James Brown was an American musician, singer, record producer, and dancer who was a major influence in funk and popular music in the twentieth century, earning him the moniker “The Godfather of Soul.” James Joseph Brown was born on May 3, 1933, in Barnwell, South Carolina, to Susie Behling and Joseph Gardner Brown. His name was supposed to be Joseph James, not James Joseph, but it was reversed on his birth certificate by mistake. He was raised in poverty and even spent time in an aunt’s brothel. When James Brown was in sixth grade, he dropped out of school and began focusing on music as a means of survival.
James Brown was born into extreme poverty in a one-room shack.
James Brown used to dance for pennies for soldiers at Fort Gordon when he was a kid.
James Brown used to shine shoes for 3 cents and later 6 cents.
James Brown stated that he was 9 years old before purchasing a pair of underwear from a real store.
Prior to that, he wore clothing made from sacks and other discarded items.
James Brown was 12 years old when he was sent home from school due to a lack of clothing.
As a child, James Brown became interested in music and joined the church choir.
When James Brown was a teenager, he got into trouble with the law, but music helped him refocus his attention.
In 1955, Bobby Byrd invited James Brown to join The Gospel Starlighters. It was an R&B band. The group was renamed The Famous Flames, and James began to dominate it.
The group’s song Please, Please, Please was released in 1956 and quickly reached No. 6 on the R&B charts.
The Flames, a band led by James Brown, opened for B.B. King. Ray Charles and Martin Luther King.
James relocated to New York, where he recorded Try Me, which peaked at No. 1 on the R&B charts.
Prisoner of Love was James Brown’s first song to reach the top of the pop charts, peaking at No. 2.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, James Brown was constantly on the road. He was known as the “Hardest Working Man in Show Business.”
On October 24, 1962, James Brown recorded a live concert at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, which became his biggest commercial success to that point.
A news anchor reported James Brown dead in 1992, but this was an error.
James Brown had four marriages. He is known to have at least nine children, but there could be as many as thirteen.
James Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame after being named to numerous lists as one of the greatest artists of all time.
He passed away on Christmas Day, 2006, at the age of 73, from congestive heart failure and pneumonia.