James Brown – Godfather of Soul

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James Brown


James Brown (full name: James Joseph Brown) was a famous singer that was involved in the creation of different music genres, especially remembered for being the progenitor of funk music. In fact, he was often nicknamed as “The Godfather of Soul”. James Brown was also a songwriter, record producer, dancer and bandleader. He was born in May 3, 1933, in Barnwell, South Carolina, and died at the age of 73, in December 25, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brown was recognized as one of the celebrities that had major influence throughout the 20th century, during his long career, which nearly reached 60 years. Among his musical career, James Brown was capable of releasing 16 singles that hit the number one position in the Billboard R&B Charts. He is now recognized as the most successful artist in the Billboard R&B Charts.

Brown’s starts in music

His career started in Toccoa, Georgia, as a gospel singer, by joining an R&B vocal group titled the “Gospel Starlighters”; Brown was the main singer in the band. In the late 50’s, James Brown started gaining fame while performing with “The Famous Flames”, founded by Bobby Byrd, as the lead singer, as well. As a member of The Famous Flames, Brown’s career initiated an important upswing. The fast increase of acknowledgements Brown and The Famous Flames achieved was especially due to the repercussion some specific singles had in the public, like “Please, Please, Please” and “Try Me”. James Brown’s outstanding performing talent on the stage made him receive more attention.

Later on, Brown decided to start producing music independently. His career reached its apogee after he started to release singles made by his own, even though he collaborated with The Famous Flames to produce some albums, like “Live at the Apollo”. Anyways, he is more recognized for other singles produced on his own; for example, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, which were well received by the public. The first song (Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag) reached the Top 10 zone in the Billboard Hot 100 list. Another successful single was “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, which is probably his most recognized song of all.

In the first years of the 70’s decade, Brown had already established funk as a new music genre. One of the songs (among others) that popularized funk was “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine”.

All these highly successful singles and collaborations in which he participated made him earn the seventh position in the Rolling Stone music magazine list of its selection of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Besides, he was awarded with several prestigious awards due to his great career. For instance, he was one of the first to be inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and, also, inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame; both acknowledgements took place back in the 80’s. James Brown was also awarded with a star of his own in the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997.