James Brown

(redirected from The King of Soul)

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 ?
3 OTIS REDDING Soul Legend The King of Soul was a fine singer, songwriter, pianist and producer before his tragic death in a plane crash.
His affection for Redding (who died in a plane crash at Lake Monona, Wisconsin in 1967) is equally profound, he tells me: "He would definitely have been the king of soul, there's no question about that.
Now I thought this concept was a great idea, particularly as a few of the contestants were covering his tracks, I thought it would be interesting to have the King of Soul tell them how much they murdered his songs, but as it transpired, guest 'judge' was a loose term, and all Lionel did was promote his new single and listed all the acts that came into his head and said they were great.
The King of Soul is today's headline act at the Americana Festival of American roots music, at The Sage this weekend.
The origins of hip-hop dancing have been attributed to many sources, including the king of soul himself, James Brown.
The king of soul, funk and R&B, the great Geno Washington is back on Teesside tomorrow night.
The king of soul was arrested for possession of the drug PCP, illegal weapons and assault after a chase in 1989
OTIS REDDING Soul Legend: The Very Best Of Otis Redding (Music Club De Luxe) * THE King of Soul, Otis Redding, was born in Dawson, Georgia on September 9, 1941 and went on to become one of the most influential artists in the history of popular music.