It is with sad news to report the passing of funk legend, Walter “Junie” Morrison. The Dayton, Ohio producer, writer, keyboardist, vocalist and member of the legendary funk band, The Ohio Players, has died at the age of 62.
Morris, the brainchild behind hits, “Pain,” “Pleasure,” “Ecstasy,” and the oft-sampled “Funky Worm,” was beloved by countless musicians in the industry, while bending genres to his creative whim. After leaving the band in 1974, he would release three solo albums (When We Do, Freeze and Suzie Supergroupie).
His impact as one of the structural fathers of funk is uncontested and undisputed. Morrison joined George Clinton‘s Parliament Funkadelic and played a key role in making the group bubble from 1978 through 1980. His contributions to One Nation Under a Groove (“Not Just Knee Deep”), Motor Booty Affair and Gloryhallastoopid made his legend grow even deeper.
Most millennial music fans may also recall his name as Solange paid tribute to the funk pioneer on her Grammy Award winning project, A Seat at the Table. The youngest of the Knowles clan had been raised on Morrison’s music by her parents, Mathew and Tina Knowles. Channeling his brand of musical liberation, Morrison shared his reaction, saying, “I believe that Solange has a great talent for representing and promoting freedom. Freedom to be outwardly and inwardly creative.”
A member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a master producer and imaginative musician — Morrison would go on to produce other artists throughout the ’90s and continue to contribute to P-Funk, as of most recently in 1996. His last solo album, When the City, was released on his own label Juniefunk in 2014.
The news has hit the music community hard, as they have expressed their condolences in these tweets, which you can read below.
1 of my heroes & ‘my’ King of #FUNK.
Founding member of Ohio Players
Co-creator of P-Funk’s “Knee Deep” pic.twitter.com/6Q1WSZ6ZyT
— Focused⚡️DāM-FunK (@DaMFunK) February 16, 2017
— FunkCat Brown (@FunkCatBrown) February 16, 2017
— Mick Collins (@BroknHeadphones) February 16, 2017
— Taaq Kirksey (@TaaqKirksey) February 16, 2017
Rest In Peace to one of my idols, Junie Morrison. Dude was/will always be amazing. Damn. pic.twitter.com/EoRhGbQPE9
— Jarvius (@JPlaysItCool) February 16, 2017
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) February 16, 2017