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The Godfather

Less than eight weeks ago, the Godfather was still getting on the good foot, still donning the royal robes, still answering to the name "Soul Brother Number One," still making professional critics weak at the knees.

James Brown, for a significant chunk of the pre-Internet pop culture era, was, along with Muhammad Ali, one of the two most famous men on the planet. Brown died a couple of hours ago, the victim of pneumonia, impossibly hard living, and the ravages of a cruel world.

He picked cotton and he played for presidents and kings. He was a bad guy and a godsend. He was celebrated for his powerful expressions of black pride and accused of being a retrograde shucker and jiver. He was arrested a dozen times on guns, drugs and sexual harassment charges. He was an inspiration to countless millions.

Like many other music fans, I knew I had to see the James Brown show at least once, and my first time came in Miami Beach in 1983, when Brown, then in a post-disco funk, played a hotel nightclub the size of a Metrobus. There weren't more than 150 people in the room, the stage was barely big enough to seat Brown's wonderfully big band, and the show was electric.

The Hardest Working Man in Show Business might have been flying on PCP, but as far as we were concerned, he was soaring on the music, and the wildly extended and overheated intro by his staff announcer, Danny Ray ("James Brown, Jaames Brown, Jaaa-aaaaaames Brown!")

"It is Star-Time!" and the 20-piece James Brown Revue is off and powering through the litany of hits. Really, there's nothing like it left now. Brown's stage show was a vestige of the big band era, a rock innovation and a grand old down home church service all in one.

Brown always had a Brand New Bag, whether it was soul, disco, rap or even a theme for a Rocky flick. In a Christmas pop culture season featuring a new Rocky sequel and "Dreamgirls," an evocation of a time that Brown more than any other single man created, the Godfather's influence is with us every day.

His was a showmanship that is out of favor these days--too expensive, too contrived, too joyful for the dour rulers of the hiphop universe, too universal for the niche-crazed executives of the music and radio industries.

But James Brown wasn't too anything for his fans across the globe. He wasn't much of an interview--the two times I had him on the phone, I failed to get anything of great note out of a man who had done far too many interviews and had retreated into a cocoon of cliches that I didn't know how to pierce--but on stage, he told us everything we wanted to know about transcending pain and reaching for the persona that could lift you to another place.

The "say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud" man was a showman to the end: You die on Christmas morning, and you're going to get the news ride of a lifetime. The man was out front every step of the way.

By Marc Fisher |  December 25, 2006; 8:10 AM ET
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Comments

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George W. Bush will forever be known as the man who was president when James Brown died.

Posted by: Ralph | December 25, 2006 10:31 AM

ONE OF THE GREATEST ENTERTAINERS OF ALL TIME GOD BLESS YOU JAMES BROWN YOU WILL BE MISSED BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN

Posted by: JEFF | December 25, 2006 10:45 AM

I had the pleasure of seeing James Brown in concert in 1974 at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre here in DC. It was the second concert I ever went to.

It rained and thunderstormed that day, but Brown told us in the audience, "If you want a show, I'll give you a show."

There were strobe lights and everything else that could have been dangerous, but The Godfather of Soul gave us a show I have never forgotten.

Posted by: digital_fightnews | December 25, 2006 10:51 AM

James Brown was one of the most important
figures in American music of the last century. From "Please Please
Please" to "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" to "Say It Loud, I'm Black and
I'm Proud" to "Sex Machine" and "Living in America." The man was Super-Soul and Super-Funk and Super-Bad.

Posted by: Steve Hoffman (WPFW) | December 25, 2006 11:01 AM

RIP...the Godfather of Funk will not be forgotten.

I will be attending the P-Funk show New Year's eve at DAR...I believe the band will be in rare form in light of the great man's passing.

Posted by: Silver Spring. | December 25, 2006 11:19 AM

It was fourty years ago,when I was a teenager I had listened him. I feel good...so nice,so good I gotta you..with my girl friend we used to listen him over and over again.Today I dont feel good...You shall be remembered forever The Godfather.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 25, 2006 11:42 AM

Personal problems (as we all have) aside...he was human with flaws like us all BUT he was "The Godfather of Soul" and we loved him!
He will be missed but his music and influence is here to stay.......

