James Brown (born James Joseph Brown, Jr. on May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina) is an entertainer who is recognized as one of the most influential figures in 20th century music. As a prolific singer, songwriter, bandleader and record producer, Brown was a seminal force in the evolution of gospel and rhythm and blues into soul and funk. He has also left his mark on numerous other musical genres, including rock, jazz, reggae, disco, dance and electronic music, and, most famously, hip-hop music.
By 1970, most of the members of James Brown's classic 1960s band had quit his act for other opportunities. He and Bobby Byrd employed a new band that included future funk greats such as bassist Bootsy Collins, Collins' guitarist brother Phelps "Catfish" Collins, and trombonist/musical director Fred Wesley. This new backing band was dubbed "The JB's", and made their debut on Brown's 1970 single "(Get Up I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine". Although it would go through several lineup changes (the first in 1971), The JB's remain remembered as Brown's most familiar backing band.
As Brown's musical empire grew (he bought radio stations in the late 1960s, including Augusta's WRDW, where he had shined shoes as a boy), his desire for financial and artistic independence grew as well. In 1971, he began recording for Polydor Records; among his first Polydor releases was the #1 R&B hit "Hot Pants (She Got To Use What She Got To Get What She Wants)". Many of his sidemen and supporting players, such as Fred Wesley & the JB's, Bobby Byrd, Lyn Collins, Myra Barnes, and Hank Ballard, released records on Brown's subsidiary label, People, which was created as part of Brown's Polydor contract. These recordings are as much a part of Brown's legacy as those released under his own name, and most are noted examples of what might be termed James Brown's "house" style. The early 1970s marked the first real awareness, outside the African-American community, of Brown's achievements. Miles Davis and other jazz musicians began to cite Brown as a major influence on their styles, and Brown provided the score for the 1973 blaxploitation film Black Caesar.
In 1974 Brown performed in Zaire as part of the build up to the The Rumble in the Jungle fight between Mohammed Ali and George Foreman.
Posted by wino at Saturday, October 07, 2006