Walter “Junie” Morrison, who left his musical mark on both the Ohio Players and Parliament-Funkadelic, has died at the age of 62.
His daughter, Akasha Morrison, wrote:
On January 11, 2017 Junie Morrison reposted into the world of social media:
it would be SELAH. so be it.
And ten days later, SELAH.
Dear friends and colleagues, we lost another great one. I’m sure you can agree that Junie will be greatly missed. I wasn’t around my father much but somehow I am like him in so many ways. In that regard, thank you for your support and respect of our privacy during this time.
Akasha Morrison, etc.
Born in Dayton, OH, he joined the Dayton-based Ohio Players when a new iteration of the band was put together in 1970. The next year, they had a bit of success with the single Pain (Part 1) (1971 / #64 Pop / #35 R&B) but it was 1973’s Funky Worm that broke the band big. Hitting number 1 on the R&B charts and 15 on the Hot 100, it went on to be a popular source for sampling by Hip-Hop artists.
Now known as one of the bigger influences in the development of funk, Morrison stayed with the Ohio Players for three albums, Pain (1972), Pleasure (1972) and Ecstasy (1973) before leaving the band to record solo under the name “Junie”. His three albums on Westbound Records, When We Do (1975), Freeze (1975) and Suzie Supergroupie (1976), did not dent the charts.
In 1977, Morrison joined Funkadelic with George Clinton who he had known since his Ohio Player days. He was instrumental in the making of the album One Nation Under a Groove (1978) including co-writing the title track which spent five weeks at number 1 on the R&B chart. He also played on their 1979 album Uncle Jam Wants You and crossed over to sister band Parliament for their album Motor Booty Affair (1978) under the pseudonym J.S. Theracon.
Morrison stopped touring with P-Funk in 1981 but continued to contribute to albums. He co-wrote numerous songs over the years for the band including Cholly (Funk Getting Ready to Roll), The Electric Spanking of War Babies, One of Those Summers and others.
During the 80’s, Morrison recorded three more solo albums and had a number 13 Dance record with Tease Me in 1984. Among the later hits on which he received a writing credit were The Sounds of Blackness’ I Believe (1994 / #1 Dance / #15 R&B), Soul II Soul’s I Care (1995 / #17 U.K.) and God’s Property’s Stomp (1997 / #1 R&B / #52 Pop).
Morrison’s final album was 2004’s When the City.
In 1997, he was one of the fifteen members of Parliament-Funkadelic to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also was the inspiration for the song Junie on Solange’s 2016 album A Seat at the Table.