Bernie Worrell R.I.P


Dr. George Bernard “Bernie” Worrell, Jr.

(April 19, 1944 – June 24, 2016)

Bernie Worrell, composer and keyboardist, lost his fight with lung cancer on Friday. He was 72. Worrell was one of the original funk masters performing with the “Parliament/Funkadelic” and the “Talking Heads”. (for which I will always remember his frenzied playing style)

Worrell was classically trained. Taking up the piano at age 3, he later studied at the Juilliard School and the New England Conservatory of Music.



Among the many P-Funk jams he co-wrote, played on, or co-produced were “Flash Light,” “Atomic Dog,” “Aqua Boogie,” and “Red Hot Mama”.


David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Bernie Worrell

David Byne of “The Talking Heads” remarked at a benefit concert for Worrell earlier this year – “He gives you the theology of funk. Bernie can take the music to a very cosmic place.”


Worrell released several solo albums, including “All the Woo in the World” and “Funk of Ages”. Presented by Prince, Bernie Worrell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with other members of Parliament-Funkadelic in 1997.

In 2015, Worrell appeared in the movie Ricki and the Flash as the keyboard player in Meryl Streep’s band. The movie reunited Worrell with director Jonathan Demme, who had directed “Stop Making Sense”. (If you haven’t, I highly recommend checking out Stop Making Sense!)


Talking Heads – “Stop Making Sense”

During May 2016, the New England Conservatory of Music gave Worrell, who studied at the school until 1967, an honorary Doctor of Music degree.

The following video is – “Stranger: Bernie Worrell on Earth”. It is a documentary film about Worrell’s life, music and impact.

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Take Me to the River and Stop Making Sense?


 Stop Making Sense 1984

I love, love, love David Byrne and The Talking Heads and can’t believe it’s been 30 years since the release of the concert film “Stop Making Sense.”

Truly revolutionary and the definitive concert movie.  Widely recognized as one of the greatest live concert films of all time.  Directed by Johnathan Demme, it was shot over the course of 3 nights at Hollywood’s Pantages Theater.  Demme captures the artistic vision of David Byrne and draws in the viewing audience as we watch the performance evolve from Byrne alone on stage with just a boombox singing “Psycho Killer” to the addition of each band member concluding with a get up off your seat party in your theater or living room finale – “Take Me to the River.”

Enjoy a few of my favorite numbers!

Check out the iconic “Big Suit.”

The grand finale!

To mark the occasion, the film is being made available digitally for the first time ever by Palm Pictures, along with a limited theatrical engagement this summer and fall.