So the last few days has seen 2016 continue on with it’s relentless crusade against some of the titans of popular music with the loss of Sir Mack Rice, best known for penning “Mustang Sally” & “Respect Yourself” – the highly respected songwriter passed away at the age of 82. As if that wasn’t enough, legendary Elvis Presley guitarist Scotty Moore was taken from us just yesterday at the age of 84.
Unfortunately the sad news didn’t end there with the tragic loss of another hugely influential musician in the shape of Parliament/Funkadelic & Talking Heads keyboardist Bernie Worrell also leaving this Earth at the age of 72 after a short battle against lung cancer. Today we pay tribute to all 3 here on Gazfunk with a particular nod to Bernie Worrell.
Bernie was born in New Jersey in 1944 and his musical legacy began almost before he was out of the womb with his first piano lessons coming at the age of 3!! By the time he was 8 he had written his own concerto – a clear sign of the child prodigy he had become. A meeting with George Clinton in the late 60s encouraged him to join a new musical ensemble that Clinton was putting together – Parliament-Funkadelic who were to record separately under both names.
1970 was a particularly busy year for both Worrell and Parliament-Funkadelic with the release of 3 albums – 2 of those (the self-titled “Funkadelic” and “Free Your Mind…. And Your Ass Will Follow“) coming under the Funkadelic name with the other (“Osmium“) coming under the Parliament name.
The following yer saw the release of the seminal “Maggot Brain” which was to receive huge praise from critics and go on to be regarded as one of the greatest albums ever made as well as a defining moment in funk music. It’s from this album that we bring you today’s selection – “Hit It And Quit It“.
This was to be one of 3 singles taken from the album but strangely was the only one not to chart. Nonetheless, there’s arguably no greater illustration of Bernie’s talent than on this single where his organ playing is very much to the fore and he also provides lead vocals on the track. As well as playing on every release by Parliament-Funkadelic for the next 10 years or so he also took time to join influential American rock/new wave group, Talking Heads.
I hope you enjoy the track and it serves and something of a legacy to an absolute great. R.I.P. Bernie, Mack & Scotty.