Free Your Mind And Your Ass Will Follow

Album: Album: Free Your Mind... And Your Ass Will Follow (1970)

Songfacts®:

  • This 10-minute piece of psychedelic funk revolves around a refrain bandleader George Clinton came up with:

    Free your mind and your ass will follow
    The kingdom of heaven is within


    It's about looking inside yourself for enlightenment.
  • In a Songfacts interview with George Clinton, he said he was tripping on acid when he came up with the title phrase. "I didn't even know that I had said it to one of the guys that was working with us. He said, 'You said something really deep, and the people liked it.'

    I don't know if it was the music or the act, but I would say things like that, and this guy, Ernie Harris, would write them down, and I'd put them in the next song."
  • The writing credits on this track go to Clinton, Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel, and Ray Davis, who shares vocals on the song with Clinton.
  • A few years earlier, Clinton was making traditional R&B music with his group The Parliaments. When he formed Funkadelic (with some of his Parliaments bandmates), he took them in a different direction, which was fully realized in this song. Clinton worked for Motown for a time, which adhered to strictures that kept hits flowing by following certain conventions. Any conventions were defenestrated on "Free Your Mind," which set the tone for future Funkadelic output.
  • In 1992, En Vogue had a hit with "Free Your Mind," which used the hook, "Free your mind and the rest will follow." Their song, written after the 1992 Los Angeles riots when white officers beat up the black motorist Rodney King, deals with racism.

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