Happy Birthday, James Brown!
Soul icon James Brown is one of the most sampled artists in hip-hop. The late Godfather of Soul would've turned 82 today (May 3).
Brown started off as a man who was clearly too big for his group. He was a member of the Famous Flames, but his charisma was so big that they eventually became known as James Brown's band. The singer was a full-blown force by the mid-1960s. In addition to his chart-topping hits ("Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "I Got You [I Feel Good]," among many others), Brown became known for his tireless work ethic and dynamic live performances.
A James Brown concert was a moment in time and his 1963 live recording Live at the Apollo is one example of that. Another great moment in James Brown folklore was his Boston concert on the night Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. The Godfather of Soul managed to settle a restless crowd during his set even as some concertgoers stormed the stage.
Brown moved toward an activist role during the later stages of his prime, convincing others to take pride in their blackness as he did. His most famous pro-black anthem is "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud."
Brown, who passed away on Christmas Day in 2006 from congestive heart failure, will forever be remembered as the "Hardest Working Man in Show Business."
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