Requiem for James Brown
(Get Minister Faust's "REQUIEM FOR JAMES BROWN" podcast HERE.)
Widely acclaimed as the “godfather of soul,” James Brown was a highly influential musical pioneer whose work shaped the development of rhythm and blues in the 1950s, rock and roll in the 1960s, funk and disco in the 1970s and hip hop in the 1980s. He was a guest at the White House; he toured the
Of course, as is fitting for someone whose life ended on the mythic date of Christmas Day, James Brown began humbly. Born May 3, 1933, in Barnwell South
Despite musical and financial low-points in the 1970s, Brown found renewed gravity with the advent of DJ mixes and digital sampling, which took the musical refrains or breakbeats from his songbook and looped them to form backing tracks for the dawning recording art of hip hop music. That foundational presence, combined with three other events, helped James Brown return to the Top Ten. The first of the three was recording the song “Unity” with hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambatta; the second was being caricatured by a young Eddy Murphy during Murphy’s Delirious tour, album and concert film and in the classic Saturday Night Live parody, “James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub;” the third was recording “Living in America” for Sylvester Stallone’s jingoistic retread Rocky IV. While the song was no more jingoistic than Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the
Of course, James Brown’s rediscovered popularity did stop Brown from assaulting his wife or from serving two years in prison for that crime. But his star never truly set, and shines still in the music and performances of the many people he influenced, from Michael Jackson and Prince to Chuck D. and many, many White musicians as well. He even had an impact on Nigerian superstar Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, whose own band in turn had a major influence on Brown’s arranger David Matthews and thus the resulting James Brown sound, part of the 800 songs Brown recorded.
Last week, tens of thousands paid tribute to James Brown, filing past his coffin in
Tonight on The Terrordome, we’ll hear many voices in praise of James Brown, from an elegy by Michael Jackson to parodies by Eddy Murphy, from documentary footage of Brown teaching viewers how to dance, to a rare Japanese miso soup commercial featuring Brown, a television appearance in which the late Sammy Davis, Jr. asks Brown to teach him how to dance (and in which accomplished mimic Davis does a spectacular job), from rare documentary material on the man (see below), plus, of course, music by James Brown himself. That’s all on the first 2007 edition The Terrordome: The Afrika All-World News Service.
Harry Allen, Public Enemy's Media Assassin, on how James Brown created a revolution in music through rhythm-and-blues to rock-and-roll to funk to disco to hip hop and wrote the anthem to the Black Consciousness Movement in the USA.
Harry Allen, Public
Enemy's Media Assassin, on how James Brown created a revolution in music through rhythm-and-blues to rock-and-roll to funk to
disco to hip hop and wrote the anthem to the Black Consciousness Movement in the USA.
Part of the impetus for James Brown’s return to the spotlight in the 1980s was Eddy Murphy’s caricaturing of him during his Delirious tour, album and concert film and in the classic Saturday Night Live parody, “James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub Party.” Right now, let’s hear both.
JamesBrown’s surrogate son and protégé, the Reverend Al Sharpton, delivering a eulogy for Brown, and joined onstage by singer Michael Jackson who, perhaps in grief, drops his falsetto just long enough to let loose a whisper of his genuine voice.