James Brown

James Brown


5/3/1933, Barnwell, South Carolina, USA



Birth Name

James Joseph Brown



Also Known As

Godfather of Soul
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James Brown is internationally known under the pseudonyms of "The Godfather of Soul", "Soul Brother# 1", and "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business." Amongst the most influential entertainers of his time, Brown's music is partly responsible for the Rap revolution as it is to this day. Brown…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • James' original backing group, The Famous Flames, were former band mates of Little Richard.

    • James Brown's albums, Live at the Apollo, In the Jungle Groove, Star Time and 20 All-Time Greatest Hits! were listed in the Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

    • Two of James Brown's songs, "Funky President" and "The Payback" can be heard on a fictional radiostation in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

    • In 1982, James Brown was the subject of the Tom Tom Club's song, "Genius of Love."

    • In 1992, a news anchor mistakenly reported that James Brown had died. A sample of that broadcast became the basis for the song "James Brown Is Dead."

    • In 1974, James Brown performed in Zaire as part of the build up to "The Rumble in the Jungle" fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman.

    • James' entire band walked out on him in 1969, citing his being "too difficult to work with." He replaced them with the Pacemakers, a band from Cincinnati, that stayed with him through the 1970s.

    • James Brown suffered from diabetes and prostate cancer that was in remission.

    • James Brown was known for always wearing tight pants, eye makeup and outrageous hair styles.

    • James had a bronze statue in his likeness dedicated to him on May 6, 2005 in Augusta, Georgia, at Augusta Common on Broad Street.

    • According to James' friend, Charles Bobbit, his last words before dying were "I'm going away tonight." A short time later, James Brown sighed quietly, closed his eyes and died.

    • James' widow, Tomi Raye Brown, says she has been locked out of the mansion she shared with the singer and their five-year-old son, saying the gate has been padlocked at the request of James' lawyer and accountant. Tomi was at a retreat when James died shortly after he was hospitalised in Atlanta.

    • James had an electronic doll with motion made after him, 'Singin, Dancin' James Brown,' that would sing his hit "I Feel Good" with the mouth moving to the words and head and body moving to sound of the music.

    • James made his mainland China debut on February 22, 2006 at a People's Liberation Army acrobatics theatre.

    • James was inducted into the UK Hall Of Fame on November 15, 2006.

    • James owned his own radio station, WAAW, in Augusta, Georgia.

    • Despite his many legal troubles, James Brown toured consistently, reaffirming his reputation as "the hardest working man in show business."

    • James Brown found out that he had pneumonia while he was at his dentist.

    • James would play Santa in a red suit and cowboy boots for needy children in Augusta, GA.

    • Only three days before James Brown's death, he joined volunteers at his annual toy giveaway in Augusta, and he planned to perform on New Year's Eve at B.B. King Blues Club in New York.

    • James donated Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas toys, at last count in 2006 being 3,000 turkeys and 20,000 Christmas toys.

    • James campaigned against violence in schools and wrote a song about it, "Killing's Out and School's In."

    • James sponsored numerous literacy programs and sang "Don't Be A Drop-out" in a 1966 campaign to keep kids in school.

    • James Brown wrote a book called The Godfather Of Soul, James Brown.

    • James' body was displayed in repose at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, on December 29, 2006, before his public and private funerals.

    • James comes in 2nd behind Elvis Presley for most hit singles records in their career.

    • James Brown was laid to rest in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia.

    • James had 116 hits on the Billboard Top 100 Rhythm and Blues chart in his career.

    • James Brown's public funeral service was held on December 30, 2006 at the 8,500-seat arena bearing his name in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Reverend Al Sharpton officiated.

    • James Brown had more than 120 charting singles and recorded more than 50 albums.

    • On October 1, 1957, James started honoring pending tour dates for Little Richard, who'd left rock and roll for religion.

    • James Brown dropped out of school when he was fifteen.

    • Every record that James Brown made during 1960-77 reached the top 100 on the Billboard Chart.

    • In 1968 to help ease the tension in the days following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., James Brown went on the air at a Boston radio station and sang through the night in an effort to defuse riots.

    • In 1991, the musical group The Netherlands released three songs about James Brown called "James Brown Is Dead," "James Brown is Still Alive," and "Who the F*** is James Brown?"

    • In 1996, James Brown's wife, Adrienne Rodriguez, died of a heart attack shortly after having plastic surgery. She mixed PCP with her prescription medications.

    • James performed with M.C. Hammer in an HBO network special on September 20, 1991, named after Hammer's album Too Legit To Quit.

    • James appeared and sang in a McDonalds commercial in 1984.

    • In 2000, James Brown performed at the World Championship Wrestling pay-per-view event SuperBrawl X. He danced alongside wrestler Ernest "The Cat" Miller.

    • In 1993, Augusta mayor Charles DeVaney held a ceremony honoring James Brown. During the ceremony, Augusta's 9th Street was renamed "James Brown Boulevard."

    • James Brown didn't know how to read sheet music.

    • When James Brown was sixteen, he was convicted of armed robbery and sent to a juvenile detention center.

    • James Brown was an outspoken activist on behalf of African Americans and the poor.

    • James Brown could play the organ, piano, keyboards, drums, and guitar.

    • James Brown was a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer.

    • In 1998, James Brown was hospitalized for treatment for addiction to painkillers.

    • James Brown was married to Verma Warren from 1954 until 1969. He was then married to Deidre Jenkins from 1971 until 1981. He later was married to Adrienne Rodriguez from 1984 until her death in 1996. Finally he was married to Tomi Raye Hynie from 2002 until the marriage was annulled in 2004. They we remarried again shortly after and remained married until his death.

