In memoriam: Clyde Stubblefield
World's most sampled drummer dies at 73
Iconic drummer Clyde Stubblefield, best known as James Brown's 'funky drummer' and the world's most sampled drummer, has died. He passed away on February 18, 2017 at the age of 73. The cause of death was kidney failure. The drummer had suffered from kidney disease since 2002, when he had a kidney operation. His wife, Jody Hannon, has confirmed the drummer's death.
Clyde Stubblefield played on many of James Brown's classic songs, including Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine
and Cold Sweat
Clyde's rhythm pattern on James Brown's Funky Drummer
, recorded in 1969, is among the world's most sampled musical segments. Artists such as Public Enemy, Run-DMC, NWA, Raekwon, LL Cool J, Beastie Boys, Prince, Dr. Dre, George Michael, Madonna, Ed Sheeran, and countless others
incorporated his 20-second drum break.
Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 18, 1943, Clyde Stubblefield was entirely self-taught but nonetheless started playing the drums professionally as a teenager. In early 1960s he worked with guitarist Eddie Kirkland and toured with Otis Redding.
In 1965 Clyde joined the James Brown band. For six years the band had two drummers: Clyde Stubblefield and John "Jabo" Starks, who had joined the band two weeks earlier.
After his stint with James Browd, Clyde Stubblefield continued to collaborate frequently with "Jabo" Starks. As the Funkmasters, the duo released an album in 2001 called 'Find the Groove' and an album in 2006 called 'Come Get Summa This'. The duo also released a drumming instruction video in 1999 titled 'Soul of the Funky Drummers'.
Clyde Stubblefield lived in Madison, Wisconsin from 1971 to his death in 2017. For over twenty years he played Monday nights with his band, The Clyde Stubblefield Band, in downtown Madison. The band featured his longtime friend and keyboard-organ player Steve "Doc" Skaggs, along with soul vocalists Charlie Brooks and Karri Daley, as well as a horn section and supporting band. Stubblefield retired from the Monday shows in 2011 due to health issues, leaving the band in the hands of his nephew Brett Stubblefield.