Posted by: Herman and Suzanne | December 25, 2006 11:52 AM

James Brown will be missed. His music inspired so many people, included me. When me and friends,are relaxing , or just sitting around looking down. We put on his music, and just seem as though it knock you to your feet. We all just go crazy with his music.Dancing our hearts out across the floor.His music is one of the kind, and can't be match with noone else. He will be miss, The Godfather of Decades.

Posted by: Erma Lee | December 25, 2006 11:55 AM

There we're many who entertained,but none like the King of Soul.James Brown was my hero in this life,we all make mistake's and he showed me that in this life you can achieve great things with hard work and dedication.We've lost an gaint of a man,not just black people,but all people.James Brown will forever mean so much too me and many like me for generation's.May he rest in peace and i look forward too seeing him in the resurrection.Get your rest soul brother NO.1

Posted by: Kenneth | December 25, 2006 12:01 PM

The Godfather of Soul is even now tap dancing his way through the pearly gates, entertaining Jesus on his birthday, singing "I Feel Good" as he brings his exceptional talent to Heaven. God bless you James--what you gave us through your entertainment and your contributions to race relations in American and throughout the world are unmeasurable. We miss and pray for you on this special day.

Posted by: Mike Ruzza | December 25, 2006 12:03 PM

JB will reign forever as "The Godfather of Soul".

Posted by: Renee | December 25, 2006 12:09 PM

I saw James Brown once at a concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin before I graduated from high school around 1963 or 1964. He was my soul brother and his music took full control of my soul. He inspired me during the riots of the 1960's because his message,"say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud" gave me great hope.
God rest your soul, brother Brown.

Posted by: ALICE LA PORTE | December 25, 2006 12:12 PM

I am saddened to hear about the passing of the legendary musician James Brown. He joins a too long list of great entertainers that have passed to early and left in their departure a void in the music industry. (Barry White, Rick James, Luther Vandross, more recently Gerald Levert(who while not as oleskool as his dad Eddie Levert of the Ojays,had a similar and equally soulful sound beyond his 40 years)! James Brown has shaped what we now know as soul music in so many ways, to say that he wil be missed alone is an understatement. He will live on through his music as well as in the memories of the people who loved his music. He was the best at what he did and I'm so sorry that he left, and on Christmas day at that! My condolences go to his family, friends,band,etc !

Posted by: Kai | December 25, 2006 12:21 PM

My first James Brown concert was 1969-70 in Raleigh, NC. The show was electric and I have never forgotten it. The showmanship, the band, the way he gave his all to that show was what was to be his signature for decades to come. A packed house stood and danced and grooved for a solid 2-3 hour show.

To the "Hardest Working Man In Show Business", thank you for the time you shared with us. You will be missed with much appreciation.

Posted by: TheTruStory | December 25, 2006 12:22 PM

I remember the lines wrapped around the corner of the Howard Theater when "The James Brown Revue" hit the city. It was a momentous occasion. RIP James Brown... God's got his famous spearhead for the greatest funk band of all time. Get Rick James and do the do that u do!

Posted by: iam2b | December 25, 2006 12:36 PM

James Brown was the greatest and hardest working man in show business.I saw his show 6 times thrugh the years and only wish I had seen him "One More Time"!
Long Live the King! There will never be another like him!

Posted by: Anonymous | December 25, 2006 12:44 PM

I just got STAR TIME! for Christmas -- how ironic that mere hours after I cracked open that extraordinary box set (which I've heard many times, just never owned until now) the creator himself would be elevated to that great funk orchestra in the sky. James, James, James -- you have pleased, pleased, pleased so many millions of us. Your life has been a gift to us all.

Enough Christmas carols -- "All aboard -- for NIGHT TRAIN!"

