God­fa­ther of soul dies

Tributes flow for soul mu­sic icon

Townsville Bulletin - - Who’s who -

JAMES Brown — the ‘God­fa­ther of Soul’ — knew he was about to die and told his man­ager and long-time friend just that be­fore qui­etly slip­ping away.

Brown, whose voice, show­man­ship and bold rhythms brought funk into the main­stream and in­flu­enced a gen­er­a­tion of black mu­sic, died on Christ­mas morn­ing, aged 73.

He died of con­ges­tive heart fail­ure at At­lanta’s Emory Craw­ford Long Hospi­tal, his lawyer Joel Katz said.

Brown went to a den­tist last week, who no­ticed him­cough­ing and rec­om­mended he see a doc­tor. He was ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal on Satur­day with se­vere pneu­mo­nia.

‘‘He was hav­ing pain be­fore, but then the pain went away and he told me ‘I’m go­ing away tonight’,’’ Charles Bob­bit, Brown’s per­sonal man­ager and long­time friend, said.

‘‘I didn’t be­lieve him,’’ he said, adding that Brown died qui­etly soon af­ter.

Brown was one of Amer­ica’s great show­men and band lead­ers. He cre­ated a revo­lu­tion­ary sound that mixed funky rhythms and stac­cato horns be­hind his own of­ten ex­plo­sive vo­cals.

Hip hop and rap artists revered hi­mand ex­ten­sively used his beats as the back­drop to their own mu­sic, while singers such as Michael Jack­son drew on his dance style.

‘‘He’s the god­fa­ther of hip hop and rap, the fa­ther of funk,’’ his man­ager Frank Cop­si­das said, adding Brown would be buried in Au­gusta, Ge­or­gia.

Brown emerged from a boy­hood of poverty and petty crime in Au­gusta in the era when the South was still seg­re­gated and be­gan his mu­sic ca­reer in jail as a ju­ve­nile of­fender.

His per­sonal life re­mained tur­bu­lent and he was jailed in 1988 for drug, weapons and ve­hic­u­lar charges af­ter a car chase through Ge­or­gia and South Carolina which ended when po­lice shot out the tyres of his truck. He left prison in 1991.

He was named to Pres­i­dent Rea­gan’s Coun­cil Against Drugs but was ar­rested sev­eral times in the mid-1980s and ‘90s and charged with drug and weapons pos­ses­sion.

‘‘Soul is all the hard knocks, all the pun­ish­ment the black man has had . . . all the un­ful­filled dreams that must come true,’’ he once said.

US Pres­i­dent Ge­orge WBush said he was sad­dened by Brown’s death.

‘‘For half a cen­tury, the in­no­va­tive tal­ent of the ‘God­fa­ther of Soul’ en­riched our cul­ture and in­flu­enced gen­er­a­tions of mu­si­cians,’’ Mr Bush said.

In his fi­nal months, Brown’s health was in de­cline but he masked it with good diet and lots of rest to main­tain his pun­ish­ing sched­ule as the self-styled ‘hard­est work­ing man in show busi­ness’, Bob­bit said.

He was due to per­formin Times Square, New York, on New Year’s Eve and this year alone did more than 100 live shows, Cop­si­das said. Brown had more than 119 chart­ing sin­gles and recorded more than 50 al­bums, was in­ducted into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame and re­ceived a life­time Grammy achieve­ment award in 1992.

Big hits in­cluded

Please, Please, Please, Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, I Got You (I Feel Good), Get Up (I feel like be­ing a Sex Ma­chine), a Man’s World.

and It’s

Brown, also known as ‘Mr Dy­na­mite’, would dance him­self into a con­trolled frenzy as part of his stage show and typ­i­cally changed suits a dozen times.

He once said he aimed to wear out his au­di­ence and ‘‘give peo­ple more than what they came for - make them tired’’.

IFEEL GOOD . . . James Brown per­forms in the United We Stand con­cert at RFK Sta­dium in Wash­ing­ton, DC

Ven­isha Brown (right) near a

statue of her fa­ther

James Brown on t h e

Hol­ly­wood Walk of Fame

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.