The legendary Godfather Of Soul
The “Mr. Dynamite” James Brown was born on this day in 1933
James Joseph Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina and his influence on music and Pop culture throughout the decades remains strong and untouchable to this day Undoubtedly the most mainstream of all the Soul and Funk singers, James Brown, it’s a rare case of an artist that reaches fans of several and different musical niches. From Rock to Pop, to Jazz to Dance. The Rolling Stone magazine has cited Brown as the most sampled artist of all time. Brown began his career as a gospel singer, but it was during the mid-1960’s that he caught attention with his unique vocal style and dance moves that earned him the nickname of Mr. Dynamite. With hit singles such as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, he moved from a continuum of blues and gospel-based forms and styles to a profoundly “Africanized” approach to music-making that influenced the development of funk music. By the late 1960’s, with his national TV appearances, he already had conquered Black and White audiences, which begun turning him into an American national treasure. In 1967 he released what some critics cited as the first true funk song, “Cold Sweat”, which hit number-one on the R&B chart (Top 10 Pop) and became one of his first recordings to contain a drum break and also the first that featured a harmony that was reduced to a single chord. By the 1970’s, now known as the Godfather of Soul Brown had fully established the funk sound with songs such as “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “The Payback”. Worldwide admired and famous, Brown’s career had very few lows, despite personal scandals. During the 1980’s he adapts to the current music scene with the song “Living in America” that reached the US Top 10 and was a hit around the globe, being featured as the main song of the movie “Rocky IV”. During the 1990’s James Brown was often cited as an influence on Rock acts such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A less talked side of James Brown, was that he also used his visibility as an artist to engage on the Civil Rights movement during the 1960’s, he became close to the back then U.S President Richard Nixon, to whom he found he had to explain the plight of Black Americans. Before that, due to heavy dropout rates in the 1960’s, Brown released the pro-education song, “Don’t Be a Drop-Out”. Royalties of the song were donated to charity used for dropout prevention programs. The success of this led to Brown meeting with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House. James Brown died on December 25, 2006, aged 73, from congestive heart failure, resulting from complications of pneumonia. Several tributes were paid to Brown after his death with some of the world’s most famous artists, including Michael Jackson, participating. During the 49th Annual Grammy Awards presentation on February 11, 2007, James Brown’s famous cape was draped over a microphone by Danny Ray at the end of a montage in honor of notable people in the music industry who died during the previous year. James Brown was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction dinner in New York on January 23, 1986.
Watch this 1966 explosive performance of James Brown live at The Ed Sullivan Show, where he sings a medley of “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)”
Also watch James Brown performing “Sex Machine”, “Good Foot” and “Soul Power” on Soul Train
Listen to the compilation “The Godfather” on Spotify
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