Influential drummer Clyde Stubblefield dies at 73

Posted February 21, 2017

Clyde Stubblefield, a drummer for James Brown and the musician behind one of the most sampled songs of all time, has died of kidney failure at age 73.

Stubblefield, most popular in the 1960's and 70's, was world renown for playing jams for James Brown like "Cold Sweat", "Say It Loud-I'm Black and I'm Proud", "I've Got the Feelin'", and other songs.

Along with fellow drummer John "Jabo" Starks, the duo formed the backbone of Brown's biggest and funkiest hits, thus some of Hip-Hop's as well. "I just put patterns against natural sounds, and that's what I do today". "Funky Drummer" became Stubblefield's nickname.

"People use my drum patterns on a lot of these songs", Stubblefield told the New York Times in 2011.

On Saturday (February 18), Stubblefield, who had been in ill health for some time (Prince paid nearly $100,000 in medical bills when Clyde came down with bladder cancer), died of kidney disease. As he told NPR in 2015, the ensemble seemed to have more than enough drummers already when he showed to audition. "Clyde plays the way that Clyde plays, which, nobody's gonna play like Clyde". According to various reports, Prince contributed $90,000 towards Stubblefield's medical expenses before his death, citing him as a major influence.

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Stubblefield's breakbeat on "Funky Drummer" resonated across decades, and generations.

Bootsy Collins provided a similar note, saying, "We lost another Pillar Stone that held up the Foundation of Funk".

We want to send our heartfelt condolences to Clyde Stubblefield's family. I am lost for words & Rythme right now. He also played on several albums by jazz keyboardist/vocalist Ben Sidran, including Sidran's classic 1973 jazz-fusion LP Puttin' in Time on Planet Earth. Clyde Stubblefield thank you for everything you've taught me. We all loved U so much. R.I.P.

This story is developing.