Posted by: Rodney Welch | December 25, 2006 12:56 PM

I'm sad to hear of James Brown's death. I remember my first ever concert ... James Brown was the headliner. There were three other acts but to this day I can't remember who. That's how blown away I was by his "personality". This was a man my parents loved and here I was ... dancing and singing along. God bless you James Brown.

Posted by: Barbara | December 25, 2006 1:06 PM

I am heartbroken that he is gone. I just saw him perform in Arcata CA in August. Full band, his wife singing back up, the same super tight band, his face was just glowing in the attention we gave him, screaming, dancing for 2 hours, what an incredible performer he is, he is surely with the angels today. My condolences to his family and friends.

Posted by: Susan Vandermeer | December 25, 2006 1:13 PM

Certainly an all-time great; he'll be remembered for his decades of funk (his first hit, "Please Please Please," came 50 years ago), but he was so much more than that. Check out a CD called "James Brown: Ballads," which contains his great "Prisoner Of Love" (the answer to the question, "What would a James Brown record in the Jackie Wilson style sound like?") as well as a variety of rarities (Brown always cited Billy Eckstine as an influence, and it's never more apparent than here). Thanks, JB.

Posted by: Vincent | December 25, 2006 1:34 PM

Christmas, 2006, and world loses one of the pioneering voices of funky soul. The man who made you get on the good foot, and made your soul groove when you where feeling low. James Brown brought pride, dedication, and civil dignity to Black America at a time when the world didn't feel we deserved it, and I'll always thank him for that. Now, taking center stage in soul heaven, the "Godfather of soul", James Brown!!!

Posted by: Tony B | December 25, 2006 1:35 PM

James Brown transformed the music of America. In terms of the development of popular musical style, he had the greatest and longest-lasting impact of anyone in the USA over the last 50 years. Soul, funk, disco, rap, and other types of music rely heavily on not only his reinterpretations of earlier black music, but also his personal innovation. I'm so glad I was able to interview him to gain insights into the creation of his music.

Mr. Brown: I hope that your importance in music history--and the history of America in general--will be fully realized in the future. We will miss you.

Posted by: Richard Ripani | December 25, 2006 1:41 PM

Just when (J)esus Christ was coming to the world, (J)ames Brown decided to leave. "Regrets", that he couldn't wait a little bit longer to welcome the gospel-singers' soul brother! When "Uncle Ray" (Charles) died, the other day, he was just over 70. And "JB", too.

Posted by: Nduka Uzuakpundu | December 25, 2006 2:10 PM

A great American has passed on. Thanks be to God for sending us the "Godfather of Soul". I am certain Mr. James Brown is in soul heaven now, singing with the angels.

Posted by: Erle Gooding | December 25, 2006 2:15 PM

I will never forget working on the staff at James Madison Univeristy to get James Brown to come to our convocation center for a concert...The man was awesome, just awesome...He show is in my top 5 concerts of all time. Thanks for all you did for music Mr. Soul brother.

Posted by: James Stallins, Jr. | December 25, 2006 2:16 PM

I was a just a kid born in 1958, right in the middle of the musical revolution that was happening in rock, r&b, and pop. I remember how the music table was being set by the Drifters to Chubby Checker to Joey Dee & and the Starlighters to Ray with "Georgia" and "Hit the Road, Jack" to the Everly Brothers. Then came the Beatles, who kicked that table over with the excitement of ideas pulled from all of those sources. James was an underground expolsion that had yet to become a force to be reckoned with until "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" and "I Feel Good". But when I heard "Cold Sweat" in 1967, I knew in my 9 year old psyche that this was James defining himself as a musical revelation! James destroyed the table and created a monumental testament of the power that music could generate within the soul. That horn syncopation and timing in the bridge still defies convention today, and Maceo Parker' sax solo will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck! I was forever caught up in the phenomenon that is James Brown from that time to this. "Black & Proud" is our anthem for sure, but the 2 songs that reverberate within my conscience are "I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothin'" and "Talkin' Loud & Sayin' Nothin'". They have been the catalyst for my entrepreneural endeavors and my preaching/teachings. James' influence will resonate within me until I leave the planet. He perservered, he gave us purpose, he was a Warrior, and a flawed man but a good person, as we all are. His body has left us, but his music gives us such a great legacy of his character and work that it will transcend ages and time. Thank you, James! I love, appreciate, and am grateful to you. My sincere condolences to the family and friends.

