James Joe Brown Jr., James Brown, was born in May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South
Carolina and died in December 25, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Godfather of soul, he is one of the most successful and respected men in the
music industry of all time. He sold more than 100 million records throughout his career. He
influenced many artist including the greats Michael Jackson and Prince.

James had a very troubled childhood. When he was 4, his parents split up the
marriage and he went to live with his father. These times were very difficult because his
father was a very hard working man and James was left alone for most of his time.
Sometimes he would spend days and nights alone. According to James own words, it was one
of the things that stayed with him forever and influenced a lot on his personality.

Due to these hard times, his father had to get Minnie Walker, James great-aunt, to
take care of him. From that day on, he never lived again with his father in the same house.

He moved to Augusta, Georgia and was raised in a brothel.

Soon after that, his father brought an old organ to the house. On the same day, when his
father returned to the house, he saw a big group of people around the house and there was
James playing the organ. He learned how to play some songs in that same day.

Besides being at school, James needed to find a way to bring money to the house due to
extreme poverty. He used to shine shoes, sing and dance to the World War II soldiers around
town, among other things.

At this time he started to get to the church and to sing gospel. He started to learn more
instruments, such as, the guitar and drums.

During this time, James also used to steal clothes so he can go to school dressed properly. He
stole another things too and he went to jail at the age of 15.

While on prison, his strong personality was leaving a mark between the guards and the other
prisioners and he played sports and sung to other people.

On June 12, 1954, three years after he went to jail, he was released with the requirement to
get a job, which he easily found but his tendency to get himself in trouble almost cost him the
return to jail.

which worked on King Records. His son’s death. energy and leadership stood out from the rest and it created some jealousy between the other members of the group. Universal wanted to call the act “James Brown And The Famous Flames”. Please”. He recorded “Try Me”. At this point. during a show. ORAL PRESENTATION WEEK [LUIS RODRIGUES BMUS YR1 G1 HOPM] 7 Soon after that. He was a voice for the peace but apparently the message of his major hit “Say it Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” was misunderstood by many people who thought he was up for racial violence. James started to rehearse again and he continued with the name “The Famous Flames”. In January 1956. A pioneer. Very concerned with all the things happening in America. they played hundreds of shows in many southern states. Please. His first hit was “Please. James and the now named as “The Famous Flames”. many factors led him to a calmer period. By the summer of 1965. they were making 750 dollars. James released a live album named as “Live at The Apollo” in 1963. That caused a lot of troubles among the group and everybody left the band and James was now alone. He was now a major international act. in the audience there was Ralph Bass. the group continued to tour extensively and a record deal was just a matter of time. adding to the taxes problems and the contract with Polydor Records wich wanted to take . his contract with King was substantially improved and he started to do big money between recordings and exhausting tours in the next years. James started to face big problems with the IRS. His band now was a 20 piece band. instead of the usual 25 dollars a show. he started to rehearse with Bobby Bird and some other people and they put together the group called as “The Flames”. Brown had his first international hit with “Papa’s Got a New Bag” and started to tour in Europe too. which immediately went to N’1 in R&B Charts. Right after that. but he wanted something more. Soon after that. In the beginning of the 70’s. followed by some other great tunes. He was a strong voice in America and he demanded that no more segregation would happen in his shows. During this time. which lasted for some years. James signed contract with Universal Records. In his first time in New York. started to record some tapes with King Records. he started to use his social status and started to get involved in public issues like politics and fight for equality and civil rights. Because of that. They started to do many live performances and James talent. Despite that. After that.

He decided to tear apart his contract with Polydor and after some court period. The appearance of disco music also led the masses to enjoy other things musically and James Brown music suffered. Right after that. ORAL PRESENTATION WEEK [LUIS RODRIGUES BMUS YR1 G1 HOPM] 7 control on his music led him to a semiretirement. With all this troubles happening. the Seventies were gone and James Brown was not happy at all with the trend of his life. 2006. During the 90’s he continued to release records but not as influential as his old records. he was back in the business. . as a result of a pneumonia. In December 25. “Living in America” was the next big hit and it appeared on the movie Rambo IV. In 1986. he died of an heart attack. he was inducted in The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and his life was on the line again. he entered on the movie “The Blues Brothers” which introduced him to a new generation of people.

1986.jamesbrown.com”. New York *James Brown official website “ www. . JAMES BROWN with Bruce Tucker Macmillan Publishing Company. ORAL PRESENTATION WEEK [LUIS RODRIGUES BMUS YR1 G1 HOPM] 7 Bibliography: *The Godfather of Soul.