barbara cheeseborough

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On this day in music history: July 12, 1971 - “Maggot Brain”, the third album by Funkadelic is released. Produced by George Clinton, it is recorded at Universal Studios in Detroit, MI from Late 1970 - Early 1971. Having established themselves with their self-titled debut and “Free Your Mind… And Your Ass Will Follow” in 1970, Funkadelic cultivate a sizable and loyal cult following with their unique brand of R&B, Funk and psychedelic rock influenced by the band’s prolific intake of LSD. The songs on their third album address concerns such as class and racial inequality, interpersonal relationships, the need for unity among people, and the ongoing war in Vietnam. The albums’ mesmerizing title track recorded in only a single take is its centerpiece. A nearly ten and a half minute long opus, featuring an epic solo by guitarist Eddie Hazel is inspired when George Clinton, who is tripping on acid, tells Hazel to play like he has just heard that his mother had died, and to put his emotions into his solo. Prior to the release of “Maggot Brain”, original members Hazel, Tawl Ross, Billy “Bass” Nelson, and Tiki Fulwood leave the band over financial and business disputes with Clinton. In spite of this, “Maggot Brain” becomes another success for Funkadelic, and its status as an important and influential album grows as the years pass. Numerous bands including Santana, Pearl Jam, Widespread Panic and Gov’t Mule cover “Maggot Brain” in live performances. The album  spins off three singles including “Can You Get To It” (#44 R&B, #93 Pop), “Hit It And Quit It” and “You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks” (#42 R&B, #91 Pop). It is remastered and reissued on CD in 2005 with three bonus tracks, including an alternate mix of the title track. The albums striking cover photos of a black woman (fashion model Barbara Cheeseborough) buried up to her neck and screaming (with a skull posed the same way on the back), taken by photographer Joel Brodsky (The Doors), become iconic images. “Maggot Brain” peaks at number fourteen on the Billboard R&B album chart, and number One Hundred Eight on the Top 200.