Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown dies at 73

I was checking the obituaries this morning to see if any library patrons have died (no, I'm serious, I really do check, right after I check the police logs to see if anyone from my last job was arrested!), and I see James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul" has died from pneumonia.

That's too bad, he was a great talent who didn't take his act too seriously (and I think in his later years he was a little bit nuts). MSNBC wrote:

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.
'No one near as funky'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 Out Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud,” a landmark 1968 statement of racial pride.

Anyway, I was reminded of a movie he was in for an online BMW ad campaign a few years ago where, in one of the films, James Brown sells his soul to the devil to be young again. Gary Oldman plays the devil and there's even a Marilyn Manson cameo. What a great Christmas film.


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