Parliament-Funkadelic’s Calvin Simon Dead At 79
Calvin Simon, a singer and founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic, died on Thursday. “We lost another Original member of Parliament/Funkadelic,” former P-Funk bassist Bootsy Collins wrote on Twitter. “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!” P-Funk leader George Clinton added, “Rest in peace to my P-Funk brother Mr. Calvin Simon. Longtime Parliament-Funkadelic vocalist. Fly on Calvin!” He was 79.
Born in Beckley, West Virginia in 1942, Simon sang in his church’s choir as a kid. After moving to New Jersey, he joined the Parliaments, a doo-wop barbershop quintet led by George Clinton, in the late 1950s. He was drafted into the Vietnam War and served from 1967-1968, rejoining the group upon his return and remaining as it went through various permutations including Funkadelic and Parliament, expanding from doo-wop to psychedelic rock, R&B, and funk and developing a complex mythology.
Simon, along with other original Parliaments members Fuzzy Haskins and Grady Thomas, left the Parliament-Funkadelic collective in 1977 over financial and management disputes with Clinton. They formed their own band, also named Funkadelic, and released the album Connections And Disconnections, later forming another group called Original P. Simon was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as part of P-Funk in 1997, and in the early 2000s he founded his own label, Simon Says Records, and turned to gospel music.