EXIT OF THE DAY: EXIT 57 I-95n TO: Walterboro,South Carolina... on this Day in 2010 The Godfather of Soul passed on.
Ha! Hey! Do you feel good? Well, you know that you should. Do you feel nice? Like sugar and spice? Well you know you should because Mister Die No Might, Soul Brother #1, The Godfather of Soul himself was born in nearby Barnwell, South Carolina.
Known as a tireless entertainer playing gigs nearly 360 nights a year, the late great James Brown started his career as did so many world famous recording artists. He sang gospel. At a high point in his life, no less than Michael Jackson and Mick Jagger would cite James Brown as their major inspiration.
At other times, he danced for pennies tossed from transport trucks by World War 2 GI's.
After that, the father of funk, exploded on the pop scene veritably inventing soul music. He became known for as many of his hits that ALMOST made #1 as those that did become #1 Hits. And he had plenty of both. Brown recorded 17 singles that reached #1 on the Billboard R&B charts. But Brown holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart which did not reach number one.
The classic snapshot of an epic struggle "up from poverty" American Success Story, in 1933 Brown was born in a wooden shack to his 16-year-old mother, Susie and 22-year-old Joe Brown.
The impoverished Brown family moved a lot even settling for a time at a brothel. Brown's mother eventually left the family. Young James managed to stay in school until the sixth grade. He sang in talent shows and at the start of World War Two, as their convoys crossed a canal bridge near his aunt's home, Young James performed dances to entertain troops from Camp Gordon, Georgia who would toss him coins. It may have been pennies, but James Brown never forgot those troops. Years later as a Super Star he would fly to high risk zones in Vietnam and entertain the troops in hugely popular USO shows.
Remarkably, as a child, James Brown self-taught himself to play several instruments: the piano, the guitar, and the harmonica. Hustling any way he could to get by, at 16 he was convicted of robbery. At the juvenile detention center, he formed a Gospel quartet called the Famous Flames. Upon release, playing college parties they met Little Richard who quickly saw their talent.
Brown and his Flames quickly became famous. In 1956, they released their first million seller, "Please, Please, Please".
Fast forward to 2010. After years of loud concerts and screaming fans, James Brown is in Atlanta on his death bed. Struggling with pneumonia Brown stuttered, "I'm going away tonight," then took three long, quiet breaths and fell asleep forever.
The struggling heart had finally given up and the soul of the Godfather left his body on Christmas Day... which somehow seems reassuring for a super star who started out by singing Gospel in Church.
#JamesBrown #GodfatherofSoul #Atlanta #LittleRichard #DiedonChristmasday #CampGordon #Ifeelgood