James Brown

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American singer, songwriter, and musician.

Born: 3 May 1933 near Barnwell, South Carolina, USA. Died: 25 December 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia, USA (aged 73).

James Brown was raised in poverty in Augusta, Georgia.

Previously worked as a shoe shiner, car washer & a cotton picker.

1950s: Joined the Gospel Starlighters in 1953, a vocal quartet led by Bobby Byrd, after completing a four-year stint in prison for robbery. As Brown became the focal point of the act, the group changed its name to 'The Famous Flames' and its focus from gospel to R&B. In 1955 The Famous Flames record "Please Please Please" at the studio of WIBB in Macon, Georgia. In 1958 James Brown's first #1 hit, "Try Me", is released. It was the best-selling R&B single of 1958, and the first of 17 chart-topping R&B singles by Brown over the next two decades.

1965: Records "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", a revolutionary single that ushers in a whole new era of soul music. Released that summer, it tops the R&B chart for eight weeks and even cracks the pop Top Ten.

1971: Signs with Polydor Records, for which he recorded extensively throughout the decade. 1974: The Payback, the most successful of James Brown's Seventies albums—many of which were double-LPs with lengthy, extended tracks—makes its debut on Billboard's album chart. It is the only gold-certified (500,000 copies sold) album of his career.

1984: Bronx DJ Afrika Bambaataa teams up with Brown to record the anthemic single "Unity". 1986: "Living In America", the theme song from Rocky IV, reaches #4 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, becoming Brown's biggest pop hit since "I Got You (I Feel Good)" went to #3 in 1965.

1992: Receives a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th annual Grammy Awards.

2006: Hospitalized with pneumonia, dying on Christmas Day.

Inducted into Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 (Performer). Inducted into Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2000.

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James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, record producer, and bandleader. The central progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th century music, he is often referred to by the honorific nicknames "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business", "Godfather of Soul", "Mr. Dynamite", and "Soul Brother No. 1". In a career that lasted more than 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres. Brown was one of the first 10 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction in New York on January 23, 1986. Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He first came to national public attention in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of the Famous Flames, a rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd. With the hit ballads "Please, Please, Please" and "Try Me", Brown built a reputation as a dynamic live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. His success peaked in the 1960s with the live album Live at the Apollo and 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". During the late 1960s, Brown moved from a continuum of blues and gospel-based forms and styles to a profoundly "Africanized" approach to music-making, emphasizing stripped-down interlocking rhythms that influenced the development of funk music. By the early 1970s, Brown had fully established the funk sound after the formation of the J.B.s with records such as "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" and "The Payback". He also became noted for songs of social commentary, including the 1968 hit "Say It Loud – I'm Black and I'm Proud". Brown continued to perform and record until his death from pneumonia in 2006. Brown recorded 17 singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts. He also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that did not reach No. 1. Brown was posthumously inducted into the first class of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013 as an artist and then in 2017 as a songwriter. He also received honors from several other institutions, including inductions into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn's analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, Brown is ranked No. 1 in The Top 500 Artists. He is ranked seventh on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.