Sunday, September 7, 2008


"Maggot Brain" is a song by the band Funkadelic. It appears as the lead track on their 1971 album of the same name.

The original recording of the song, over ten minutes long, features little more than a spoken introduction and a much-praised extended guitar solo by Eddie Hazel. Michael Hampton (Eddie Hazel's replacement as lead guitarist) recorded his own interpretation of the song in 1978, which was included in a bonus vinyl EP that was distributed with the album One Nation Under a Groove; the cut is also included in most CD editions of that album.

Radio disc jockey Bill "B.L.F. Bash" Freeman played the original full version of "Maggot Brain" on 100.7 WMMS_(FM)/Cleveland every Sunday morning at 1:30 AM from 1976 through 1994. Meanwhile, the Saturday Night House Party at crosstown rival, 98.5 FM WNCX/Cleveland picked up the tradition in 1988, playing "Maggot Brain" shortly before midnight every Saturday night... a tradition that continues 20 years later. In March 2005, Father Nature Magazine placed Eddie Hazel's performance on "Maggot Brain" at number 1 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos.

[edit] Creation

According to legend, George Clinton, under the influence of LSD, told Eddie Hazel to play the first half of the song like his mother had just died and to play the second half as if he had found out she was alive (other variants of the story suggest that he was simply told to play as if he had found his mother dead.) The result was the 10-minute guitar solo for which Hazel is most fondly remembered by many music critics and fans. Though several other musicians began the track playing, Clinton soon realized the power of Hazel's solo and faded them out so that the focus would be on Hazel's guitar (the band can only truly be heard during the end of the song, and even then, it is barely audible.) The entire track was recorded in one take. The solo is played in a pentatonic minor scale in the key of E over another guitar track of a simple arpeggio. Hazel's solo was played through a fuzzbox and a wah pedal; some sections of the song utilize a delay effect. The original version with full band accompaniment was released in 1997 on the album "Funkadelic Finest".

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