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Bernie Worrell
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    (April 19, 1944-June 24, 2016)
    Born in Long Branch, New Jersey
    Birth name was George Bernard Worrell, Jr.
    Keyboardist for Parliament/Funkadelic (1970-81)
    Unofficial member of Talking Heads (1981-93)
    Recorded the solo albums ‘All the Woo in the World’ (1978), ‘Funk of Ages’ (1990), ‘Pieces of Woo’ (1993), ‘Free Agent’ (1997), ‘Christmas Woo’ (2009) and ‘Standards’ (2011)
    Appeared in the film ‘Ricki and the Flash’ as a member of Meryl Streep’s band (2015)
    He was a child prodigy.
    He was nicknamed ‘the Wizard of Woo.’
    His description of playing the Moog synthesizer: ‘I turn the knobs until it does what I want.’
    When keyboardist Jerry Harrison asked him to tour with Talking Heads, his reaction was ‘The Talking who? I’d heard of New Wave, but I had to look it up.’
    He was member of the CBS Orchestra on The Late Show with David Letterman, but lasted only a few months before the network had him replaced by a horn section.
    He studied classical music at Juilliard.
    He served as P-Funk’s musical director, noting ‘A lot of the songs would be jams, and I’d structure them into verses or choruses or whatever.’
    In addition to his work with P-Funk and Talking Heads, he played on Freda Payne’s ‘Band of Gold’ and Johnnie Taylor’s ‘Disco Lady.’
    He was invited to join Talking Heads when they reunited to perform at their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony (2002).
    He said about the frequent sampling of his keyboard lines in hip-hop songs, ‘I feel honored, it’s a compliment. But I’ll feel even better when I get paid for it.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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