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RIP James Brown, Rare Lou & Nico, Cats Power & Stevens, and a Giant Squid   Printer-friendly page   Send this story to someone
Tuesday, December 26, 2006 - 08:00 AM
Posted by: kbade



JAMES BROWN -- "The Godfather of Soul," "The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business," "Soul Brother Number o­ne," and "The Minister of New New Super Heavy Funk" -- passed away in the early hours of Christmas Day of heart failure after being hospitalized with pneumonia. Everyone from the Rev. Al Sharpton (who toured with Brown in the 70s) to Little Richard to Pres. Bush paid tribute to the man who was to rhythm and dance music what Bob Dylan was to lyrics. His rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson, among others. Songs such as David Bowie's "Fame," Prince's "Kiss," George Clinton's "Atomic Dog" and Sly and the Family Stone's "Sing a Simple Song" were clearly based o­n Brown's rhythms and vocal style. You could build a case that Brown is also the "Godfather of Disco," the "Godfather of Rap" and the "Godfather of Funk" because his electrifying beats powered many of those genres. Or as Brown himself put it, "I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know."

Born in 1933, JB grew up in a house of ill repute and learned to sing gospel in reform school after breaking into a car in 1949. Following his release, he joined a group led by Bobby Byrd that would eventually became the Flames. Brown started o­n drums and shared vocals with others, but soon became the frontman with his trademark frenetic dance moves. Decades of hits would follow 1956's "Please Please Please," including 1962's "Night Train," 1964's "Out of Sight," 1965's o­ne-two punch of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag (Part I)" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)" and 1966's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World." (here's more live JB circa 1966.) From there, he would o­nly get funkier, with tracks like "Cold Sweat," "Mother Popcorn" and "Say it Loud

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