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Brown was born on May 3, , in Barnwell, South Carolina, Brown's name was supposed to have been Joseph James Brown Jr.
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In December Brown was diagnosed with prostate cancer, which was successfully treated with surgery. His latest shows were still greeted with positive reviews. Brown was admitted to the Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on December 24 after a dentist visit where he was found to have severe pneumonia.

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James was quoted saying "I'm going away tonight" sometime before he passed away. He then took three long, quiet breaths, and closed his eyes.

James Brown Images

A private ceremony was held in Brown's hometown of Augusta, Georgia and another public ceremony was officiated by Rev. Al Sharpton, a day later at the James Brown Arena there. Brown was married four times—to Velma Warren —, divorced , Deidre "Deedee" Jenkins —, divorced , Adrienne Lois Rodriguez —, until her death and Tomi Rae Hynie —, until his death. Brown also had eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Brown's eldest son, Teddy, died in a car crash in Brown's personal life was marked by several brushes with the law, often stemming from marital conflicts and illegal drugs.

At the age of 16, was arrested for theft and served three years in prison. Adrienne Rodriegues, his third wife, had him arrested four times on charges of assault between the mids and mids. Brown also served three years of a six-year jail sentence after he led police on a car chase across the Georgia-South Carolina border in , an incident disputed by Brown himself and subsequently investigated by the FBI for civil rights violations.

He was convicted of carrying an unlicensed pistol and assaulting a police officer, along with various drug-related and driving offenses. On July 3, , the police were summoned to Brown's residence after he was accused of charging an electric company repairman with a steak knife when the repairman visited Brown's house to investigate a complaint about having no lights at the residence.

In , Brown was pardoned for past crimes that he was convicted of committing in South Carolina. During the s and s, Brown was repeatedly arrested for drug possession and domestic violence. Adrienne Rodriguez, his third wife, had him arrested four times between the mids and mids on charges of assault. James Brown is a towering figure in American music. As the critic Robert Palmer put it:. The horns played single-note bursts that were often sprung against the downbeats.

The bass lines were broken into choppy two- or three-note patterns… Brown's rhythm guitarist choked his guitar strings against the instrument's neck so hard that his playing began to sound like a jagged tin can being scraped with a pocket knife. In this way James Brown's music, heavy on syncopation and groove, was one of the foundations of funk music, but also marks him as one of the key forefathers of hip hop and modern dance music genres. In a very direct example of his influence, early hip hop artists, who relied upon the practice of 'sampling,' taking a snippet of another song and looping it as a backing to rap over used samples from Brown's songs extensively.


Remembering James- The Life and Music of James Brown comes to E. Hollywood

In fact, Brown is often cited and generally accepted as the most sampled artist of all time though the claim is hard to quantify. Despite his prowess as a musical performer, Brown never learned to read music.

He developed his repertoire in close association with the members of his band, who were predominantly jazz-trained musicians with a working knowledge of music theory. As his former bandleader Fred Wesley recalled:. It would have been impossible for James Brown to put his show together without the assistance of someone like Pee Wee Ellis , who understood chord changes, time signatures, scales, notes, and basic music theory.

Simple things like knowing the key would be a big problem for James….

This vivid new book charts the dazzling contradictions in the life of the Godfather of Soul

The whole James Brown Show depended on having someone with musical knowledge remember the show, the individual parts, and the individual songs, then relay these verbally or in print to the other musicians. Brown could not do it himself. He spoke in grunts, groans, and la-di-das, and he needed musicians to translate that language into music and actual songs in order to create an actual show.

James Brown was able to sell millions of records over the course of his long and distinguished career, and yet never recorded a single that reached number one on the Billboard Hot chart the main pop singles chart. In fact, Brown holds the record for the artist who has charted the most singles on the Billboard Hot without ever hitting number one on that chart.

James Brown has received numerous prestigious music industry awards and honors. Brown was a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors in The Swanees shifted toward the popular mids doo-wop style and away from gospel, changing their name to the Famous Flames. Brown sang lead and played drums; their song "Please, Please, Please"—a wrenchingly passionate number in which Brown wailed the titular word over and over—was released as a single in and became a million-seller.

By the group had become the James Brown Revue and was generating proto-funk dance hits like " Do the Mashed Potato. In the meantime, he signed with the Mercury subsidiary Smash Records and released a string of mostly instrumental albums, on which he often played organ. Brown's declamatory style mixed a handful of seminal influences, but his intensity and repertoire of punctuating vocal sounds—groans, grunts, wails, and screams—came right out of the southern church. His exhortations to sax player Maceo Parker to "blow your horn," and trademark cries of "Good God!

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The fire of his delivery was fanned by his amazingly agile dancing, without which Michael Jackson's fancy foot-work is unimaginable. And his band—though its personnel shifted constantly—maintained a reputation as one of the tightest in the business. Starting and stopping on a dime, laying down merciless grooves, it followed Brown's lead as he worked crowds the world over into a fine froth. At the same time, Brown's harshness as a leader meant that bandmembers were constantly facing fines for lateness, flubbed notes, missed cues, violating his strict dress code, or even for talking back to him.

His musicians also complained of overwork and insufficient pay, and some alleged that Brown took credit for ideas they had developed. The singer-bandleader's temper is legendary; as trombonist Fred Wesley told Living in America author Cynthia Rose, "James was bossy and paranoid. I didn't see why someone of his stature would be so defensive. I couldn't understand the way he treated his band, why he was so evil. Charles Shaar Murray ventured in his book Crosstown Traffic that "playing with James Brown was a great way to learn the business and to participate in the greatest rhythm machine of the sixties.

It was a very poor way to get rich, to get famous, or to try out one's own ideas.

The Godfather of Soul: An Autobiography by James Brown

The increasingly militant stance of many black activists in the late s led Brown—by now among an elite group of influential African Americans—to flirt with the "Black Power" movement. Even so, the singer generally counseled nonviolence and won a commendation from President Lyndon B. Johnson when a broadcast of his words helped head off a race riot. He was a walking example of this principle, having gained control of his master tapes by the mids.

James Brown may have been one of the biggest pop stars in the world—the marquees labeled him "Minister of New New Super Heavy Funk"—but he was not immune to trouble. His band quit after a punishing tour of Africa, and most tragically, his son Teddy died in an automobile accident. Brown's wife later left him, taking their two daughters. By the late s, the advent of disco music created career problems for the Godfather of Soul. Though he dubbed himself "The Original Disco Man a.

The Sex Machine ," he saw fewer and fewer of his singles charting significantly. Things improved slightly after he appeared as a preacher in the smash comedy film The Blues Brothers, and he demonstrated his importance to the burgeoning hip-hop form with Unity The Third Coming , his EP with rapper Afrika Bambaataa. But Brown's big comeback of the s came with the release of "Living in America," the theme from the film Rocky IV, which he performed at the request of star Sylvester Stallone. The single was his first million-selling hit in 13 years.

The two married in and had three sons together.

They remained married for 16 years before finally filing for divorce in The two remained friends until he died. He married for the third time in This time to a woman named Adrienne Lois Rodriguez. Though the relationship was also riddled with rumors of abuse, Rodriguez and Brown never divorced. Instead, the marriage ended when she died in