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Happy Birthday James Brown

May 3, 2010

James gives the drummer some.

Leave all the jokes and mug shots behind. Forget about run-ins with the law and questionable later career choices. James Brown was one of the greats. He didn’t get his nickname, “The Hardest Working Man in Showbuisness” for nothing. In the 60’s and 70’s Brown was putting out solid albums at a rate that most musicians would faint at. If you don’t own any James Brown albums proper… I strongly urge you to get out there and buy some. (Many have been re-released, remastered, repackaged, and are readily available. May I suggest Live at the Apollo, In the Jungle Groove, and Please, Please, Please just to start!). He also directly influenced two of the greatest pop artists of all time, M.J. and Prince. Which brings me to this video. The quality sucks. It’s weird. But damn, 3 legends awkwardly tearing up a stage still trumps what most chumps would put on a stage these days.

And so…

A triumphant return to the stage:

A Midnight Special:

A stone-cold classic:

And six sylables that shaped pop music:

Happy what would have been your 77th. I said goddamn.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. araymondjohnson permalink
    May 3, 2010 3:31 pm

    my friend was telling me about how he used to FINE the musicians in the band when they missed notes! in rehearsal even!! he was an intense perfectionist about the tightness of horn sections that is underappreciated by many. thanks for this great tribute.

  2. May 3, 2010 4:00 pm

    Omg, I was just coming here to mention the “fines”! LOL. Happy Birthday, Godfather of Soul. you’re missed.

    Thank you. Spoon for this wonderful tribute.

  3. May 3, 2010 4:31 pm

    @Snarky Maybe you should take a page from James’ book and start fining us for every missed apostrophe.


    At the very least, we all need sweet capes to throw over each other when we are all spent from writing.

  4. Heather Flescher permalink
    May 3, 2010 5:07 pm

    Well, if fines were what it took to get a band that tight, then I guess it was worth it. His sidemen did have a tendency to quit on him because of the harsh treatment… which brought us many fine solo performers he discovered. I won’t even try to list them all.

    My favorite James Brown album is Love Power Peace, live at the Olympia in Paris, France on March 8, 1971. The grooves are so hard it’s almost supernatural. Well, they’re being held together by a young Bootsy Collins. I’d say it’s an even better version of the JBs than the legendary ’60s lineup, if that’s possible.

    Happy birthday, Mr. Brown. We don’t have you any more, but we live in a musical world that you created. Thank you.

  5. May 3, 2010 6:09 pm

    @Snarky Maybe you should take a page from James’ book and start fining us for every missed apostrophe.

    Lord, I’d be the only person shelling out money and I’d be BROKE no joke.

    Can we get a little love for Living in America?

    Gosh, between the band doing “no no” fingers and that bridge…

  6. May 3, 2010 6:10 pm

    Wow, the visuals for that video are so…so literal.

    Hard roll = visual of hard roll.

  7. May 3, 2010 9:14 pm

    Eddie Murphy, eat your heart out. Indeed.

  8. May 3, 2010 11:09 pm

    No No fingers FTW.
    Also, how come no one ever bottled James’ sweat? It’s probably pure soul.

  9. May 3, 2010 11:40 pm

    Seriously! We probably could solve the energy crisis.

    Also, if more bands danced while playing their instruments the world would be a funkier place.

  10. IrishUp permalink
    May 4, 2010 12:27 pm

    JB, you are missed.

    I can’t imagine who under-appreciates the horn section, either of the original J.B.s or the pre- or post iterations. Souless fiends! Then again, I have a very soft spot for the original J.B.s that can be summed up in one word: BOOTSY!!!!!!!!!!!!
    IIRC, it was the afore mentioned fines that caused the parting o the ways btween Brown and Bootzilla.

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