The funkiest drummer who ever lived, Clyde Stubblefield, who drummed on many of James Brown‘s most important recordings, has died. He was 73. His recordings with James Brown are considered to be some of the standard-bearers for funk drumming, including the singles “Cold Sweat”, “There Was a Time”, “I Got The Feelin'”, “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud”, “Ain’t It Funky Now”, “Mother Popcorn”, “Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved” and the album Sex Machine.
His rhythm pattern on James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” is among the world’s most sampled musical segments. It has been used for decades by hip-hop groups and rappers such as Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., N.W.A, Raekwon, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys and Prince, and has also been used in other genres. Stubblefield was featured in the PBS documentary, Copyright Criminals, which addressed the creative and legal aspects of sampling in the music industry.
Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins, who played with Stubblefield in Brown’s band, wrote on Facebook, “We lost another Pillar Stone that held up the Foundation of Funk. Mr.Clyde Stubblefield has left our frequency. I am lost for words & Rythme right now. Dang Clyde! U taught me so much as I stood their watchin’ over u & Jabo while keepin’ one eye on the Godfather. We all loved U so much. (SENDOUT YR LOVE TO HIS FAMILY & FRIENDS)! Then share yr stories about this Fire breathin’ Drummer, (THE FUNKY DRUMMER)! R.I.P. From all yr Funkateers…”
Here’s THAT drum break, the beat that built hip-hop: