Funky Drummer

Funky Drummer

Infobox Single
Name = Funky Drummer

Caption =
Artist = James Brown
from Album = In the Jungle Groove
A-side = "Funky Drummer - Pt. 1"
B-side = "Funky Drummer - Pt. 2"
Released = March 1970
Format = 7"
Recorded = November 20 1969
Genre = Funk
Length = Varies by release
Label = King
Writer = James Brown
Producer = James Brown
Certification =
Last single =
This single =
Next single =
Misc = Extra musicsample
Type = single
filename = Funky_Drummer_sample.ogg
format = Ogg
title = Funky Drummer
artist = James Brown
description = A sample from the beginning of the song.

"Funky Drummer" (also known as "The Funky Drummer") is a funk song recorded by James Brown and his band. The recording's drum solo, performed by drummer Clyde Stubblefield, is one of the most frequently sampled rhythmic breaks in hip hop and drum and bass music. By some accounts "Funky Drummer" is the single most sampled recording ever. WW [ [ James Brown - the world’s most sampled recording artist is back!] . (2006, July 14). "WebWire". Retrieved February 13, 2007] who

The recording

"Funky Drummer" was recorded on November 20, 1969 in Cincinnati, Ohio and originally released by King Records as a two-part 45 rpm single in March 1970. Despite rising to #20 on the R&B chart and #51 on the pop chart, it did not receive an album release until the 1986 compilation "In the Jungle Groove".

The piece takes the form of an extended vamp, with individual instruments (mostly the tenor saxophones and organ) improvising brief licks on top. Brown's ad-libbed vocals on "Funky Drummer" are sporadic and declamatory, and are mostly concerned with encouraging the other band members.

As in the full-length version of "Cold Sweat" he announces the upcoming drum break, which comes late in the recording, with a request to "give the drummer some." He tells Stubblefield "You don't have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got... Don't turn it loose, 'cause it's a mother." And indeed Stubblefield's eight-bar unaccompanied "solo" is a slightly modified version of the same riff he plays through most of the piece.

After the drum break, the band returns to the original vamp. Brown, apparently impressed with what Stubblefield has produced, seems to name the song on the spot as it continues, and repeats it: "The name of this tune is 'The Funky Drummer', 'The Funky Drummer', 'The Funky Drummer'." The recording ends with a reprise of Stubblefield's solo and a fade-out.


More than one mix of "Funky Drummer" was made around the time it was recorded, including one with tambourine and another with vocal percussion by Brown and trombonist Fred Wesley; the most commonly-heard version of the track lacks these elements, which were apparently overdubbed. Releases of the track on CD range in length from 5:34 to 9:13.

In addition to the original version of "Funky Drummer", the album "In the Jungle Groove" includes a "bonus beat reprise" of the piece. This track, edited by Danny Krivit, consists of a 3-minute loop of the drum break, punctuated only by Brown's sampled vocal interjections and an occasional guitar chord and tambourine hit.


*James Brown - vocals, organ

"with the James Brown Orchestra:"
*Richard "Kush" Griffith - trumpet
*Joe Davis - trumpet
*Fred Wesley - trombone
*Maceo Parker - tenor saxophone
*Eldee Williams - tenor saxophone
*Jimmy Nolen - guitar
*Alphonso "Country" Kellum - guitar
*Charles Sherrell - bass
*Clyde Stubblefield - drums

Produced by James Brown

Chart positions

Uses of the drum break

The "Funky Drummer" break has been used in literally hundreds of hip hop recordings, including famous tracks by Public Enemy, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Quest and Big Daddy Kane. Its use was especially prolific during the 1980s before unlicensed sampling became illegal. Rapper and producer Edan's mixtape "Sound of the Funky Drummer" features only tracks which use the "Funky Drummer" beat. Public Enemy, X-Clan, and the Beastie Boys have all merged "Funky Drummer" with the descending guitar riff of the Black Flag song "Rise Above" (from the "Damaged" album).Fact|date=March 2008

Many pop recordings outside the hip-hop genre have also sampled the "Funky Drummer" break, including Sinéad O'Connor's song "I Am Stretched On Your Grave", Amon Tobin's "The Sighting" from the album "Adventures in Foam", George Michael's "Waiting For That Day (You Can't Always Get What You Want)", Pizzicato Five's "Baby Love Child", and Sublime's cover of the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias". A variation of the "Funky Drummer" rhythm was used in "Burning Bridges" (the theme song from the film "Kelly's Heroes") by The Mike Curb Congregation, and in Shep Pettibone's mix of Madonna's "Justify My Love". More recently, Dido has used the sample for her hit single "Here with Me".