Posted by: Jeffrey Sumter | December 25, 2006 2:25 PM

saw him in 1972 or 1973 @ the international amplitheater in chi-town was something THE MAYOR and the city of chicago sponcered for us innercity youths

Posted by: rbufflospiritmtxn | December 25, 2006 2:33 PM

I am writing from Nigeria, West Africa. JB was (I can't believe I am saying WAS) but that's the reality...he has played his role on this stage. I wish he knew Jesus and accepted the lordship of christ! He died on Christmas day and that is no joke! I will miss him...he played a major role in forming my musical foundation. Truly a legend and Chuck D said, you can't get any funkier than JB, we still have a lot to sample from this brother...RIP soul brother!

Posted by: Fortune | December 25, 2006 2:37 PM

I am writing from Nigeria, West Africa. JB was (I can't believe I am saying WAS) but that's the reality...he has played his role on this stage. I wish he knew Jesus and accepted the lordship of christ! He died on Christmas day and that is no joke! I will miss him...he played a major role in forming my musical foundation. Truly a legend and Chuck D said, you can't get any funkier than JB, we still have a lot to sample from this brother...RIP soul brother!

Posted by: Fortune Ogechi Agomo | December 25, 2006 3:09 PM

I am writing from Nigeria, West Africa. JB was (I can't believe I am saying WAS) but that's the reality...he has played his role on this stage. I wish he knew Jesus and accepted the lordship of christ! He died on Christmas day and that is no joke! I will miss him...he played a major role in forming my musical foundation. Truly a legend and Chuck D said, you can't get any funkier than JB, we still have a lot to sample from this brother...RIP soul brother!

Posted by: Fortune Ogechi Agomo 'Recky D' | December 25, 2006 3:10 PM

In 1968 I caught the James Brown Revue in all it's glory at the fairgrounds in Springfield Mass. I was 17 & had been playing drums for about 5 years. The band was sporting African dress and big afros. After kicking butt for about two hours, James broke into his latest hit, "Mother Popcorn"....the place went OFF. Hoover Dam couldn't have generated that much electricity. By the end of the tune JB and Maceo were tradin licks, each squealin into the mic on alternating beats...and they wouldn't stop. Soon the place just erupted. Folks began jumping over rows of chairs toward the stage...the PA got louder & louder...the house lights came on...about 8 or 9 cops were suddenly on stage in front of the band and James, clubs drawn, keeping people off the stage. It was a near-riot...and James, Maceo, Clyde Stubblefield, Fred Wesley, and the rest were still back there KILLIN it as if it was the last gig on earth. James and the fellas had COMPLETELY turned this gig out. When it was finally over there was an arena full of steam...and at least 5,000 fans who got way more than their money's worth. It was a lesson in showbiz I'll never forget. God bless James Brown and probably the hottest band on the planet... Thanks for changing my life...Kenny Soule Queens, NYC

Posted by: Kenny Soule | December 25, 2006 3:24 PM

Back in the early 80's when I was a DJ at KROY radio in Sacramento...I had a chance to see James Brown at the Woodlake Inn. As I remember it, I believe he may have been in town to take care of some "personal business" and needed to take care of that before he could leave.
The room where I saw Brown in wasnt very big at all and I remember saying to my then wife, how surprised I was that JB would be playing a place like this. Not that it was a bad place, but I wouldnt have expected him to be playing there. The really great news is that room made it possible to sit up front, about 10 feet away from a legend. I looked forward to seeing him do that famous throw down with the mike stand, rotate on his toes, do a split, turn around and catch the mike stand just as it was coming back to him moment! Well---he MISSED catching the mike stand and it hit him in the chest, but, he recovered without missing a beat and I had the best time of my life. He will be missed and I can say that I saw him and was in the presence of greatness that day.

