James Brown

“Soul Brother Number One,” “The Godfather of Soul,” “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Mr. Dynamite” – Mighty titles, but no one can question that James Brown earned them. Few other musicians were so influential over the course of popular music. And, no other musician, pop or otherwise, put on a more exciting, exhilarating stage show: Brown’s performances were marvels of athletic stamina and split-second timing. Through the gospel-impassioned fury of his vocals and the complex polyrhythms of his beats, Brown was crucial in several revolutions in black American music. He was one of the figures responsible for turning R&B into Soul and he was most responsible for turning soul music into the Funk of the late ’60s and early ’70s. His voice and rhythms have been sampled on countless hip-hop recordings, and critics have hailed his innovations as among the most important in all of rock or soul.

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