Original Parliament-Funkadelic member Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins has died at age 81.
Haskins, along with the other core Parliament-Funkadelic members, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Bandmate George Clinton announced Haskins’ passing on social media and said, “We are saddened to announce the passing of an original Parliament-Funkadelic member Clarence Eugene “Fuzzy” Haskins (born June 8, 1941-March 17th, 2023).
Haskins was born in Elkhorn, West Virginia, and started singing in the 1950s and 1960s in New Jersey in the doo-wop vocal quintet The Parliaments.
The Parliaments, named after the American cigarette brand and led by George Clinton, didn’t achieve great success until their hit “I Wanna Testify” in 1967. The Parliaments teamed up with a group called Funkadelic in 1968, which eventually became known as Parliament-Funkadelic or P-Funk and made a big impact on the 1970s R&B and funk scenes.
Haskins contributed lyrically, vocally, and instrumentally to many P-Funk songs, including “I Got a Thing,” “I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You,” and “Can You Get That,” as well as the 1972 album America Eats Its Young, according to his bio on Clinton’s website.
P-Funk pushed boundaries… and set a futuristic pace for Black music,” said Rock & Roll Hall of Fame spokesperson Dawn Wayt. “But Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins kept things connected to their street corner harmony roots.”
Haskins split from Parliament-Funk in 1976 due to a rift with fellow members and released a solo album, A Whole Nother Thang, the same year.
Haskins released a second solo album, Radio Active, in 1978 and changed the tone of his songs, claiming, “he was through with singing all the old dirty songs and began studying the Lord’s Word,” reads his bio.
In 1980, Haskins joined Calvin Simon and Gene “Grady” Thomas, two other original members of P-Funk, for the album Connections and Disconnections, which was released under the band name Funkadelic.
Haskins spent time as a preacher before reuniting again with Simon and Thomas and another P-Funk alum Ray Davis to form Original P in the 1990s. The band toured and performed P-Funk hits as well as original songs.
“Funk is a force that tore the roof off the sucker that is modern music,” said the late Prince at Haskins’ induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame alongside Parliament-Funkadelic.
Following the announcement of Haskins’ passing, fellow musicians took to social media to express their condolences. “Rest in Funkentelechy, my brother,” wrote Questlove on Instagram.
P- Funk Member, Bootsy Collins, tweeted, “We will miss u, my friend, bandmate & Soul brother! Thx u for ur guidance in my pup years.”