Posted by: Scott Mitchell | December 25, 2006 3:25 PM

I first saw James Brown perform in 1984 at a small student center at San Francisco State University - tix were $8! I thought he would approach such a small gig with a tiny band and a short show, but no! He had his full 13-piece band, and did a long set full of many hits, two costume changes, splits, the "Please, Please, Please" cape routine - the works!! The man always honored his audiences, no matter how small, and gave his all. We'll miss you, James.

Posted by: David Bergen | December 25, 2006 3:30 PM

"James Brown was truly the hardest working man in show business. "Say it Loud I'm Black and I'm Proud." Out of respect for yourself, James Brown and the millions of African Americans who came before us, Blacks should stop using the N Word and Say it Loud I'm Black and I'm Proud."

Posted by: African American Opinion.com | December 25, 2006 3:45 PM

he is gettin down with the saints and angels now.another great one gone!dean martin went on christmas of 95.now there up there makin music. jb was the best!!!

Posted by: george | December 25, 2006 3:51 PM

When we went to "House Parties" on Friday and Saturday nights, there was a whole lotta sweat, wall to wall bodies and serious "throw down" music...However, the party didn't really get started until James Brown's Music. Then, the Whole house would erupt, boodies would get to shakin' and everyone from blocks around would start to dance. James Brown was THE MAN, & he will really be missed.

Posted by: James B, San Bernardino, Ca | December 25, 2006 4:05 PM

I first saw JB at the APollo when he and the Famous Flames were playing "baseball" to Good Good Lovin'. The GOOD LORD has the greatest R&B show of all time as HE has reunited SAM COOKE, JACKIE WILSON, and now

JAMES BROWN. Long live the king.

Posted by: RICHARD | December 25, 2006 4:32 PM

This white boy grew up in the 60s and 70s and listened to Rock-N-Roll music. You didn't have time to listen to soul or R&B. That was black music. Not Rock-N-Roll music.
Then after high school I went to a small liberal arts college and found out there was actually some other music than Rock-N-Roll. Someone turned me on to The Godfather of Soul. When CDs first came out the first one I bought was The CD of JB. Even my kids listen to him to this day.
When they woke up this morning, they were wondering why I was sitting in the den in the dark listening to James Brown instead of Christmas music.
Heaven needed some soul. They couldn't do much better than that...

Posted by: DrHardcrab | December 25, 2006 4:48 PM

James Brown! I grew up listening to those bass lines and those horns and waiting with anxious anticipation for the next release. When I finally heard it on the radio I was blown away. I saved up my pennies and bought my first 45 ;-). It was I Got You (I Feel Good). As I grew up and listened to music, the only thing I was satisfied with was a James Brown song. James Brown made life livable!

Posted by: Pat | December 25, 2006 5:04 PM

I don't feel good at all tonight because I am missing James Brown. "I Feel Good" never fails to bring me back up when I am down. Better go listen to it now. Miss you lots, may you now be at peace forever.

Posted by: bobbie williamson,Wilson NC | December 25, 2006 6:23 PM

The Godfather Of Soul, Soul Brother No.1, The Hardest Working Man In Show Business.....What else is there to be said? James Brown was a class act. There will never be another like him. His music and his legacy will forever live on. Long live The Godfather Of Soul. He had soul, and he was Super Bad!
-Tommie, Cincinnati

Posted by: Tommie | December 25, 2006 7:11 PM

I GREW UP DOING ALL OF JAMES BROWNS MOVES IN TALENT SHOWS AND ON STAGE, HE WAS MY IDOL. I EVEN EARNED THE NAME THE BABY GODFATHER OF SOUL. JAMES MAY YOU REST IN PEACE, BECAUSE YOUR FOOTWORK WILL FOREVER BE WITH ME,AND YOUR MUSIC WILL ALWAYS STILL BE PERFORMED ON STAGE BY ME.
RIP; JAMES BROWN
FROM; KID DYNAMITE

