James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American singer, songwriter, dancer, musician, record producer and bandleader. A progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music dance, he is often referred to by the honorific nicknames "Godfather of Soul", "Mr. Dynamite", and "Soul Brother No. 1". In a career that lasted over 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres. Brown was one of the first ten inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction dinner in New York on January 23, 1986.Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He first came to national public attention in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of The Famous Flames, a rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd. With the hit ballads "Please, Please, Please" and "Try Me", Brown built a reputation as a tireless live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. His 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 (I Feel Good)" 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, emphasizing stripped-down and interlocking rhythms, 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". He also became noted 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 until his death from pneumonia in 2006.Brown recorded 17 singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts. He also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart which did not reach No. 1. Brown was inducted into the first class of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013 as an artist and then in 2017 as a songwriter. He also received honors from several other institutions, including inductions into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn's analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, Brown is ranked No. 1 in The Top 500 Artists. He is ranked No. 7 on Rolling Stone's list of its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
At the end of his life, James Brown lived in Beech Island, South Carolina, directly across the Savannah River from Augusta, Georgia. Brown had diabetes that went undiagnosed for years, according to his longtime manager Charles Bobbit. In 2004, Brown was successfully treated for prostate cancer. Regardless of his health, Brown maintained his reputation as the "hardest working man in show business" by keeping up with his grueling performance schedule.In 1962, Tammi Terrell joined the James Brown Revue. Brown became sexually involved with Terrell even though she was only 17 in a relationship that continued until she escaped his abuse. Bobby Bennett, former member of the Famous Flames, told Rolling Stone about the abuse he witnessed: "He beat Tammi Terrell terrible", said Bennett. "She was bleeding, shedding blood." Terrell, who died in 1970, was Brown's girlfriend before she became famous as Marvin Gaye's singing partner in the mid-Sixties. "Tammi left him because she didn't want her butt whipped", said Bennett, who also claimed he saw Brown kick one pregnant girlfriend down a flight of stairs.
Brown was born on May 3, 1933, in Barnwell, South Carolina, to 16-year-old Susie (née Behling; 1916–2004) and 21-year-old Joseph Gardner Brown (1912–1993) in a small wooden shack. Brown's name was supposed to have been Joseph James Brown Jr., but his first and middle names were mistakenly reversed on his birth certificate. He later legally changed his name to remove "Jr." In his autobiography, Brown stated that he had Chinese and Native American ancestry and that his father was of mixed African American and Native American descent, while his mother was of mixed African American and Asian descent. The Brown family lived in extreme poverty in Elko, South Carolina, which was an impoverished town at the time. They later moved to Augusta, Georgia, when James was four or five. His family first settled at one of his aunts' brothels. They later moved into a house shared with another aunt. Brown's mother eventually left the family after a contentious and abusive marriage and moved to New York. Brown spent long stretches of time on his own, hanging out in the streets and hustling to get by. He managed to stay in school until the sixth grade.He began singing in talent shows as a young child, first appearing at Augusta's Lenox Theater in 1944, winning the show after singing the ballad "So Long". While in Augusta, Brown performed buck dances for change to entertain troops from Camp Gordon at the start of World War II as their convoys traveled over a canal bridge near his aunt's home. He learned to play the piano, guitar, and harmonica during this period. He became inspired to become an entertainer after hearing "Caldonia" by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. In his teen years, Brown briefly had a career as a boxer. At the age of 16, he was convicted of robbery and sent to a juvenile detention center in Toccoa. There, he formed a gospel quartet with four fellow cellmates, including Johnny Terry. Brown met singer Bobby Byrd when the two played against each other in a baseball game outside the detention center. Byrd also discovered that Brown could sing after hearing of "a guy called Music Box", which was Brown's musical nickname at the prison. Byrd has since claimed he and his family helped to secure an early release, which led to Brown promising the court he would "sing for the Lord". Brown was released on a work sponsorship with Toccoa business owner S.C. Lawson. Lawson was impressed with Brown's work ethic and secured his release with a promise to keep him employed for two years. Brown was paroled on June 14, 1952. He would go on to work with both of Lawson's sons, and would come back to visit the family from time to time throughout his career. Shortly after being paroled he joined the gospel group the Ever-Ready Gospel Singers, featuring Byrd's sister Sarah.
