How many artists can say they were in on the ground floor of an honest-to-Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame supergroup, all while inventing a completely original and uncanny sound and, in the ensuing years, building a legendary reputation as one of the most versatile hired guns in the music business? True funkateers know the history. Bernie Worrell was synonymous with the legacy of Parliament-Funkadelic; in fact, he was one of the originators of the psychedelic funk sound, having written and co-produced the lion’s share of the music going back to Funkadelic’s formative years, with an eclectic ear for everything from Chopin to the Chi-Lites.
The terms “living legend” or “funk icon” really don’t come close to doing him justice. “Funk iconoclast” is probably more apt, considering the breadth of Worrell’s contributions to seminal albums outside the P-Funk canon—including Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense and Public Image Ltd’s Album, to name two of the more monolithic examples. Keith Richards, Yoko Ono, Bootsy Collins, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Mos Def, Sly &; Robbie, Deee-Lite, Bill Laswell and many more recruited him in the studio and on tour—all for his versatility, vision and feverish creativity whenever he put his hands on a keyboard and the Hammond B3 was certainly one of his favorites.
Bernie passed away on Friday June 24th 2016, after a long bout with Cancer.