A legend who made music breathe and sweat, James Brown (1933-2006), called the "Hardest-Working Man in Show Business," was born on this day in Barnwell, South Carolina. An only child, as a boy he picked cotton and danced for spare change.
"They call me the Godfather of Soul," he once said. "It's God's business that nobody can fill my shoes." A rags-to-riches story, the dynamic Brown found music as a way to escape poverty.
In 1952, he joined Bobby Bird's gospel quartet and their music evolved to rhythm and blues. By 1958, his group, James Brown and the Famous Flames, scored a number one R&B hit, Try Me.
From there, no one could stop him.
"When I'm on stage," "Mr. Dynamite" revealed, "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."
With amazing dance routines, razzle-dazzle footwork, and acrobatic leaps, the cape-wearing black artist performed with show stopping energy, belting out such classics as Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, or I Got You (I Feel Good). With soul, his music gave birth to disco, funk, and rap.
"I thank God for everything he has given me. I've reached so many people, so many age groups. And I'm still doing it like I did, my show is the real thing," he reflected. In a career which spanned over 50 years, he placed on the charts about 120 singles and 50 albums.
He said, "I've created the sound, I did that. And it still matters today. But I appreciate what other people have done. James Brown wants to give it back to the people."
More ROCK Quotations | Video: I Feel Good
Let yourself go.