Song of the Week – Maggot Brain, Funkadelic

Ignored            Obscured             Restored

Today’s SotW is different.  It is the title cut from Funkadelic’s album, Maggot Brain, first released 50 years ago this week!

What’s so different about it?  Well, it is essentially an extended, psychedelic guitar solo by the late, great Eddie Hazel.

The album was recorded while Funkadelic leader George Clinton was on acid, and it shows, especially on the title track.  As MOJO tells the story:

Rumour has it that Clinton had discovered his brother’s decomposed body lying in a Chicago apartment with a cracked skull – hence the Maggot Brain – and he locked guitarist Eddie Hazel alone in the studio with the brief to play “like your mother just died”.  Hazel did just that producing an anguished, fragile, nine-minute guitar solo that rivalled (sic) Hendrix…”

Though Clinton later disavowed the “maggot brain” part of the story, he did coax an amazing guitar performance from Hazel.  He told MOJO:

“When he started playing, I knew immediately that he understood what I meant.  I could see the guitar notes stretching out like a silver web.  When we played the solo back, I knew that it was beyond good, not only a virtuosos display of musicianship but also an unprecedented moment of emotion in pop music.”

“Maggot Brain” came in at #60 on Rolling Stone’s 2008 list of 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time.

Hazel died at the too-young age of 42 in 1992.  “Maggot Brain” was played at his funeral.

Enjoy… until next week.

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