The Funky Drummer Has Passed

The music world is mourning the loss of legendary drummer Clyde Stubblefield, of James Brown fame, who died of kidney failure over the weekend, at the age of 73.

Stubblefield is recognized as a standard bearer in the Funk genre, whose career was largely defined by the body of work he delivered alongside Brown in the late 60’s. Stubblefield was a self-taught musician whose instinctive timing and rhythm helped him along to a point where he was touring with such artists as Eddie Kirkland and Otis Redding before breaking onto the scene with The Godfather of Soul.

From the classic Cold Sweat LP in 1967 to Sex Machine in 1970, he provided the foundation for the bed of music that Brown would put on his mean vocals and slick moves. They would complete five albums together.

While the breadth of Stubblefield’s work was relatively short, the impact of his contribution would become timeless when the early architects of Hip-Hop utilized Brown’s records to tailor their sound and dances to throughout the 1970’s. In fact, Hip-Hop’s very existence is predicated on the breakbeat, which pits Stubblefield as Brown’s drummer directly responsible for jump starting the genre.