Movies & TV shows
1 TV show
70 Years of Youth Revolt
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1968: A Year of War, Turmoil and Beyond
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Finding the Funk
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James Brown - The Man, The Music & The Message
He has his greatest live performances.
Mr. Dynamite - The Rise of James Brown
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The Night James Brown Saved Boston
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James Brown Live At The Boston Garden
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1 Movie · 1 TV show
Web Junk 20
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James Brown - Live In Montreux Jazz Festival 1981
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TV in Black: The First Fifty Years
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James Brown: Body Heat
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Clive Owen plays "The Driver," a man who goes from place to place (in BMW automobiles), hired by various clients to provide driving or other services.
James Brown: Soul Survivor
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It's Black Entertainment
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There is only one rule when working for Clark, and that is never touching his tuxedo. The suit may be more black belt than black tie when Jimmy wears it. Jimmy becomes a secret agent with an inexperie...
Beat the Devil
The driver drags the devil to get James Brown's soul.
The B.R.O.T.H.E.R.H.O.O.D. is fighting against a white organization that defends the values of the black people in North America. Gen was black, he was the Afro-American candidate. In Warren Boutwell'...
2 Movies · 1 TV show
Rhythm and Blues 40: A Soul Spectacular
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1 Movie · 2 TV shows
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Where Are They Now?
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James Brown: Live From The House Of Blues
The hardest working man in show business brings down the House of Blues with a live concert event in Las Vegas. Recorded with high definition equipment, James Brown's influential music, uninhibited st...
Blues Brothers 2000
Sister Mary's crusade to raise funds for a children's hospital is once again being spearheaded by Elwood, the lone "Blues Brother" who was finally released from prison. Once again hitting the road to ...
1 TV show
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1 Movie · 1 TV show
TFI Friday was an entertainment show broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom from 1996 to 2000. The show was produced by Ginger Productions, written by Danny Baker and hosted by Chris Evans, for ...
When We Were Kings
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Janet Jackson: Design of a Decade 1986/1996
A collection of Janet Jackson videos.
Cincinnati's Rock 'N Roll Legends
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1 TV show
Duckman: Private Dick/ Family Man is an American sitcom that aired from 1994 to 1997. The sitcom is based on a comic. The series was made for Paramount Network Television.
1 TV show
Charlie Rose is an American television interview show, with Charlie Rose as executive producer, executive editor, and host. The show is owned by Charlie Rose. The show began on September 30, 1991. It ...
1 Movie · 1 TV show
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Legends of Rock 'n' Roll
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2 TV shows
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James Brown - Live At Chastain Park
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After Apollo Creed was knocked out in an exhibition match by a big man from the Soviet Union, Rocky goes to Russia to avenge his defeat.
1 TV show
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James Brown: Live at Montreux
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1 TV show
The Kennedy Center Honors
Those who have contributed to American culture are honored by the Kennedy Center.
James Brown: Soul Train 1973-1974
All of James Brown's performances on Soul Train from 1973 to 1974.
The Midnight Special Legendary Performances 1974
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Slaughter's Big Rip Off
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James Brown: Love Power Peace
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1 Movie · 1 TV show
A rock band is sent to go on tour in Albania as a cover to find hostages in a remote castle held by communist enemies of the USA.
The Flip Wilson Show
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2 TV shows
The beach movies of the sixties are back, but not quite, but since Avalon, Hickman, and even Funicello appear in this one. You got it when you read snow instead of sand. The plot is somewhat inane, wi...
1 Movie · 2 TV shows
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The Hollywood Palace
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The T.A.M.I. Show
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1 TV show
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
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1 TV show
The Mike Douglas Show
The Mike Douglas Show is an American daytime television talk show hosted by Mike Douglas that originally aired only in the Cleveland area during much of its first two years on the air. It then went in...
1 TV show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show was hosted by Ed Sullivan. TV Guide ranked The Ed Sullivan Show #15 on their list of the 50 greatest TV shows of all time.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "James_Brown", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.