Today In History: James Brown Is Born
Today in 1933, James brown, the influential singer, songwriter, dancer and producer, was born. He was one of the most popular and most celebrated musicians in American history, who was fondly called the “Godfather of Soul.” His style influenced multiple genres.
Brown got his start in music as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. This parlayed into a gig as lead singer of the Gospel Starlighters, an R&B group founded by Bobby Byrd. In the late fifties, Brown became famous for his work with The Famous Flames, who would later be known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra.
The Sixties saw his celebrity really take off. He produced the hits he’s still most closely associated with in this period, including “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.”
In the late Sizties, Brown’s style, taking on much more pronounced African musical influences. The style was highly influential in the burgeoning genre of funk music. The genre crystalized around Brown hits in the early Seventies like “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” and “The Payback.” His music also became more political, like the song “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.”
During his career, Brown, released seventeen #1 singles on the Billboard R&B charts. Brown also still holds the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 singles that weren’t number one. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone named him #7 on its list of 100 greatest musical artists of all time.
James Brown died of pneumonia in 2006.