Posted by: KID DYNAMITE | December 25, 2006 7:18 PM

I GREW UP DOING ALL OF JAMES BROWNS MOVES IN TALENT SHOWS AND ON STAGE, HE WAS MY IDOL. I EVEN EARNED THE NAME THE BABY GODFATHER OF SOUL. JAMES MAY YOU REST IN PEACE, BECAUSE YOUR FOOTWORK WILL FOREVER BE WITH ME,AND YOUR MUSIC WILL ALWAYS STILL BE PERFORMED ON STAGE BY ME.
RIP; JAMES BROWN
FROM; KID DYNAMITE

Posted by: KID DYNAMITE | December 25, 2006 7:19 PM

James, soul brother no.1 made us all proud to be called black!and we are proud!

Posted by: Mr.NastytheLickmaster | December 25, 2006 7:29 PM

Saw James Brown live in a Coconut Grove theatre. The showman himself, with the red cape. Saw him at the jazz festival in the hague in 2004. but his music livens up nearly every day and my feet have to move and I dance. Thank you, James Brown, for the soul sound and the energy you gave to your music.

Posted by: Alice Wendt | December 25, 2006 7:41 PM

We are saddened by the passing of "The Godfather of Soul". James is now with his Heavenly Father.

Posted by: Helen | December 25, 2006 7:41 PM

Soul Brother Number One....an ambassador
of Brotherhood, an one man Funk coalition,
May his magnificent Soul, Rest In Peace.

Posted by: Michael Angelo Jauregui | December 25, 2006 7:44 PM

The first concert that I went to was James Brown in 1991. I was 19 years old and he gave a concert on Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base in San Diego where I was stationed--he gave a concert for those of us who were serving during the Persian Gulf War conflict. I still remember that night how much energy, soul, and passion James put into that performance. As I sat on a bleacher with the best pair of jeans and tennis shoes my military salary could afford me, James made me feel like a royal spectator that deserved to be entertained. I had grown up in the deep South and grew up with all kinds of music--Mr. Brown was just an 'understood' part of many Black families like mine. Hearing about his death early this morning left me stunned, and I still can't bring myself to write or think about him in the past tense. His spirit is and will always be so alive in the framework of that energy we get from listening to something from the soul and with soul--a music that transcends objectivity and makes us feel like we are connected. There is and will only be one James Brown. Thank you Brother James for blessing me with your gift, and I now rejoice that you have received your reward in Heaven today for being faithful in giving us so much happiness here on Earth. God bless you and your family! You will be missed...

Posted by: Feel Special Always | December 25, 2006 8:01 PM

our MCG(Augusta) medical school class had the sophomore parade during alumni week and our classmate John Hudson invited Mr. Brown to join us. I have a photo of John driving and James smiling in a sporty little white car maybe an Excalibur. Dr. John Hudson a Navy physician preceded James in death. He was killed in the Beirut Hilton bombing. John was our class choice as physician's physician. Two men each great in their field are fondly remembered. Pray for peace. Truly strong people help others.

Posted by: cm ungaro | December 25, 2006 8:24 PM

One month after my father passed away in 1965, I saw JB for the first time at the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia PA. It was like going to heaven myself; the performance utterly transcendant. Over the next 3 years I must've seen him over 3 dozen times. James Brown inspired and excited me and, along with the late great Ray Charles, taught this young white piano playing brother all about soul music. God bless James Brown.

Posted by: Jerry Forman | December 25, 2006 8:26 PM

James Brown we will always remember him, RIP brother.

Posted by: Steven | December 25, 2006 8:27 PM

In 1979 I was with the immortal BOB MARLEY in miami florida,along with a few of his inner circle of RASTAFARIAN brothers chilling before resuming a hectic tour schedule,not having a show that night, Bob was antsy and someone stated that JAMES BROWN was performing in FT LAUDERDALE, he told his manager to call the venue and get us about ten strong in..this was granted instantly, and we proceeded to ft lauderdale where one of my most pleasant memories was created..we got front row comps and JAMES acknowledged BOB MARLEY, then put on a show ill ever remember,the immortal man is among the greatest ever in a mystic way musically speaking. know that we do not die, but leave feeble bodies and fly.

