James Brown (vocals, keyboards; born May 5, 1933, died December 25, 2006) had more honorifics attached to his name than any other performer in music history. He was variously tagged “Soul Brother Number One,” “the Godfather of Soul,” “the Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Mr. Dynamite,” and even “the Original Disco Man.” This much is certain: what became known as soul music in the 1960s, funk music in the 1970s, and rap music in the 1980s is directly attributable to James Brown. His transformation of gospel fervor into the taut, explosive intensity of rhythm & blues, combined with precision choreography and dynamic showmanship, served to define the directions black music would take from the release of his first R&B hit ("Please Please Please") in 1956 to the present day.
Soul Survivor - The James Brown Story
James Brown - I Feel Good (Legends of Rock 'n' Roll)
Author RJ Smith talks to Rock Book Show about his new biography of James Brown The One: The Life and Music of James Brown. Here, they talk about Brown and Little Richard, Brown's hair pact with Al Sharpton, and what Brown's legacy will be.
R.J. Smith is a former senior editor at Los Angeles Magazine and a music journalist who's written for the Village Voice and Spin. For his latest project, he took on the task of profiling the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. Smith's extensive biography, called The One: The Life and Music of James Brown follows the musician from his childhood, raised in a whorehouse, wearing burlap sack underwear, to stardom, and then to reinvention. Download or listen here
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