James Brown

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Brown, James,

1933–2006, African-American rhythm-and-blues singer known as the "godfather of soul," b. Barnwell, S.C., as James Joe Brown, Jr. Abandoned by his parents, he left school in the seventh grade and turned to petty crime. After three years in reform school, Brown joined (1952) the Gospel Starlighters, which soon became the Famous Flames, the group with which he recorded his first hit, Please, Please, Please (1956). With his soulful, gravel-voiced, gospel-inflected singing style and spectacular stage presence—often screaming (on key) and dancing acrobatically—Brown was a true innovator of rhythm and blues and funk, recording such hit singles as I Got You (I Feel Good) (1965), It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World (1966), the Black Pride anthem Say It Loud (1968), and many albums, e.g., Live at the Apollo (1963) and The Payback (1974). He again hit the top of the charts with his Grammy-winning album Living in America (1985). Jailed (1988) on drug and gun charges, he was released in 1991 and resumed an active singing and recording career. Brown's vocal style has had a great influence on musicians from Elvis Presley to Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones, and hip-hop artists. The recipient of many music awards, in 1986 Brown was one of the original inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


See his The Godfather of Soul (1986) and I Feel Good: A Memoir of a Life of Soul (2005); biographies by RJ Smith (2012) and J. McBride (2016).

Brown, James

(1791–1877) banker; born in Ireland (son of Alexander Brown). He arrived in Baltimore, Md. in 1802 and in 1825 established the New York City branch of his father's firm, Brown Brothers & Company. He guided the banking house through financial crises (1837, 1857) and the Civil War. He gave generously to local institutions and was one of the founders of Presbyterian Hospital. The mayor of New York City ordered all flags on public buildings to fly at half-mast at his death.

Brown, James

(1928–  ) musician; born in Barnwell, S.C. One of the most significant figures in black pop music, he began his singing career in Macon, Ga., with the Gospel Starlighters. In 1954, he formed a vocal group, the Famous Flames, with whom he recorded his first "cry" ballads, "Please, Please, Please" (1956) and "Try Me" (1958). Combining gospel and blues roots with a stage presentation that mixed calculated hysteria and absolute musical precision, he emerged by 1962 as the leading star in rhythm and blues and one of its key innovators. His nicknames included "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business" and "Soul Brother Number One." During the late 1960s, his ambiguous racial politics made him an emblematic figure for both moderate and radical movements. His 1968 recording, "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," became an anthem of the Black Power movement. By the early 1970s, he had become one of the first black entertainers to assume complete control of his own career, and this remains an enduring aspect of his legacy. In 1986, he was an inaugural member of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. The following year, his recording "Living in America" won a Grammy for best rhythm & blues performance. In 1988 he was jailed for three years on charges that included aggravated assault. Upon his release in 1991, he resumed his career as a leading concert and recording artist.
References in periodicals archive ?
Two hundred years from now when they mention James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, they will use this book to understand the person, the mind, the genius of one of the greatest entertainers of all time.
Besides "The Godfather of Soul," "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," and "Soul Brother Number One," James Brown has earned yet another title: "The Keeper of the Dance.
Ellis, who joined the Godfather of Soul, James Brown's Revue in 1965 and became band leader within six months, formed a line-up which was assembled to combine classic crowd-pullers with emerging Welsh talent.
Pee Wee Ellis is still best remembered as the man behind the sound of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
15pm) THERE have been plenty of shaggy dog stories told over the year regarding the Godfather of Soul, James Brown.
We shared a word about the Godfather of Soul and went our ways.
Thousands of people danced and sang in the streets outside the Apollo Theatre in New York in a celebration of the Godfather of Soul as his body was displayed on the stage where he made his 1956 debut.
James Brown, the godfather of soul, was still high-stepping and Jerry Lee Lewis arrived to claim a lifetime achievement award.
GODFATHER of Soul James Brown has been made an offer he can't refuse - the veteran is going to star at T in the Park.
JAMES Brown's accolades include being known as the King of FunkandThe Godfather of Soul -and this 'very best of' compilation is one of those must-haves for anyone's CD collection.
Current GRAMMY(R)-nominee and two-time GRAMMY-winner Melissa Etheridge, in her first appearance since being diagnosed with breast cancer six months ago, is joined by current GRAMMY-nominee Joss Stone in a tribute to Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Janis Joplin; GRAMMY-nominee Jamie Foxx joins multi-nominee Alicia Keys; Godfather of Soul James Brown joins Usher who currently has eight GRAMMY nominations; Al Green joins the landmark fundraising segment for ongoing tsunami relief; and John Mayer joins the GRAMMY lineup, it was announced today by The Recording Academy(R).
Brown, who died on " Christmas Day 2006, enjoyed the title Godfather of Soul.