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R.I.P. Calvin Simon, Parliament-Funkadelic Vocalist Dead at 79

He sang on some of Parliament's best known hits like "Give Up the Funk"

Calvin Simon, photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage
Calvin Simon, photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage
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    Calvin Simon, the former vocalist of George Clinton’s pioneering funk collective ParliamentFunkadelic, has died. He was 79.

    “Rest in peace to my P-Funk brother Mr. Calvin Simon,” Clinton wrote in a post to Facebook. “Fly on Calvin!”

    “We lost another original member of Parliament/Funkadelic,” bassist Bootsy Collins wrote on Twitter, describing Simon as “a friend, bandmate & a cool classic guy.”

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    Calvin Eugene Simon was born on May 22nd, 1942, in Beckley, West Virginia, where he grew up singing in his local church choir. After relocating to New Jersey, Simon hit it off with Clinton, eventually joining a doo-wop group called The Parliaments in the late 1950s. He sang on many of the band’s early hits like “I Can Feel the Ice Melting,” “Heart Trouble,” and “I Wanna Testify.”

    Simon was drafted for the Vietnam War in the mid-’60s, and rejoined The Parliaments in 1968 after two years of service. He continued singing with The Parliaments for about a decade, which had by then evolved into Parliament-Funkadelic.

    Most notably, Simon provided vocals on Parliament’s 1975 album Mothership Connection, which included some of the band’s most famous funk standards including “Give Up the Funk,” “Unfunky UFO,” and “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up).” Simon did occasionally reunite with his former P-Funk bandmates after his departure, and they were all inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.

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    Simon eventually returned to making gospel music on his own record label, Simon Says. In 2004, he released a solo album called Share the News, which performed well on the Billboard Gospel charts. His final album was 2016’s It’s Not Too Late.

     

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