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.