On This Day

James Brown

Singer James Brown
miqu77 / Shutterstock.com

Profession: Singer

United States of America

Biography: James Brown was an American musician and songwriter who was one of the most influential figures in 20th century popular music. He is often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul," and his music had a profound impact on the development of funk, soul, and hip hop.

Brown was born in South Carolina and raised in Georgia, where he began his musical career as a gospel singer in the 1940s. He joined a R&B group called the Famous Flames in the early 1950s, and they had a string of hits including "Please, Please, Please" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)."

Brown's career took off in the 1960s with the release of his album "Live at the Apollo," which is considered one of the greatest live albums of all time. He went on to release a series of hit singles and albums that defined the sound of funk, including "Cold Sweat," "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine," and "The Payback."

Brown's music was also a major influence on the development of hip hop, and he is credited with creating the genre's distinctive dance style, the "James Brown dance."

Brown continued to perform and record until his death in 2006.

Born: May 3, 1933
Birthplace: Barnwell, South Carolina, USA

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rooster
Star Sign: Taurus

Died: December 25, 2006 (aged 73)
Cause of Death: Pneumonia

Married Life

  • 1953-06-19 Singer James Brown (20) weds Velma Warren at Trinity CME Church in Toccoa, Georgia; divorce in 1969
  • 1970-10-22 Singer James Brown (37) weds Deidre Jenkins (25) in Barnwell, South Carolina; divorce in 1981
  • 1981-01-10 Singer James Brown (47) divorces Deidre Jenkins after 10 years of marriage

Historical Events

  • 1969-07-03 Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island opens, 78, 000 attend over 4 days; performers include: George Benson; Blood, Swet, and Tears; Jeff Beck; James Brown; Bill Evans; Sun Ra; Mothers of Invention; Dave Brubeck; Miles Davis; Stephane Grapelli; and Sly & The Family Stone
  • 1972-03-16 Singer James Brown performs two shows for over 1,000 detainees awaiting trial at the Adolescent Remand Shelter on Rikers Island, NYC
  • 1974-09-28 "Papa Don't Take No Mess Part 1" by James Brown peaks at #31
  • 1977-09-29 James Brown's band walks out claiming they were underpaid & overworked
  • 1986-01-23 Inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Chuck Berry; James Brown; Ray Charles; Sam Cooke; Fats Domino; The Everly Brothers; Buddy Holly;. Jerry Lee Lewis; Elvis Presley; Little Richard; Robert Johnson; Jimmie Rodgers; Jimmy Yancey; Alan Freed; John Hammond; and Sam Phillips
  • 1990-04-12 James Brown moves to a work-release center after serving 15 months of 6 year sentence for weapon and drug related convictions
  • 1991-02-27 Singer James Brown is paroled from prison after serving 2 years of 6 year sentence for weapon and drug related convictions
  • 2004-06-25 Glastonbury Festival in Pilton, England opens: Oasis, Paul McCartney, and Muse headline; other performers include Wilco, The Black-Eyed Peas, James Brown, Damien Rice, Toots & The Maytals, and The Rutles
  • 2005-07-06 Live 8 concert at Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland; performers include Wet Wet Wet, Annie Lennox, James Brown, the Corrs, and The Proclaimers

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