RIP Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s Funky Drummer

Even if you’ve never heard the name Clyde Stubblefield, you’ve heard his work–or at least about 20 seconds’ worth of it.

On November 20, 1969. James Brown assembled his supernaturally tight band at King Studios in Cincinnati, to record “Funky Drummer,” a track eventually divided into part 1 for the A-side and part 2 for the flip of the 7-inch single. At one point in the recording, Brown encouraged Stubblefield to keep the groove going unaccompanied. Those eight bars have become one of the most sampled pieces of music in the history of the galaxy.

Sadly, Clyde didn’t receive all the credit he was due. never mind any financial compensation.

On Saturday (February 18), Stubblefield, who had been in ill health for some time (Prince paid almost $100,000 in medical bills when Clyde came down with bladder cancer), died of kidney disease. He was 73.

More coverage here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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