Parliament was originally The Parliaments, a doo-wop vocal group based at a Plainfield, New Jersey barbershop. The group was formed in the late 1950s and included George Clinton, Ray Davis, Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas. Clinton was the group leader and manager. The group finally had a hit single in 1967 with "(I Wanna) Testify" on Revilot Records. To capitalize, Clinton formed a backing band for a tour, featuring teenage barbershop employee Billy Bass Nelson on bass and his friend Eddie Hazel on guitar, with the lineup eventually rounded out by Tawl Ross on guitar, Tiki Fulwood on drums, and Mickey Atkins on organ.
During a contractual dispute with Revilot, Clinton temporarily lost the rights to the name "The Parliaments", and signed the ensemble to Westbound Records as Funkadelic, which Clinton positioned as a funk-rock band featuring the five touring musicians with the five Parliaments singers as uncredited guests. With Funkadelic as a recording and touring entity in its own right, in 1970 Clinton relaunched the singing group, now known as Parliament, at first featuring the same ten members. Clinton was now the leader of two different acts, Parliament and Funkadelic, which featured the same members but were marketed as creating two different types of funk.
The rapidly expanding ensemble of musicians and singers in the Parliament-Funkadelic enterprise, as well as Clinton's problematic management practices, began to take their toll by the late 1970s. Original Parliaments members Fuzzy Haskins, Calvin Simon, and Grady Thomas, who had been with Clinton since the barbershop days in the late 1950s, felt marginalized by the continuous influx of new members and departed acrimoniously in 1977. Other important group members like singer/guitarist Glenn Goins and drummer Jerome Brailey left Parliament-Funkadelic in the late 1970s after disputes over Clinton's management.
In the early 1980s, with legal difficulties arising from the multiple names used by multiple groups, as well as a shakeup at Casablanca Records, George Clinton dissolved Parliament and Funkadelic as recording and touring entities. However, many of the musicians in later versions of the two groups remained employed by Clinton. Clinton continued to release new albums regularly, sometimes under his own name and sometimes under the name George Clinton & the P-Funk All-Stars. The P-Funk All-Stars continued to record and tour into the 1990s and 2000s, and regularly perform classic Parliament songs.
"Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker)" is a funk song by Parliament. It was released as a single under the name "Tear the Roof off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk)". It was the second single to be released from Parliament's 1975 album Mothership Connection (following "P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)"), and was the highest-charting single from the album, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles chart and number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart. With its anthemic sing-along chorus, it is one of the most famous P-Funk songs. It also became Parliament's first certified million-selling single, going Gold in 1976.
The bass vocal at the beginning of the song is performed by Ray Davis.