In some recordings the "Funky Drummer" beat is mechanically slowed down or sped up. Other recordings do not sample the original recording of the "Funky Drummer" break, but a re-recording of the same beat by a studio drummer.

Lyrical references

Rappers who sample James Brown's recordings have included references to him, Stubblefield, and the song's title in their lyrics, two examples being LL Cool J in "Boomin' System" ("The girlies, they smile, they see me comin, I'm steady hummin, I got the Funky Drummer drummin") and Public Enemy in "Fight the Power" ("1989 - the number, another summer / Sound of the Funky Drummer...").

The "Funky Drummer" beat was so widely used that it eventually became something of a musical cliché, and performers began referring to it sarcastically. MC Frontalot's song "Good Old Clyde" comments on the widespread appropriation of the "Funky Drummer" beat (while exploiting the beat itself). [ [ MC Frontalot :: Lyric :: Good Old Clyde ] ] Masta Ace's song "Boom Bashin'" includes the line "So what, I use Funky Drummer, suck my dick." [] Pop Will Eat Itself's song "Not Now, James, We're Busy" samples Brown's vocal asides from "Funky Drummer" as well as the drum break, weaving them into a commentary on Brown's legal troubles.


"The Funky Drummer" is also sometimes used as a nickname for Clyde Stubblefield, who capitalized on the name with his 1997 album "Revenge of the Funky Drummer". As a session drummer, Stubblefield received no further compensation for the many samples that were taken from the recording. [ [ James Brown, Clyde Stubblefield and the Madison Area Music Awards] . (2007, January 4). "Isthmus". Retrieved February 13, 2007.] He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin.



* Leeds, Alan M., and Harry Weinger (1991). Star Time: Song by Song. In "Star Time" (pp. 46-53) [CD liner notes] . London: Polydor Records.
* White, Cliff (1991). Discography. In "Star Time" (pp. 54-59) [CD liner notes] . London: Polydor Records.

ee also

* Amen break
* Think (About It)
* Woo! Yeah!
* Funky President

External links

* [ All Music Guide song review of "Funky Drummer"]
* [ List Of Songs That Sample "Funky Drummer"]
* [ Website of local Cincinnati Drummer Joe Jahnigen featuring the original recording of "Funky Drummer", a transcription, and his own version of the beat]
* [ xspf playlist of the original Funky Drummer track as well as other popular tracks that are based on the break]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Funky Drummer — (también conocido como The Funky Drummer ) es una canción de funk grabada por James Brown y su banda hacia finales de 1969. Este tema no sólo es representativo del estilo del artista, sino que además contiene un solo de batería gracias al que… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Funky-drummer — funky piece of drumming, first heard in the James Brown song Funky Drummer , and extensively sampled into much dance music …   Dictionary of Australian slang

  • funky-drummer — Australian Slang funky piece of drumming, first heard in the James Brown song Funky Drummer , and extensively sampled into much dance music …   English dialects glossary

  • Funky — Funk ist der Oberbegriff für eine Spielart ursprünglich afroamerikanischer Musik, die sich Ende der 1960er Jahre aus verschiedenen Einflüssen des Soul, Rhythm and Blues und Jazz entwickelt hat, und wiederum Musikstile wie Disco, Hip Hop, Rock… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Funky Four Plus One — Infobox musical artist Name = Funky Four Plus One Img capt = Background = group or band Alias = Funky 4 + 1 Funky Four Plus One More Origin = Bronx, New York City Instrument = Genre = Hip hop, Rap, funk Years active = 1977 1983 Label = Enjoy… …   Wikipedia

  • Funky Junction — Infobox musical artist Name = Funky Junction Img capt = Img size = Landscape = Background = cover band Alias = Origin = Ireland Genre = Rock Years active = 1972 Label = Stereo Gold Award Associated acts = Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, Elmer Fudd URL …   Wikipedia

  • Make It Funky — For the Information Society song of the same name, see here. Make It Funky Single by James Brown A side Make I …   Wikipedia

  • Del the Funky Homosapien — Del performing at Austin City Limits, 26 September 2008 Background information Birth name Teren Delvon Jones …   Wikipedia

  • Clyde Stubblefield — (born April 18, 1943 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a drummer best known for his work with James Brown. Stubblefield s recordings with James Brown are considered to be some of the standard bearers for funk drumming, including the singles Cold… …   Wikipedia

  • It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back — Studio album by Public Enemy Released …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.