Categories: News

Clyde Stubblefield, ‘Funky Drummer’ For James Brown, Dies At 73

Clyde Stubblefield (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

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. His wife, Jody Hannon, confirmed to Rolling Stone.

Stubblefield played the drum break of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” which has been sampled in hundreds of songs: Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power,” “Bring The Noise” and “Rebel Without A Pause,” Dr. Dre’s “Let Me Ride,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” N.W.A.’s “Fuck The Police,” Mos Def’s “Mathematics,” and plenty of others.

Aside from the huge sample, Stubblefield played on James Brown songs like “Cold Sweat,” “Ain’t It Funky Now,” “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine,” and “I Got The Feelin.”  He also played on Brown’s album Sex Machine.

When Stubblefield was diagnosed with cancer 16 years ago, according to Billboard, Prince discreetly donated $80,000 for his $90,000-plus in hospital bills for chemotherapy.

Questlove gave props to Stubblefield’s legendary skills in an Instagam post.

“The Funky Funkiest Drummer Of All Time,” he wrote. “Clyde Stubblefield thank you for everything you’ve taught me. The spirit of the greatest grace note left hand snare drummer will live on thru all of us.”

William Ketchum III

is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race, culture and social justice. He is an editor at Okayplayer, and his work has appeared in Complex, Billboard, Guardian, NPR, MTV, Ebony, HipHopDX, The Flint Journal-MLive, and other publications.

Published by
William Ketchum III

Recent Posts

What Does Law Roach’s Retirement Say About the State of the Fashion Industry?

Lurking behind celebrity stylist Law Roach's retirement is a sinister reminder of the dire state… Read More

March 18, 2023

Best Songs of The Week: ft. Alchemist, KIRBY, and More

The Round-Up is Okayplayer’s weekly playlist of the best songs in the worlds of hip-hop… Read More

March 17, 2023

8 New Albums You Should Be Listening To (March 17)

Mac Ayres, ELHAE, EST GEE, and LQ Malique released new albums that caught our attention… Read More

March 17, 2023

The De La Soul Catalog is Thriving, But Where’s The “Buddy” Remix?

The revered remix for "Buddy" first appeared on the 12" vinyl release of the single… Read More

March 17, 2023

‘The Wire’ Actor Lance Reddick Found Dead at 60

Lance Reddick was found unresponsive in his home. The actor, best known for playing Cedric… Read More

March 17, 2023

The 19 Best Erykah Badu Songs

From “Love of My Life” to “Green Eyes,” here are the 19 best Erykah Badu… Read More

March 17, 2023