P-Funk legend Bernie Worrell dies

Influential Moog keyboard player Bernie Worrell, co-founder of the musical movement around the bands Parliament and Funkadelic has died aged 72.

Keyboard player Bernie Worrell, co-founder of the musical movement that was the bands Parliament and Funkadelic has died aged 72. 

Worrell’s wacky synth sounds and bass-lines were the backbone of the sound that came to be known as P-Funk through the parallel output, and many spin-off groups, of Parliament-Funkadelic. Together with George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and an army of players he helped steer ‘The Mothership’ through the metaphorical Funk Galaxy, saving the un-funky from ‘Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk’ in a cartoon world laden with euphemisms and double entendres. P-Funk became the sound of R&B during the 1970s and concerts attracted huge audiences.

Worrell was the self proclaimed ‘Wizard of Woo’ whose sound and influence reached deep into not only funk, but rock and hip hop, particularly Dre Dre’s ‘West Coast’ hip hop and ‘G-Funk’.

Bernie Worrell will always be synonymous with the Moog synthesiser and was considered one of its great masters, finding and planting new sounds in R&B. He can be heard on funk hits like Funkadelic’s ‘One Nation Under a Groove', Parliament’s ‘Flashlight’ and ‘Give Up The Funk’ as well as work with Talking Heads, Keith Richards, the Pretenders, the Last Poets, Jack Bruce, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sly & Robbie, Ginger Baker, Pharoah Sanders, Dave Stewart and Fela Kuti and many more.

Worrell and Clinton fell out and the pair were embroiled in litigation. Worrell like Clinton continued to play and release album projects years after the end of P-Funk in the 1980s.

Earlier this year he announced he was suffering from incurable lung cancer. Earlier this year The New England Conservatory in the USA bestowed an honorary Doctor of Music degree on Worrell.

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