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P-Funkers of the Past

Getty Images / WireImage / Jay West

Greats from the legendary Parliament-Funkadelic family who are no longer with us.

We remember great musicians from the legendary Parliament-Funkadelic family who are no longer with us.

As the keyboardist with P-Funk, Bernie Worrell (1944 - 2016) helped influence musical genres from funk to disco to new wave to jazz. With bandmates including founder George Clinton and bassist Bootsy Collins, P-Funk became a musical collective with an ever-changing lineup, encompassing multiple side projects and solo recordings from its many members. 

Catfish Collins (1943 - 2010) and his younger brother Bootsy started their first band, The Pacemakers, in 1968. James Brown soon hired them to head up his backing band, and the Collins brothers were instrumental in some of Brown's biggest hits, including “Super Bad” and “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine.” After leaving Brown in 1971, the brothers joined the Parliament-Funkadelic collective and would be largely responsible for the P-Funk sound, playing on most of their records up until 1980.

Garry Shider (1953 - 2010) was variously known as “Star Child” and “Diaperman” during his long stint with Parliament-Funkadelic. The longtime musical director of the P-Funk All-Stars, Shider was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, along with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.

Bass vocalist Raymond Davis (1940 - 2005) was the only original member besides George Clinton not to leave when the band split in 1977. Also known as Sting Ray, Davis joined The Temptations in the mid-1990s, but left after being diagnosed with throat cancer.

Eddie Hazel (1950 - 1992) was perhaps the group’s most electrifying guitarist. An original member, his greatest moment came with “Maggot Brain,” a song whose 10-minute guitar solo allowed him to show off his soulful fretwork. Rolling Stone chose it as one of the 100 best guitar songs of all time and Hazel as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. When Hazel died in 1992, "Maggot Brain" was played at his funeral.

Vocalist and guitarist Glen Goins (1954 - 1978) joined the band in 1974, contributing to the well-received Mothership Connection album that yielded the group's second Top 10 single, the classic "Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker).” Goins, who left the group because of a dispute with founder George Clinton, died at 24 of Hodgkins disease in 1978. He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.