    • In January of 2004, James Brown was arrested for allegedly pushing his wife. Not long after, he filed for an annulment of their marriage.

    • Entertainment Weekly voted James Brown as the seventh greatest Rock 'n' Roll artist of all time.

    • During James Brown's concerts, he was so wild and energitic, that he would lose several pounds during a performance.

    • In 2004, James Brown had surgery for prostate cancer.

    • James Brown was married four times.

    • James Brown has several nicknames like "The Godfather of Soul," "The Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk," "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business," "Soul Brother Number One," "Mr. Dynamite," and "The Godfather of Funk."

    • In 1993, MC Hammer presented James Brown with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards.

    • James Brown's first number one hit was "Try Me."

    • In 1953, James Brown joined the Gospel Starlighters, which was a vocal quartet led by Bobby Byrd.

    • James Brown has six children named James Jr., Deanna, Terry, Daryl, Venisha, and Yamma.

    • James was friends with Elvis Presley.

    • James has a recording star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1501 Vine Street.

    • James had his real eyebrows shaved off and false ones tattooed on him in 1991.

    • James received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1992.

    • James holds the record for the performer who has had the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 without ever hitting #1. He has had 96 top 100 hits.

    • James served twenty six months of a 6-year prison sentence after leading police on a high-speed chase from Georgia to South Carolina in 1988.

    • James has an arena named after him, in Augusta, Georgia.

    • James tried out boxing and baseball before going into music as a career.

    • In 1987, James was arrested for drug abuse for the fifth time in 10 months. His wife, Adrienne Rodriegues, had him charged with assault and battery, and he was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to six years in jail. After spending 15 months in jail in Columbia, South Carolina, he was moved to a reintegration centre. It was there that he produced radio and television advertisements warning against alcohol and drug abuse.

    • James' Grammy award-winning song "Living in America" was used for the 1986 movie, Rocky IV. The song reached #4 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.

    • James formed a gospel group while in prison at 16-years of age for armed robbery.

    • James' music is featured on the videogame Driver: Parallel Lines (2006).

    • James composed the soundtracks for Black Caesar (1973) and Slaughter's Big Rip-Off (1973).

    • James received Kennedy Center honors in 2003.

    • James was one of the first inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1986.

    • James was 5 feet 6 inches tall.

    • James Brown rider demands include getting a granny-style hood hair dryer to set his bouffant hair. James asked organizers of the Berkeley Square Ball to get him one so he could perform at the charity gig. The staff were finally able to get one from e-Bay.

  • Quotes

    • James: Like Christ said, love thee one another. I learned to do that, and I learned to respect and be appreciative and thankful for what I had.

    • James: I was stillborn. The midwives laid me aside, thought I was really gone. I laid there about an hour, and they picked me back up and tried again, 'cause my body was still warm. The Good Lord brought me back.

    • James: We need to protect the kids by giving them something to do, ... (It's about) making them interested, making them love mom and dad more, love the family more, love themselves more and love their school. So there won't have to be killing in school."

    • James Brown: I got a mixed group: white, black, oriental, Latino. I got them all. I always did try to work my bands that way. They thought I was always for the blacks. But I'm for everybody.

    • James Brown: It doesn't matter how you travel it, it's the same road. It doesn't get any easier when you get bigger, it gets harder. And it will kill you if you let it.

    • James Brown: I don't really care what people think, I just do my own thing. I like being loud and letting people know I'm there.

    • James Brown: (referring to his diagnosis of prostate cancer) I have overcome a lot of things in my life. I will overcome this as well.

    • James Brown: I feel very thankful to God when I see others copying my music. It makes me feel good and lets the common kid on the street know he can make it.

    • James Brown: Everybody's got soul! Everybody doesn't have the same culture to draw from, but everybody's got soul.

    • (about his song "Killing's Out, School's In")
      James Brown: We need to come forward to save our country and our kids. I could care less about the record. If you say you're already into that, you can throw the record away. But we've got to save these children. That's what's important.

    • James Brown: I want to say to the young kids: Education may be hard today, but if you go through it today, tomorrow will be easy. If you don't go through it today, tomorrow will be harder.

    • James Brown: Sometimes you struggle so hard to feed your family one way, you forget to feed them the other way, with spiritual nourishment. Everybody needs that.

    • James Brown: I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know.

    • James Brown: When I'm on stage, I'm trying to do one thing: bring people joy. Just like church does. People don't go to church to find trouble, they go there to lose it.

    • (about his song "Say It Loud — I'm Black and I'm Proud")
      James Brown: I clearly remember we were calling ourselves colored, and after the song, we were calling ourselves black. The song showed even people to that day that lyrics and music and a song can change society.

    • James Brown: (talking about Elvis Presley) I wasn't just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There'll never be another like that soul brother.

    • James Brown: Say it loud...I'm black and I'm proud!

    • James Brown: I've outdone anyone you can name--Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Strauss. Irving Berlin, he wrote 1,001 tunes. I wrote 5,500.

    • James Brown: The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing.

    • James Brown: Disco is James Brown, hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown; you know what I'm saying? You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me.

  • you are a legond you can tell by your name "The Godfather of soul"

    we all love you and your music you been around for a long time and i remember when my nana told me about your first show ever in the appollo it was hard for all of how you died and we will all miss you and we all wish you were here with us so we can get more songs but we all know GOD wanted you and we all know he took a good angel and you change the whole black commity