Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” RIP
Clyde Stubblefield, the drummer of James Brown's "Funky Drummer" and other songs, has died. His wife told The Associated Press that Stubblefield died of kidney failure on Saturday (2/18) after being hospitalized for a few days. He was 73. From The AP:
Stubblefield performed on several of Brown's classics in the 1960s and early 70s, including "Cold Sweat," ''Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud," ''I've Got the Feelin'," and the album Sex Machine.
But he was best known for a short solo on Brown's 1970 single, "Funky Drummer." Rolling Stone magazine said it was sampled on over 1,000 songs and served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks, including Public Enemy's "Fight the Power," Dr. Dre's "Let Me Ride," LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out" and Run-D.M.C.'s "Run's House." It even turned up on Ed Sheeran's "Shirtsleeves" and George Michael's "Freedom '90," the magazine said.
Hennon said Stubblefield saw "very little" in royalties and never expected them.
But Stubblefield was held in high esteem by his fellow musicians. When Prince got wind in 2000 that Stubblefield was deep in debt from a fight against bladder cancer, he personally paid $90,000 to cover his bills, she said. "Clyde was considered his favorite drummer," she added.
Rest in peace, Clyde. The beat goes on. Listen to Clyde in action as well as a few famous uses of "Funky Drummer," below.