Clyde Stubblefield Dies At 73

Clyde Stubblefield Dies At 73, James Brown’s Most Sampled Drummer

Now anyone who knows the genius of James Brown knows that that man kept “the pocket” thumping. Sadly, one of the drivers of Brown’s most iconic grooves—and one of hip-hop’s most sampled drummers—Clyde Stubblefield, has died. He was 73.

 Stubblefield died of kidney failure at a Madison, Wisconsin, hospital on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

In the 1960s and 70s, Clyde Stubblefield was the beat behind Brown classics such as “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.”

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Rolling Stone reports that “Funky Drummer” was sampled on over 1,000 songs. His drum loops were featured on innumerable hip-hop classics 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.” “Funky Drummer” also found its way to Ed Sheeran’s “Shirtsleeves” and George Michael’s “Freedom ’90,” the magazine said.

Although Clyde Stubblefield’s wife Jody Hennon said the stick man saw “very little” in royalties, she said he never expected them. But his genius was recognized—and rewarded—by other musicians.

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