*Walter “Junie” Morrison, keyboardist and producer for funk band Ohio Players and producer/performer with George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic, has died, according to Billboard. He was believed to be 62.
Morrison also worked with R&B group Soul II Soul, and released solo music under the name BoyInSea in 2011.
His death was announced by Dam-Funk, who said Morrison’s daughter, Akasha, shared the news. Morrison appeared on Dam-Funk’s 2015 “Invite the Light” album, which kicked off with “Junie’s Transmission.”
The Roots’ Questlove shared his love for the private Morrison, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 for his work with P-Funk.
The Great Junie Morrison. So inspirational. All the #OhioPlayers westbound era funk that birthed #Voodoo & #BlackMessiah: #Junie. Those adlibs on Hov’s “#BrooklynsFinest & #Tribe’s #ScenarioRemix is Junie. All the Warner Era #Funkadelic songwriting wizzardry #OneNationUnderAGroove & #UncleJamWantsYou (he co-wrote #NotJustKneeDeep) even #Parliament’s #MotorBootyAffair & #Gloryhallastoopid. His ideas birthed and ushered in the G-Funk era (all that synthy #FunkyWorm synth yall associate w gangsta rap/Dre’s sound? That’s #JunieMorrison. Even his #SuzieThundertussy in its tales of “Lost Angeles” were the backdrop on Ye’s bright light for #TLOP’s #NoMorePartiesInLA. Solange even gave him props on #Junie (“jump on it” for those that call it the “Jump on it song Dre3000 sings on)—this man was an uncelebrated unsung unchampioned whose ideas we just took and took and took. I regret so much not having a “proper” conversation about his journey. His songwriting. His technology innovations. Man. This STINGS. Rip #Junie.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, Morrison began playing piano in church at 5 years old. As a teen, his skills on drums, guitar, keyboards and brass led to gigs as an orchestra conductor and choir director, according to his official bio.
After high school Junie began his stint with the Ohio Players, working as an arranger, producer and musical director for the band on such group hits as “Pain,” “Funky Worm” and “Ecstasy.”
Junie left the Ohio Players in 1974 and became a key player in Clinton’s P-Funk from 1978-1980, contributing to such landmark albums as “One Nation Under a Groove” and “Motor Booty Affair.”
Morrison was mentioned in a tweet by Solange the day before the release of her Grammy-winning album “A Seat at the Table,” revealing that he was the inspiration for the song “Junie,” which features the lyrics ‘You want to be the teacher/ Don’t want to go to school/ Don’t want to do the dishes/ Just want to eat the food.”
Watch her performance of “Junie” below:
Solange singing “Junie” on Instagram live pic.twitter.com/nsGThr6ziV
— ㅤSolange Updates (@Solange_Daily) February 4, 2017
In October, Morrison told Fader that he appreciated the love from Solange.
“When she informed me about her song, I was a bit taken aback by the surprise but very appreciative that she wanted to put time and energy into creating it,” he said. “She indicated that she had written a song around my vibe and inspiration, and also indicated that it was very long and called, “Junie.” Suffice it to say, I was like, WHAAAT???!!!”