Posted by: buckram2003 | December 25, 2006 8:58 PM

I had the pleasure of attending his concert the year 1970 in Albany GA at the age of 10; one of my older cousin took the time to take me to his show. The best show ever, there will never be a greater entertainer, or showman as the Godfather.
God Bless!!

Posted by: Curtis | December 25, 2006 9:09 PM

I'll forever remember " where I was when I heard " when JFK,John Lennon,Luther Vandross, etc ... now,... " The Hardest Working Man in Show Business, The Godfather of Soul, Mr. Please,Please,Please Man " I'll NEVER Forget your jams, style, and sound that Changed the world of music forever !! I'll always play and share your music and my son Robert, Jr. will also!!! ... RIP, GODFATHER !

Posted by: Robert from Dallas, Texas | December 25, 2006 9:56 PM

Mr. Brown had something nobody else ever had. Everybody could feel it when it was going down, but noone could ever duplicate it. He was a thousand year flood. A one of a kind, one-off enigma. Mr. Brown was and is as important to humanity as any man of any stature who ever lived. Praise to be God that this man will finally get the rest he so deserves.

Posted by: Jamie | December 25, 2006 11:26 PM

Damn! I know we all have to go, but James Brown could have stayed a little longer. His music was awesome and original. We'll miss ya!

Posted by: Liah | December 26, 2006 12:06 AM

It was the '60s and a 7-year-old me had become the owner of a transistor radio. Back then, a hot commodity. One day while rolling through the channels I came upon a sound unlike any I had ever heard before. James Brown's "There Was A Time"!! Absolutely bad-ass!! My mother was horrified to discover her little pasty-white-bread comfortably middle-class son listening to 'Neegrow music' and proceeded to suggest I turn the station to the whining strains of old-time Country music with Buck Owens & Marty Robbins and those boys. She even showed me how to change the station by doing it for me. As soon as she left my room I was back to the 'Neegrow' channel. My love for James Brown has never diminished in over 40 years. It will not diminish 40 years from now as I'm in my wheelchair bopping my wrinkled balding head to 'There Was A Place'. I shall forever be indebted to him for expanding my musical appreciation into 'Neegrow' music. It is, after all, where it all started, eh wot?

Posted by: Doug | December 26, 2006 12:21 AM

JAMES BROWN.

MAY HE REST IN PEACE.

THANK YOU FOR THE MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

We love you in Mexico too!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Pavel | December 26, 2006 12:22 AM

Oh yeah...addendum. Is there anywhere a more soul wrenching truth or more passionate vocal than 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World'?

Posted by: Doug (again) | December 26, 2006 12:29 AM

James Brown, the Godfather of soul was a musical genius and they broke the mold when he came upon the scene with Elvis in 1956. He set a genuine cultural movement which transcended all people black & white and brown & yellow across the planet. His God given musical talent and electrifying sound will never be forgotten. James you were a renaissance man. God accept him in heaven.

Posted by: G. H. Roller | December 26, 2006 1:05 AM

I remember when i was a little girl my mother bought me my first record player and the very first 45 I put on it was by James Brown and I've loved him ever since. You will surely be missed by millions but never forgotten by any of them. RIP James we will always have you in our hearts and mind.

Posted by: R. M. Coleman | December 26, 2006 1:51 AM

I was fortunate enough to see James Brown this past year. True to the very end, he was the Soul Brother Number 1. Even in his last year, he was still the hardest working man in show-business you ever saw. You'll be missed Brother James!

