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Calvin Simon (1942–2022), founding member of Parliament-Funkadelic

by Linnea Crowther

Calvin Simon was a founding member of the influential funk band Parliament-Funkadelic.

Musical career

Simon was a member of Parliament-Funkadelic from its earliest days as a 1950s doo-wop barbershop quintet called the Parliaments. After a hiatus while he served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, he remained with the band as it morphed into one of the most distinctive funk bands of the 1960s and ‘70s, with hits including “Flash Light” and “Give Up the Funk.” Along with other members, Simon left P-Funk in 1978, though he later performed with the P-Funk offshoots Funkadelic and Original P. He also founded Simon Says Records, performing and releasing gospel music in later years. With Parliament-Funkadelic, Simon was a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Simon on P-Funk’s early days  

“In New Jersey, just about every corner you went on, there was a singing group or somebody trying to sing! You get under that streetlight at night and you just start singing. We were singing Pookie Hudson and the Spaniels, Shep and the Limelights. I had a falsetto and a natural voice.” —from a 2018 interview for Journal of Gospel Music


Tributes to Calvin Simon

Full obituary: Entertainment Weekly

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