Drummer John “Jab’o” Starks of James Brown band dies

Photo Credit: Rolling Stones


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – John “Jab’o” Starks, one of the drummers who gave funk singer James Brown his driving beat, has died in his native Alabama.

Starks’ longtime manager, Kathie Williams, says Starks died Tuesday in Mobile, days after entering hospice care for a bone marrow disorder and cancer. He was 79.

Starks played with Bobby “Blue” Bland for years before joining Brown. He and fellow drummer Clyde Stubblefield provided the beats for Brown’s rhythm section during the singer’s heyday in the late ’60s and early ’70s.

Rolling Stone magazine has ranked the Starks-Stubblefield combination among the greatest drummers of all time.

Williams says Starks’ nickname “Jab’o” was given to him by an older brother in infancy. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Naomi, and two children.

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