It was during the Great Depression on May 3, 1933 that James Joseph Brown, Jr. was born in Barnwell, South Carolina. Twenty years later he would begin a music career as a singer that would propel him into stardom as the “Godfather of soul.”
Known as the hardest working man in show business, James Brown is renowned for his exciting live performances with a regimen of spins, foot work unequaled and a trademark show ender of his being led off stage, breaking loose and returning again and again to the delight of audiences.
Starting with “Please, Please, Please” in 1956, James Brown dominated the R&B charts with more than one hundred hits, seventeen reaching #1 including “Try Me “I’m Proud,” “Make It Funky,” “Get On The Good Foot,” “My Thang,” “Talking Loud And Saying Nothing,” “The Payback” and Papa Don’t Take No Mess.” James Brown’s “PaPa’s Got A Brand New Bag,” “Cold Sweat,” “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “I Got You, I Feel Good,” “I Got The Feelin’,” “Say It Loud” and “Living In America” topped the R&B charts and were also top ten on the pop Hit Parade.
A singer, songwriter, band leader, record producer and showman, James Brown was a major force in popularizing R&B and soul music. He inspired super star performers such as Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. James Brown lived in a riverfront home on Beech Island, South Carolina, overlooking the Savannah River and Augusta.
At 73 years of age James Brown died of heart failure on Christmas morning, 2006, while hospitalized for treatment of pneumonia.
A charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a Grammy Winner and honored by the Kennedy Center, James Brown was also inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2007.