by Robert Wilkinson
Because as I told you, May 3 is the birthday of this gigantic figure in music history, the Godfather of Soul. We have some funky soul music for your dancing pleasure!
Mister James Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was the premier funk performer of his time, one of the few people who actually did create key elements of what we call “Soul music.” And what a dancer! Early clips of the Stones clearly show Mick was doing straight imitations of James Brown’s moves. And even Michael Jackson paid tribute to the influence of James Brown on his own dancing.
James Brown was a rough kid from a rough street life. After working on a farm, kicking around, and doing time in prison, he went into a career as a gospel and then R&B singer. Once he met the group that became The Fabulous Flames, the rest was history! From Wikipedia:
One of the founding fathers of funk music and a major figure of 20th century popular music and dance, he is often referred to as "The Godfather of Soul". In a career that spanned six decades, Brown profoundly influenced the development of many different musical genres.
First coming to national public attention in the late 1950s as a member of The Flames with the ballads “Please, Please, Please” and “Try Me,” Brown built a reputation as a tireless live performer with singing group The Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. Brown's 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,” 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 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.” Brown also became notable 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 for the duration of his life until his death in 2006 from congestive heart failure and pneumonia.
Brown recorded seventeen number-one singles on the Billboard R&B charts. Brown also holds the record as the artist to have charted the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 which did not reach number-one on that chart. Brown was honored by many institutions including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn’s analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, Hot R&B Songs, James Brown is ranked as number one in The Top 500 Artists. Brown is ranked seventh on the music magazine Rolling Stone’s list of its 100 greatest artists of all time.
So for your dancing pleasure, one of his biggest, with an attitude the size of a dance floor! For your dancing pleasure, from 1966 on the Ed Sullivan Show, Mister James Brown offering up “I Feel Good”
If you don't watch any other clip, this one's unbelievable! From the TAMI show in 1964, a full 18 minutes of the Godfather of Soul! James Brown and the Fabulous Flames
Here’s 15 minutes of James in 1967 giving us “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag”
Here’s a one hour 10 minute show of James Brown and the Fabulous Flames In Paris – 1967
From 1968, a full 1 hour 36 minute show! James Brown at the Boston Garden
Live in Italy in 1971, James and the Flames live giving us “Sex Machine,” “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” and “Soul Power”
Here’s 11 solid minutes of funk! James Brown on Soul Train 1974
Even better, here’s a full 55 minute clip of The Best of James Brown on Soul Train
From 1979 a 1 hour video of James Brown Live in Monterey
Here’s the 45 minute A&E documentary on James Brown called James Brown – Godfather of Soul
Another documentary, this one a solid 1 hour 24 minutes! Soul Survivor – the James Brown Story
We’ll close with a great clip from 1982 on Letterman, 13 serious minutes of funk called The Last Great James Brown Television performance
And for our encore, from the movie Ski Party, James and the Fabulous Flames lip-synching to a pre-recorded soundtrack version of our Saturday Night Attitude tune, “I Feel Good”
Thanks for the tunes and the moves, Funk Brother Number One!
© Copyright 2014 Robert Wilkinson