Calvin Simon, a founding member of the pioneering funk group Parliament-Funkadelic, passed away on Thursday (Jan. 6). He was 79 years old.
A post from Simon’s official Facebook page confirmed the news on Saturday (Jan. 8), though the cause of his death has not been revealed.
Simon’s former Parliament-Funkadelic bandmates also shared the sad news, including George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.
“We lost another original member of Parliament/Funkadelic,” Collins said on Instagram. “A friend, bandmate & a cool classic guy, Mr. Calvin Simon was a former member of Parliament/Funkadelic. He’s in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen members of P-Funk!”
Born in Beckley, West Virginia in 1942; Simon began singing in a church choir for a weekly radio broadcast. When he was 13 years old, his family moved to New Jersey where he found work as a barber. There, he befriended Clinton, Grady Thomas, Ray Davis and Fuzzy Haskins and together they formed the Parliaments as a doo-wop quintet.
Simon appeared on several of the pioneering group’s albums, such as Mothership Connection and Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome, as well as Funkadelic’s Maggot Brain and Cosmic Slop.
Simon, Haskins and Thomas left the band over financial and management disputes in 1978 and went on to form Funkadelic, which released the album Connections & Disconnections. Years later; Simon, Haskins, Thomas and Davis formed Original P, releasing 1998’s What Dat Shakin’ and 2001’s Original P Introducing the Westbound Souljaz.
In 1997, Simon and several of his former Parliament-Funkadelic bandmates were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He also enjoyed a solo career in gospel music and dropped his debut album Share the News in 2004.
See Collins’ and Clinton’s posts below. Rest In Peace.
View this post on Instagram