Eddie Hazel

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Edward Earl "Eddie" Hazel (April 10, 1950 – December 23, 1992) was a guitarist in early funk music in the United States who played lead guitar with Parliament-Funkadelic. Hazel was a posthumous inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of Parliament-Funkadelic.



Early life

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1950, Hazel grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey because his mother, Grace Cook, wanted her son to grow up in an environment without the pressures of drugs and crime that she felt pervaded New York City. Hazel occupied himself from a young age by playing a guitar, given to him as a Christmas present by his older brother. Hazel also sang in church. At age 12, Hazel met Billy "Bass" Nelson, and the pair quickly became close friends and began performing, soon adding drummer Harvey McGee to the mix.


In 1967, The Parliaments, a Plainfield-based doo wop band headed by George Clinton, had a hit record with "(I Wanna) Testify." Clinton recruited a backing band for a tour, hiring Nelson as bassist, who in turn recommended Hazel as guitarist. Hazel was in Newark, New Jersey working with George Blackwell and couldn't be reached. After Nelson returned from the tour, he tried to recruit Hazel. His mother at first vetoed the idea since Hazel was only seventeen, but Clinton and Nelson worked together to change her mind.

In late 1967, The Parliaments went on tour with both Nelson and Hazel. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hazel met and befriended Tiki Fulwood, who quickly replaced The Parliaments' drummer. Nelson, Hazel and Fulwood became the backbone of Funkadelic, which was originally the backup band for The Parliaments, only to later become an independent touring group when legal difficulties forced the group to (temporarily) abandon the name "Parliaments"

The switch to Funkadelic was complete with the addition of Tawl Ross and Bernie Worrell (rhythm guitar and keyboards, respectively). Funkadelic (1970), Free Your Mind... And Your Ass Will Follow (1970) and Maggot Brain (1971) were the first three albums, released within two years. All three albums prominently featured Hazel's guitar work.

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