James Brown (May 3, 1933 - December 25, 2006) was a highly acclaimed and influential R&B/soul/funk singer, songwriter, dancer, bandleader, multi-instrumentalist, and producer with trademark raw, forceful vocals and a dynamic performing style who became famous beginning in the mid 1950s. His commercial fame peaked during the 1960s with such smashes as "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" (1965), "I Got You (I Feel Good)" (1965), "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" (1966), "Cold Sweat" (1967), and the socially-conscious "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud" (1968). As one of the 20th century's top acts in popular music, Brown has inspired such veteran artists as Aerosmith, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, and Mick Jagger, along with Afrika Bambaataa, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Public Enemy, and other more contemporary performers.
Born in Barnwell, South Carolina in a poor family and raised in Augusta, Georgia, he performed in talent shows as a child and began singing gospel music at age 16 while serving time in a juvenile detention center after being convicted of armed robbery. With the help of singer Bobby Byrd and his family, Brown got an early release and in 1954 joined Byrd's group, then known as The Avons. By 1956, they had become known as The Famous Flames, with Brown as lead singer, and were signed to Federal, a subsidiary of King Records. Brown also began recording solo in the mid 1960s, and James Brown & The Famous Flames continued through 1968 before finally disbanding. He later formed the J.B.s and also recorded under The James Brown Soul Train and other monikers.
James Brown debuted in 1956 on the R&B charts with the pleading "Please, Please, Please," which became a Top 5 hit and a million seller and later re-emerged on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1964. This smash was followed by the romantic ballad, "Try Me" (1958), which became the first of a whopping 17 songs to top the R&B charts. Among Brown's greatest Pop/Rock crossover successes were "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag Part I" (1965), "I Got You (I Feel Good)" (1965), "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" (1966), "Cold Sweat - Part 1" (1967), "I Got The Feelin'" (1968), "Licking Stick - Licking Stick (Part 1)" (1968), "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud (Part 1)" (1968), "Mother Popcorn (You Got To Have A Mother For Me) Part 1" (1969), "Super Bad (Part 1 & Part 2)" (1970), "Get On The Good Foot-Part 1" (1972), "The Payback - Part I" (1974), "Get Up Offa That Thing" (1976), and "Living In America" (1985). The latter hit as performed by Brown was featured in "Rocky IV" (1985) starring Sylvester Stallone.
In a career that spanned over a half century, James Brown was a major shaping force of soul, gospel, R&B, funk, disco, rap, hip-hop, and many other genres. He was among the first group of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees at its inaugural ceremony in 1986, and his numerous other honors and accolades included a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award (1992) and being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (2000), the UK Music Hall of Fame (2006), the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame (2013, 2017), and the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame (2021).
RELATED BANDS AND ARTISTS
- For more info about James Brown, visit jamesbrown.com.
Disclosure: The following links will take you to various online merchants outside of allbutforgottenoldies.net that sell recordings and other merchandise for the performing artist featured on this page. Please note that these are referral or affiliate links from which allbutforgottenoldies.net may receive, at no additional cost to you, a commission if you should make any purchases through them.
James Brown performs "Please Please Please" on The Ed Sullivan Show (October 30, 1966).
To listen to a song clip, click any song title that has a speaker icon. This will take you to a list of links to CD and/or MP3 product pages from one or more online merchants that have sound samples.
James Brown Soul Train
- Honky Tonk - Part 1 1972
(This instrumental song was previously a hit for Bill Doggett (1956, 1961) and Lonnie Mack (1965).)
- Ain't It Funky Now (Part 1) 1969
- Bewildered 1961
(This song was previously a hit for Mickey & Sylvia (1958).)
- Bring It Up 1967
- Brother Rapp (Part 1) & (Part 2) 1970
- Cold Sweat - Part 1 1967
- Escape-ism (Part 1) 1971
- Get It Together (Part 1) 1967
- Get On The Good Foot-Part 1 1972
- Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved Pt. 1 1971
- Get Up I Feel Like Being Like A Sex Machine (Part 1) 1970
(A new and longer version of this song charted in 1975.)
- Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose 1969
- Goodbye My Love 1968
- Hot Pants Pt. 1 (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants) 1971
- I Can't Stand Myself (When You Touch Me) 1967
- I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open The Door, I'll Get It Myself) 1969
- I Got Ants In My Pants - Part 1 and I want to dance 1973
- I Got The Feelin' 1968
- I Got You (I Feel Good) 1965
- I'm A Greedy Man - Part I 1971
- It's A Man's Man's Man's World 1966
- It's A New Day (Part 1) & (Part 2) 1970
- King Heroin 1972
- Let A Man Come In And Do The Popcorn Part One 1969
- Part Two (Let A Man Come In And Do The Popcorn) 1969
- Licking Stick - Licking Stick (Part 1) 1968
- Make It Funky (Part 1) 1971
(Another version of this song was recorded by James Brown, "My Part/Make It Funky-Part 3," which also became a hit (1971).)
- Mother Popcorn (You Got To Have A Mother For Me) Part 1 1969
- My Thang 1974
- Night Train 1962
(This song was previously a hit for the Viscounts (1960) and Richard Hayman (1961).)
- Out Of Sight 1964
- Papa Don't Take No Mess Part I 1974
- Papa's Got A Brand New Bag Part I 1965
(This song later also became a hit for Otis Redding (1969).)
- The Payback - Part I 1974
- Please, Please, Please 1964
(This song first became a hit on the R&B charts in 1956.)
- The Popcorn 1969
- Prisoner Of Love 1963
- Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud (Part 1) 1968
(This is a mostly spoken song in which the title is repeated throughout.)
- Soul Power Pt. 1 1971
- Super Bad (Part 1 & Part 2) 1970
- Talking Loud And Saying Nothing - Part I 1972
- There Was A Time 1968
(This song also became a hit for Gene Chandler (1968).)
- Think 1960
(This song was previously a hit for the "5" Royales (1957), and Brown later charted with two longer versions in 1967 and 1973. Vicki Anderson & James Brown also had a hit with another version in 1967.)
- Try Me 1958
(This song later also became a hit for Jimmy Hughes (1964) and recharted for James Brown (1965).)
Previous Artist | Next Artist