James Brown

  • Born in South Carolina in 1933. Died on Christmas day, 2006, of congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
  • Rolling Stone ranks Brown as the seventh greatest artist of all time. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in its inaugural year of 1986. He won 3 Grammy Awards, 5 Hall of Fame Grammy Awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Grammys in 1992. In 2003, he was a recipient of a Kennedy Center Honors award. There are numerous other awards and honors for him, including bronze statues, honorary doctorates, bridge names and arena names.
  • He was a man of many nicknames. Most notably, he was known as the Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite, and The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. He is credited with creating funk music.
  • His music career began in 1953, soon after he was paroled from prison after his conviction of a robbery. His first hit was in 1956 was Please, Please, Please. He continued to score hits throughout the 60s and early 70s. He was less successful from 1975 to 1985, but again charted in 1986 with Living In America. He continued to make records during the 90s, and tour extensively until his death. He has too many classic hits to list – my favorites are Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, Give It Up or Turn It Loose, I Got You (I Feel Good), and Living In America.
  • He had 16 singles that reached #1 on the Billboard R&B charts, but of the 92 singles that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, none of them reached #1 – Brown holds the record for that distinction. He released 63 studio albums, 15 live albums, and 49 compilation albums. Brown wrote or co-wrote nearly all of his music.
  • His concerts were long, intense and extravagant. His band typically had 3 guitarists, 2 bass players, 2 drummers, 3 horn players and a percussionist. He employed 40 to 50 people for his concert tours, performing as many as 330 shows a year.
  • His vocals were powerful, full of energy, and of course, full of soul. On stage, he was constantly gyrating, dropping to his knees, jumping and cavorting. A breath-taking experience for him and his audience.
  • Check out James in the church scene from the original Blues Brothers movie.

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