Drummer Clyde Stubblefield – known for his legendary involvement with James Brown – has died.
The percussionist became intertwined with James Brown’s seminal backing back The JB’s in the late 60s, when the singer’s stripped down, ultra-percussive take on R&B would birth funk.
Playing drums on a string of seminal recordings – including the album ‘Sex Machine’ and the iconic single ‘Say It Loud I’m Black And I’m Proud’ - it’s for a short solo on a little known 1970 single that Clyde Stubblefield is best known.
Taking a solo on ‘Funky Drummer’, his expressive yet concise break became one of the most sampled of all time, having an incalculable effect on hip-hop and modern pop music.
Given a shout out by Chuck D, the ‘Funky Drummer’ sample even found its way into recordings by George Michael and Ed Sheeran.
Held in enormously high esteem by his fellow musicians, when news reached Prince in 2000 that Clyde Stubblefield was struggling with bladder cancer he paid $90,000 towards the drummer to cover his medical bills.
News of Clyde Stubblefield’s death was confirmed by his wife Jody Hannon – he passed away at a hospital in Madison, Wisconsin following a battle with kidney disease.