Ethel Caffie-Austin

Clarence “Fuzzy” Haskins
& Calvin Simon

Haskins, 1941-2023, Elkhorn, McDowell County
Simon, 1942-2022, Beckley, Raleigh County

The careers of these two West Virginians, Fuzzy Haskins and Calvin Simon — WV’s Funk Brothers — took them to the helm of what is perhaps this country’s most groundbreaking and influential funk band, Parliament-Funkadelic. After their families moved to New Jersey in the mid-’50s, they joined The Parliaments, a doo wop barbershop quintet led by George Clinton. Clinton, Simon and Grady Thomas were barbers; Haskins and Ray Davis were patrons.

The group relocated to Detroit in the mid-’60s where it charted its first hit, “(I Wanna) Testify” in 1967. Haskins, Simon and Thomas stayed with “the Mothership” for two decades as it morphed into the deep soul, outrageous funk and acid-rock of Parliament-Funkadelic, and appeared on seminal LPs like Chocolate City and Mothership Connection.

Haskins, Simon and Thomas left the band in 1978 and, in 1981, released Connections & Disconnections under the name Funkadelic. They rejoined “the Mothership” a little more than a decade later as part of the P-Funk Allstars.

In 1998, Haskins, Simon and Thomas, along with Davis, founded Original P. Haskins went on to release solo projects while Simon, after battling cancer, turned his focus to gospel music.

The two were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 along with the other 15 members of Parliament-Funkadelic. In 2019, they were given Grammy Lifetime Achievement Awards.