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Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins, Former Parliament-Funkadelic Singer, Dies at 81

George Clinton and Bootsy Collins confirmed the news, sharing tributes to the singer
CIRCA 1977: (L-R) Singers Calvin Simon, Fuzzy Haskins and Grady Thomas of the funk band Parliament-Funkadelic pose for a portrait in circa 1977. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins, an original member of Parliament-Funkadelic and a singer known for his wild stage antics, has died at the age of 81. No cause of death has yet been shared.

Haskins’ former bandmates George Clinton and Bootsy Collins confirmed the news yesterday (March 17), sharing personal tributes to the performer. Clinton wrote on Instagram, “We are saddened to announce the passing of an original Parliament Funkadelic member Clarence Eugene ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins (born June 8, 1941-March 17th, 2023).” In a followup Facebook post, Clinton wrote, “Fly on” while sharing a link to a mini-documentary on Haskins titled Give Up the Fuzz.

Collins posted, “Prayers going out to Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins’ family and friends. We lost his frequency today … We will miss u my friend, bandmate & Soul brother! Thx u for ur guidance in my pup years.”

Haskins was born in 1941 in West Virginia and began his music career in his late teens. He was a member of the Gel-Airs before joining George Clinton in doo-wop group the Parliaments in 1960, often singing lead vocals. He became an important part of the group when it morphed into Parliament as well as with the more rock- and funk-fueled project Funakdelic which was introduced in 1968.

Haskins has credits for several big Funkadelic tracks, like “I Get a Thing” and “I Wanna Know if It’s Good to You.” Per a writeup on Clinton’s website, “He was a good drummer as well, as he proved on ‘Can You Get To That,’ which he also co-wrote.” Of course there were also the outlandish costumes and stage antics: “[Haskins] was known during live P-Funk shows to don skintight bodysuits and gyrate against the microphone pole as he whipped the crowd into a frenzy.”

In the late ’70s, Haskins started a solo career, releasing his own albums A Whole Nother Thang in 1976 and Radio Active in 1978. A few years later, Haskins was part of an ’80s-era Funkadelic revamp with some of his former bandmates, but not Clinton. However, the singer would soon find a new path as a preacher and would often record gospel music.

He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 as part of Parliament-Funkadelic and also received Grammy Lifetime Achievement recognition in 2019.