Everything about The Parliament's “The Mothership Connection (Star Child)” serves as the muse for our return, and today just so happens to be the end of the song’s anniversary month, which was released back in August 1975. Aside from the song’s amazing musical composition and the historical role the P-Funk sample still plays in hip-hop today, it was one legendary performance on the band’s P-Funk Earth Tour that really pushed us to “get over the hump” and back in the groove. Whether it’s the Mothership landing that introduces George Clinton’s alter ego Star Child, frontman Glen Goins’ angelic vocal performance or the overall free-spiritedness of afrofuturistic mythology — this classic tour and performance goes down in the books.

Get into what makes this song, tour and Houston stop special below:

The P-Funk Earth Tour was a series of concerts performed by Parliament-Funkadelic in the mid-1970s, featuring absurd costumes, lavish staging and special effects, with music from both the Parliament and Funkadelic repertoires.
Though super successful, the P-Funk Earth Tour was ambitious from the start.
Casablanca Records executive Neil Bogart gave George Clinton a $275,000 budget for production, the largest amount ever allocated for a black music act to tour at the time. Clinton hired Jules Fischer as set designer, who had previously worked on tours for The Rolling Stones, KISS, and other rock bands.

Now, when it comes to that Houston stop on the P-Funk Earth Tour let
Gravity Limited tell it:

“It was Halloween night and Parliament-Funkadelic was about to tear the roof off the Houston Summit, ready to bless the crowd with their cosmic brew of interplanetary funk. The group was only five dates into the tour when they arrived in Houston. Taped on October 31, 1976, these seldom-seen performances at the Houston Summit represent Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic in their ʼ70s prime, in the era of their ‘Mothership Connection’ and ‘The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein’ LPs — a rare opportunity for everyone to get their proper dose of The P-Funk.”

“Mothership Connection (Star Child)" is a song by Parliament. It was the third and last single released from the group's 1975 album, ‘Mothership Connection’. The song introduces George Clinton's messianic alien alter ego Star Child for the first time. The lyrics "Swing down, sweet chariot, stop and let me ride" quote the traditional spiritual "Swing Down, Chariot" first popularized in the 1940s by The Golden Gate Quartet and later recorded by Elvis Presley among others. The track "Let Me Ride" on the Dr. Dre album ‘The Chronic’ is heavily based on samples from Parliament’s flip of the song.


P-Funk refers to the repertoire, musical style, and/or group of performers associated with George Clinton. The term is variously known as an abbreviation of Parliament-Funkadelic, Psychedelic Funk, Pure Funk, and/or Plainfield Funk.
P-Funk groups had their heyday in the 1970s and continue to attract new fans thanks both to the legacy of samples they bequeathed to hip-hop and the live shows that the bands continue to perform. Their music was very aspirational, which is symbolized by their Mothership that has since been acquired by the Smithsonian.

Notable P-Funk albums include Funkadelic's ‘Maggot Brain’ and Parliament's ‘Mothership Connection’. The differing styles of these albums showcase the wide range of P-Funk's music.
"Maggot Brain was an explosive record" of Jimi Hendrix inspired rock while Mothership Connection was an "album of science-fiction funk. 

While this rock/funk differentiation is what normally separated Funkadelic from Parliament, the bands consisted of many of the same members and performed live on tour together. Hence, the two groups are often described under the one moniker Parliament-Funkadelic.

P-Funk recordings have been extensively sampled in rap and hip-hop music, especially by aforementioned Dr. Dre and other West Coast acts, beginning in the late 1980s and being particularly associated with the G-funk style of rap.


While most are familiar with the infectious G-Funk hook in Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” many don’t know the chant’s original origin. Born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey in a family of talented musicians, master vocalist Glen Goins and his strong, haunting and powerful gospel voice is best known for “calling in the Mothership” in the P-Funk live shows, such as on the renowned P-Funk Earth Tour. Goins was a singer and guitarist for Parliament-Funkadelic in the mid-1970s.
Goins was particularly prominent on the Parliament albums ‘Mothership Connection’ (1975), ‘The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein’ (1976), and ‘Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome’ (1977), and played on Funkadelic albums as well.

Glen Goins died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, aged 24, in 1978.  Goins is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, posthumously inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic. 

 Check out this amazing tribute article to learn more about his legacy.