James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield Passes at 73

Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s “Funky Drummer”, and creator of the most widely sampled drum breaks of all time has passes away at 73.

His wife, Jody Hannon confirmed Stubberfield died of kidney failure and had been suffering from kidney disease for 10 years.

Best known for his solo on Brown’s single “Funky Drummer”, Stubberfield’s drum break became hip hop’s most popular samples and  was marked his biggest impact on music.

According to Rolling Stone, His very popular drum break was also sampled in over 1,000 songs and “served as the backbeat for countless hip-hop tracks, ranging from Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” “Bring the Noise” and “Rebel Without a Pause” to N.W.A’s “F***  tha Police” and Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride” to LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Run-D.M.C.’s “Run’s House” and Beastie Boys’ “Shadrach.” Even Ed Sheeran’s “Shirtsleeves” and George Michael’s “Freedom ’90.” However, Stubberfield was not listed as a songwriter and didn’t see much royalties from the sampling.

Clyde Stubberfield was born April 18, 1943 and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The self-taught drummer served as a session musician and toured with Otis Redding before becoming James Brown’s drummer in the early 1970’s. In 2000, Stubberfield was diagnosed with bladder cancer which left him in $90,000 in debt. NY Times reports, last year after Prince’s death, Clyde Stubberfield revealed that Prince had paid his medical bills in full. Although they had never met, the gesture was proof of Stubberfield’s influence on music.

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