Calvin Simon, a founding member of legendary funk band Parliament-Funkadelic, has passed away at age 79. A cause of death has not yet been revealed. The news was confirmed by Simon’s former Parliament groupmate and longtime friend George Clinton, who paid his respect to Simon in a post on his Facebook page.
“Rest in peace to my P-Funk brother Mr. Calvin Simon,” expressed Clinton. “Longtime Parliament-Funkadelic vocalist. Fly on Calvin!” Iconic bassist and Parliament-Funkadelic member Bootsy Collins also acknowledged the life and impact of Simon, with whom he and the other Parliament-Funkadelic members were inducted into the Rock Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
“We lost another Original member of Parliament/Funkadelic,” Bootsy Collins wrote on Instagram. “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! R.I.P Bootsy baby!!!”
We lost another Original member of Parliament/Funkadelic. 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!
R.I.P…?? Bootsy baby!!!? pic.twitter.com/EulO2Esx7l
— Bootsy Collins (@Bootsy_Collins) January 7, 2022
Born in West Virginia in 1942, Simon would move to New Jersey as a teen, where he joined the doo-wop quintet the Parliaments, which included George Clinton, Grady Thomas, Ray Davis, and Fuzzy Haskins. While Simon’s musical ambitions were put on hold after being drafted to serve in the Vietnam War, he eventually returned stateside, rejoining Clinton and company under the Parliament-Funkadelic banner. However, Simon would ultimately leave the group due to a financial dispute, forming the group Funkadelic with original Parliament members Grady Thomas and Fuzzy Haskins. Releasing the album Connections & Disconnections in 1980, both Parliament and Funkadelic would disband in 1981.
Simon would later launch his own record label, Simon Sayz, releasing a succession of gospel albums, including Share the News in 2004, 2016’s It’s Not Too Late, and 2018’s I Believe.