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Clyde Stubblefield to get honorary degree from UW

February 21, 2017

When it was learned that legendary Funky Drummer Clyde Stubblefield had passed away on Saturday, tributes started coming in from just about everywhere. Now the University of Wisconsin has announced that he will be given an honorary degree.

According to a release, university official say Stubblefiled had been selected by the UW-Madison Committee on Honorary Degrees and Chancellor Rebecca Blank to receive an honorary degree May 12 at the Kohl Center prior to spring commencement. He will now receive the award, which was endorsed last fall by the UW System Board of Regents and the UW-Madison Faculty Senate, posthumously.

In a letter nominating Stubblefield for the degree,  UW-Madison Professor of Percussion Anthony Di Sanza said:

"It is impossible to overstate the impact Stubblefield has had on the world of drumming. He has inspired generations of drummers with his syncopated, yet flowing rhythmic grooves that combine effortlessly with his unique musical taste and sensibility. For many of us living in the world of drums and percussion, he is a trailblazer and a hero."

Stubblefield was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but called Madison home since the 1970s. For years, he kept the beat for James Brown, performing on "Funky Drummer," a song with a drum break that is among the world's most sampled, being used by Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Prince, George Michael, Sinead O'Connor, and many others.

Pictured above: In 2015, he appeared on the Triple M Morning Show with Jonathan & Kitty, in advance of a benefit concert for a Clyde Stubblefield scholarship fund. (Also pictured, drummer Joey B. Banks).

A fund has now been set up to help his widow with final expenses. More info here.