Worrell’s music tapped into the heart and lifted the spirit. There was a universal melody, whimsy, soul and passion in his work, and to see him in concert was to experience it all.
There wasn’t anything like the music of Parliement Funkdelic and there hasn’t been anything like it since. A multi-color melange that included rock, soul, gospel, classical, psychedelic and folk that will forever be known as the zenith of funk music. It was at once farcical and fanciful, but it was also a pointed commentary of the turbulent nature of the times. You could take it either way, and that was part of its genius.
Worrell’s Mini Moog synthesizer made the band unique, to say the least.
“We were just funking around for fun, we were glad to be on the road playing and when we weren’t on the road, we were in the studio making all those albums that are out there now,” Worrell said previously to the Asbury Park Press. “We were just creating, and thank God for that. At least for myself, we weren’t thinking about making hits, we didn’t go into the studio to make a hit. Who knows what’s going to be a hit in the first place? So it’s just happened we were blessed.”
“Bernie was from Plainfield, like the rest of us, and in his youth we heard about him constantly, from almost everyone: how he was a local Mozart who wrote his first symphony before he was in junior high school, how he could do anything from Ray Charles to classical music,” wrote Clinton in his autobiography, “Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You?: A Memoir.” “With Bernie we could paint more colors, mix together soul and rock and even a little bit of gospel.”
“We’re providing a way for (area musicians) to play original stuff,” said Bernie Worrell to the Asbury Park Press. “It’s an extension of themselves. Play it and let the people hear them.”
A benefit for the ailing Worrell April in New York City drew a wide array of stars, from actress Meryl Streep to Clinton and Bootsy Collins.
“Bernie made stardust and he sprinkled us all with it,” said actress Meryl Streep on Monday. Streep appeared with Worrell in the movie “Ricki and the Flash.”
Film director Jonathan Demme brought out a clips of the Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense.” He jokingly said that Byrne and Harrison wanted less Worrell in the film because he was too cool.
“It’s about us,” said Worrell, as he motioned toward the audience. “I’m just a channel who was given a gift, just like all of us.”