James Joseph Brown (May 3, 1933 – December 25, 2006) was an American musician. The central progenitor of funk music and a major figure of 20th-century music, he is referred to by various honorific nicknames, some of which include “the Hardest-Working Man in Show Business”, “Godfather of Soul”, “Mr. Dynamite”, and “Soul Brother No. 1“. In a career that lasted more than 50 years, he influenced the development of several music genres. Brown was one of the first 10 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction in New York on January 23, 1986.
Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He rose to prominence in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of the Famous Flames, a rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd. With the hit ballads “Please, Please, Please” and “Try Me”, Brown built a reputation as a dynamic live performer with the Famous Flames and his backing band, sometimes known as the James Brown Band or the James Brown Orchestra. His success peaked in the 1960s with the live album Live at the Apollo and hit singles such as “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”, “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”.
James Brown recorded and released 17 singles that reached No. 1 on the Billboard R&B charts. He also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that did not reach No. 1.
James Brown was posthumously inducted into the first class of the Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2013 as an artist and then in 2017 as a songwriter. He also received honors from several other institutions, including inductions into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fameand the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Joel Whitburn‘s analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, Brown is ranked No. 1 in the Top 500 Artists. He is ranked seventh on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.
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