275,000 to stage the ambitious project.

Kicking off in New Orleans in October 1976, the tour required seven massive trucks to transport the elaborate stage show required from city to city. Touching down in California during the month of January 1977, shows in Los Angeles and Oakland were recorded for Live: P-Funk Earth Tour, a double-live album that hit record store shelves on May 5, 1977. In true Casablanca fashion, the album came loaded with fun extras, including a "Take Funk to Heaven in '77" iron-on transfer, and a giant poster of George Clinton himself. dressed as Dr. Funkenstein.

Clinton got a little too comfortable before the Oakland show, as he revealed to WaxPoetics: "I can remember getting there in the afternoon on the day of the show and watching them set up the spaceship and the big hat. And I fell asleep under the bleachers! [laughs] And when I woke up the show was on. The show was on. Scared the shit out me, I was goin’ be late! Got in the costume and was there just as my turn came on. [chuckles] Bootsy was on when I woke up. Oh they were panicking. Nobody knew where I was at because I got there early afternoon. I just sat down by the bleachers and fell asleep!"

The album made a strong run on the charts, peaking at #29 on the mainstream album chart. Live: P-Funk Earth Tour would get all the way to #6 on the R&B albums chart for the week of June 4, 1977. The #1 R&B album in America that week: Commodores with Commodores. The first Parliament album to feature vocalists Dawn Silva and Lynn Mabry, the record would be the group's third certified as gold.

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