Calvin Simon, one of the founders of the highly influential American funk group Parliament Funkadelic, has passed away at the age of 79.
Born May 22nd, 1942 in West Virginia, Simon moved to New Jersey in his teens. While working at a barbershop, he formed a doo-wop group called The Parliaments with coworkers George Clinton and Grady Thomas, along with customers Ray Davis and Fuzzy Haskins.
The group eventually shortened its name to Parliament and added more members. Throughout their career, they explored multiple genres including acid rock, R&B and funk. Simons’s vocals can be heard on the albums Mothership Connection and Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome, as well as on LPs Maggot Brain and Cosmic Slop. In 1997, Simon, along with 15 other members, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by the late Prince.
Simon recorded gospel albums in the 2000s, which culminated in his debut solo album Share the News. After the record’s release, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He managed to survive the diagnosis after throat surgery. He released two other solo albums: It’s Not Too Late in 2016 and I Believe in 2018.
Bandmate Bootsy Collins took to Instagram to announce the news, saying, “We lost another original member of Parliament Funkadelic today. A friend, bandmate and a cool classic guy.”