Certain Songs #482: Funkadelic – “Funky Dollar Bill”

Funkadelic - Free Your Mind Album: Free Your Mind … And Your Ass Will Follow
1970

So apparently, George Clinton has admitted/bragged that Free Your Mind … And Your Ass Will Follow was cut while the band was tripping on acid.

And yeah, even on the single “Funky Dollar Bill”, you can feel the LSD-25 dripping from every single echoed guitar riff, every single wah-wah workout, every single discordant piano note. They clearly had access to the good stuff.

Not to mention the words, which could be taken from just about any hippie’s anti-capitalist rant, from Abbie Hoffman to Bernie Sanders:

It’ll buy a war
It will save a land
It pollutes this air
In the name of wealth
It’ll buy you life
But not true life
The kind of life
Where the soul is hard
My name is dollar bill

And while Eddie Hazel’s guitar is fuzzy and noisy and trippy, it’s not even a patch on Bernie Worrell’s utterly unhinged piano, which leaps out a 100-story window halfway through the second verse, and instead of falling straight down, flies around for awhile, banging into all of the surrounding skyscrapers before hitting the ground.

I’m now convinced that when David Bowie recorded the song “Aladdin Sane,” he played “Funky Dollar Bill” for pianist Mike Garson and told him to “give me one of those, please.”

Maybe not, but that’s how weird and amazing Worrell’s piano is, and it takes “Funky Dollar Bill” to a whole new level.

“Funky Dollar Bill”

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