Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rock 'n' Roll Trailblazer Chuck Berry Dead at 90

Rock 'n' roll pioneer Chuck Berry died on Saturday, March 18, in his home outside St. Louis. He was 90.  Berry was one of rock music’s most important architects; his influence is incalculable—resonating in nearly every aspect of popular music. The rock legend's iconic guitar-playing style and peerless storytelling gifts in song are forever etched in the collective minds of music lovers the world over and will no doubt continue to be appreciated centuries from now.

Berry’s seminal tracks from the mid-1950s to the early ‘60s were vital in helping shape rock 'n' roll music. His sound was an exhilarating mixture of blues, R&B and country and western.

Also, Berry was a natural-born showman. He lit up the stage with his innate charm and humor, which were equally matched by his boundless energy and rare talent.

Berry truly embodied the spirit of rock music, and his tremendous impact cannot be underestimated. Every rock band and artist, from superstars to fledgling garage bands, owe a great debt to Chuck Berry, “The Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll.”

"Johnny B. Goode"

"Promised Land"

"Roll Over Beethoven" Live

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Legendary “Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield Dead at 73

Clyde Stubblefield, one of music’s most influential and acclaimed drummers, died on Feb. 18 from kidney failure. He was 73. Stubblefield’s creative drum patterns on James Brown’s seminal grooves provided the foundation for the blossoming funk sound of the mid-1960s through early '70s. And he has not only influenced countless funk musicians but also legions of artists and producers in hip hop. 

Stubblefield was a member of Brown’s band from 1965 to 1971. And during his tenure with the Godfather, he played on funk classics such as “Cold Sweat,” “I Got the Feelin’” “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud,” “Mother Popcorn,” and “Ain’t It Funky Now.” And he was featured on Brown’s Cold Sweat and Sex Machine albums.  Stubblefield also brought his powerful drumming talents to Brown’s legendary concerts.

Additionally, Stubblefield held the distinction of being one of the most sampled drummers in hip-hop history. His iconic drum break on Brown’s 1970 single “Funky Drummer” has been sampled on more than 1,000 songs. Some of the notable artists who have sampled the drum break for their tracks include Public Enemy, Run D.M.C., LL Cool J, Nas, Mos Def, the Beastie Boys, Dr. Dre and Boogie Down Productions.

Upon hearing the news of Stubblefield’s death, Roots drummer Questlove wrote, “The Funky Funkiest Drummer of all Time. Clyde Stubblefield thank you for everything you’ve taught me. The spirit of the greatest grace note left hand snare drummer will live on thru all of us.”

Stubblefield's impact still resonates strongly today in funk, hip hop, R&B, breakbeat and many other music genres. Rest in peace funky drummer.

"Cold Sweat"

"Funky Drummer"