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"

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