God Bless you…James and Thank You!!!

James Brown, 73, Dies; ‘Godfather of Soul’

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: December 25, 2006

Filed at 6:20 a.m. ET

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Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

James Brown performed in Shanghai in February.

ATLANTA (AP) — James Brown,
the dynamic, pompadoured  »Godfather of Soul, » whose rasping vocals
and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as
well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73.

Brown was
hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday
and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of
Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.

Copsidas said the cause of death was uncertain.  »We really don’t know at this point what he died of, » he said.

Along with Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan
and a handful of others, Brown was one of the major musical influences
of the past 50 years. At least one generation idolized him, and
sometimes openly copied him. His rapid-footed dancing inspired Mick Jagger and Michael Jackson among others. Songs such as David Bowie’s
 »Fame, » Prince’s  »Kiss, » George Clinton’s  »Atomic Dog » and Sly
and the Family Stone’s  »Sing a Simple Song » were clearly based on
Brown’s rhythms and vocal style.

If Brown’s claim to the invention of soul can be challenged by fans of Ray Charles
and Sam Cooke, then his rights to the genres of rap, disco and funk are
beyond question. He was to rhythm and dance music what Dylan was to
lyrics: the unchallenged popular innovator.

 »James presented
obviously the best grooves, » rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy once told
The Associated Press.  »To this day, there has been no one near as
funky. No one’s coming even close. »

His hit singles include such
classics as  »Out of Sight, »  »(Get Up I Feel Like Being a) Sex
Machine, »  »I Got You (I Feel Good) » and  »Say It Loud — I’m Black
and I’m Proud, » a landmark 1968 statement of racial pride.

 »I
clearly remember we were calling ourselves colored, and after the song,
we were calling ourselves black, » Brown said in a 2003 Associated
Press interview.  »The song showed even people to that day that lyrics
and music and a song can change society. »

He won a Grammy award
for lifetime achievement in 1992, as well as Grammys in 1965 for
 »Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag » (best R&B recording) and for
 »Living In America » in 1987 (best R&B vocal performance, male.)
He was one of the initial artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall
of Fame in 1986, along with Presley, Chuck Berry and other founding fathers.

He
triumphed despite an often unhappy personal life. Brown, who lived in
Beech Island near the Georgia line, spent more than two years in a
South Carolina prison for aggravated assault and failing to stop for a
police officer. After his release on in 1991, Brown said he wanted to
 »try to straighten out » rock music.

From the 1950s, when Brown
had his first R&B hit,  »Please, Please, Please » in 1956, through
the mid-1970s, Brown went on a frenzy of cross-country tours, concerts
and new songs. He earned the nickname  »The Hardest Working Man in Show
Business, » and often tried to prove it to his fans, said Jay Ross, his
lawyer of 15 years.

Brown would routinely lose two or three
pounds each time he performed and kept his furious concert schedule in
his later years even as he fought prostate cancer, Ross said.

 »He’d always give it his all to give his fans the type of show they expected, » he said.

With
his tight pants, shimmering feet, eye makeup and outrageous hair, Brown
set the stage for younger stars such as Michael Jackson and Prince.

In
1986, he was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And rap stars
of recent years overwhelmingly have borrowed his lyrics with a digital
technique called sampling.

Brown’s work has been replayed by the
Fat Boys, Ice-T, Public Enemy and a host of other rappers.  »The music
out there is only as good as my last record, » Brown joked in a 1989
interview with Rolling Stone magazine.

 »Disco is James Brown,
hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown; you know what I’m saying?
You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me, » he told
the AP in 2003.

Born in poverty in Barnwell, S.C., in 1933, he
was abandoned as a 4-year-old to the care of relatives and friends and
grew up on the streets of Augusta, Ga., in an  »ill-repute area, » as
he once called it. There he learned to wheel and deal.

 »I wanted to be somebody, » Brown said.

By the eighth grade in 1949, Brown had served 3 1/2 years in Alto Reform School near Toccoa, Ga., for breaking into cars.

While
there, he met Bobby Byrd, whose family took Brown into their home. Byrd
also took Brown into his group, the Gospel Starlighters. Soon they
changed their name to the Famous Flames and their style to hard R&B.

In
January 1956, King Records of Cincinnati signed the group, and four
months later  »Please, Please, Please » was in the R&B Top Ten.

Pete
Allman, a radio personality in Las Vegas who had been friends with
Brown for 15 years, credited Brown with jump-starting his career and
motivating him personally and professionally.

 »He was a very
positive person. There was no question he was the hardest working man
in show business, » Allman said.  »I remember Mr. Brown as someone who
always motivated me, got me reading the Bible. »

While most of
Brown’s life was glitz and glitter, he was plagued with charges of
abusing drugs and alcohol and of hitting his third wife, Adrienne.

In
September 1988, Brown, high on PCP and carrying a shotgun, entered an
insurance seminar next to his Augusta office. Police said he asked
seminar participants if they were using his private restroom.

Police
chased Brown for a half-hour from Augusta into South Carolina and back
to Georgia. The chase ended when police shot out the tires of his truck.

Brown
received a six-year prison sentence. He spent 15 months in a South
Carolina prison and 10 months in a work release program before being
paroled in February 1991. In 2003, the South Carolina parole board
granted him a pardon for his crimes in that state.

Soon after his
release, Brown was on stage again with an audience that included
millions of cable television viewers nationwide who watched the
three-hour, pay-per-view concert at Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles.

Adrienne
Brown died in 1996 in Los Angeles at age 47. She took PCP and several
prescription drugs while she had a bad heart and was weak from cosmetic
surgery two days earlier, the coroner said.

More recently, he married his fourth wife, Tomi Raye Hynie, one of his backup singers. The couple had a son, James Jr.

Two
years later, Brown spent a week in a private Columbia hospital,
recovering from what his agent said was dependency on painkillers.
Brown’s attorney, Albert  »Buddy » Dallas, said singer was exhausted
from six years of road shows.

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