Posted by: MPH | December 26, 2006 2:09 AM

In 1980, my first paper I wrote in college at University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill concerned James Brown, his influence on modern American music and culture. I loved this man and his music. The way he personally touched my family and me will never be forgotten. So to all of you samplers lay down your electronic slicers and dicers, pick up an instrument and make a joyfull noise. Heaven is having a party for this wonderful human being. I love you James...

Posted by: Clinton Anderson, Detroit | December 26, 2006 3:44 AM

James Brown defined our entire generation. White, black, hispanic, asian...it didn't matter a whole hell of a lot. We all loved James Brown. He'll be missed.

Posted by: Karen | December 26, 2006 5:18 AM

James Brown, The God Father of Soul was a powerful force not only as a musical icon but as a man who has assisted in the healing of racial disparities in America.
He has single handily saved cities from being mobbed by angry rioters during the last 60's. He came from humble beginnings but achieved more than any of us can imagine. His life is living proof that you can grow up black and poor in America but still have the ability to become a great light around the world. I SALUTE YOU JAMES BROWN! YOU HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT. YOU HAVE WON THE BATTLE. IT'S TIME TO REST NOW AFTER OVER A HALF OF CENTURY OF BEING THE HARDEST WORKING MAN IN SHOW BUSINESS, and may I say a job well done.

Posted by: Mr. B The Singing Bard | December 26, 2006 7:12 AM

I came of age during the "...I'm Black and I'm Proud" era. This is one reason that I will never, ever embrace the term "African American", for I am stil Black and Proud. My only regret is that I never saw the man in concert. But I can live vicariously through all of your comments. RIP James Brown.

Posted by: pvh1 | December 26, 2006 9:09 AM

First Tupac, then Luther, and now the Godfather. Damn.

The thing that most people didn't understand about James Brown was that it wasn't just about his dancing and stage theatrics...the man could sing! Not only that, but he wrote meaningful lyrics and revolutionized music. So when you put all of that together: footwork/dance, showmanship, big/new band sound, a soulful, heartfelt singing voice, relevant lyrics for young people to rally behind, a cutting edge, unique stage show - you do the math.

The one, the only, Godfather. And now he's left us. Folks, he really was the greatest.

Damn.

Posted by: Jeff C | December 26, 2006 9:11 AM

I had the honor of seeing James Brown live at the Apollo Theater in 1974 the night he recorded the Revolution Of The Mind album. James tore up the stage and electrified the fans in a manner that no other entertainer has been able to recreate (not even the great Michael Jackson or Prince). I have an extensive collection of JB's music and have turned my young sons on to his groove. James will be greatly missed but we will always celebrate his talent and greatness. He will always live on in our hearts and minds.

Posted by: Fred T. | December 26, 2006 10:31 AM

I had the honor of seeing James perform in Vancouver, B.C. he brought together fans of many ages and many different races. All there because of one man. I heard a young man saying over and over behind me I can't believe I get to see James Brown. Many copy him, but none will ever bring the energy and brillance to the stage as he did. You will be forever missed James. The stars glow brighter now.

Posted by: Jackie Stewart | December 26, 2006 2:29 PM

When I was a kid in New York, we would ditch school to see James Brown play all day at the Apollo.

In those days, the Apollo had continous shows, starting at 12:30 PM until the late show at 10:00. You could buy a ticket for the first show for $3.75 cents and stay in the place for the whole day.

Thanks, JB, for "Cold Sweat, "Get on the Good Foot", "I'll Go Crazy", "I Feel Good", "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", the sleeper "Get it Together" ("If I can't get hit 5 times, I might as well get up and leave"), "Say it Loud", and countless more great songs. You will be missed. RIP.

Posted by: CEEAF | December 26, 2006 5:32 PM

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaooooooooooooo!!!!!!

Posted by: Jaime Moreno | December 27, 2006 9:35 AM

The Godfather of Soul is dead, what is this world coming too; Biggest new since discovery of DNA cloning of sheep; You can't clone the The Godfather of soul, too much soul, too much funk......

Baddest blackman since MalcomX on two feet dancing...

Posted by: Johnny DeJesus | December 28, 2006 6:59 PM

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