The news was confirmed over the weekend by Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic via social media. “We are saddened to announce the passing of an original Parliament Funkadelic member Clarence Eugene “Fuzzy” Haskins,” the brief caption read.
Haskins, who was born in West Virginia in 1941, was an early member of Clinton’s doo-wop group The Parliaments alongside Ray Davis, Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas. When the band morphed into the funk-rock ensemble Funkadelic in the late sixties, Haskins was an instrumental force in changing the band’s direction. He co-wrote some of the group’s earliest classics, such as ‘I Got a Thing’ and ‘I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You’.
Haskins’ vocals feature on many of Funkadelic’s early albums, including their 1970 self-titled debut, 1971’s Maggot Brain and 1972’s America Eats Its Young. Onstage, he was known for his charismatic energy, wearing skin-tight bodysuits and, per Clinton’s website, “gyrat[ing] against the microphone pole as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy.”
Haskins also featured prominently in Parliament, singing lead vocals for multiple songs on the Funkadelic offshoot’s 1970 debut Osmium, as well as appearing on 1974’s Up for the Down Stroke, 1975’s Chocolate City and Mothership Connection and 1976’s The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein.
In 1976, Haskins broke away from Parliament-Funkadelic. He released his debut solo album A Whole Nother Thang the same year, featuring contributions from P-Funk members Tiki Fulwood, Cordell “Boogie” Mosson and Bootsy Collins. His follow-up solo LP, Radio Active, arrived in 1978. Haskins briefly returned to P-Funk in 1977 for their P-Funk Live Earth Tour.
In 1981, Haskins and fellow P-Funk founding members Calvin Simon and Grady Thomas formed a new band together using the name Funkadelic (without the involvement of Clinton). They released the album Connections & Disconnections that year – resulting in a legal battle over the name with Clinton.
In the 1990s, Haskins began touring as part of Original P, comprising himself, Simon, Thomas and fellow P-Funk original member Ray Davis. In 1997, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside other key members of Parliament-Funkadelic.