For many, Bootsy Collins is the most renowned bassist of Parliament-Funkadelic's long and winding career. But Billy "Bass" Nelson was the original, supplying some of the troupe's most memorable and classic grooves on their early recordings. Born in Plainfield, NJ in 1951, Nelson befriended future P-Funk leader George Clinton at an early age, as he worked at a barbershop that Clinton ran at the time -- sweeping the floor and entertaining customers by singing and dancing. Nelson relocated back to Plainfield after a brief spell in Brooklyn, NY during the mid-'60s, which saw Nelson serve some time in jail for joy riding. Upon his release, Nelson got back in contact with the Clinton crew, who by this time had turned their attention from hairstyling to music. By late 1966, Nelson was invited to join the burgeoning group (which, due to contractual red tape, would alternate between the names Parliament and Funkadelic over the years), but initially as a guitarist. Although the group was flying high with their first hit single, "(I Wanna) Testify," Nelson was never fully comfortable playing the six-string, and inquired about switching to the bass. He got his wish, as childhood friend Eddie Hazel took the vacated guitar position, which led to the group honing their eventually patented psychedelic-funk sound.