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James Brown, Godfather of Soul, Dies at 73

12/25/2006 10:49 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

James Brown, a musical giant and one of the most breathakingly dynamic performers in all of entertainment, died early Christmas morning in Atlanta at the age of 73.
James Brown
Brown, the self-described "Hardest Working Man in Show Business," was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 AM, according to his agent, Frank Copsidas. A longtime friend, Charles Bobbit, was at his side. Copsidas told the Associated Press, "We really don't know at this point what he died of."

With his unmistakable pompadour, stunningly agile dance moves, raspy vocal style, and almost superhuman on-stage energy, Brown, as much as anyone in the history of live performance, gave audiences their money's worth and much more. His gifts as a songwriter and singer, which helped earn him the title of "The Godfather of Soul," were hugely influential on the genres of funk, disco, and rap as well. His instantly recognizable hits included "I Got You (I Feel Good)," "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," and "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud."

Brown's personal life, particularly over the last two decades, was beset with allegations of drug and alcohol abuse and domestic trouble. He spent 15 months in a South Carolina prison and 10 months in a work release program after leading police on a half-hour, PCP-fueled chase which ended with the tires of his truck being shot out. Brown recently married his fourth wife, backup singer Tomi Raye Hynie, with whom he had a young son. Brown had five children with his previous wives.


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Cheryl Johnson    

I am so glad that my husband and I saw him in concert at the Greek Theatre last summer. He was out of sight. Still grooving with those funky horns. I grew up dancing to his music. He is truly the Godfather of Soul. That is why all of these up and coming artist like to sample his music. He will be truly missed!!!

2857 days ago


#24 HaHa! Merry Christmas to you.

2857 days ago


Like all of us, the man had his personal demons, and I certainly don't condone his faults. But here we're remembering James Brown the artist, a tremendous innovator, musician and vocalist, both with the uptempo stuff and the ballads (check out "Prisoner Of Love," a standard he takes places it had never been before). Hard to believe his first hit, "Please Please Please," came half a century ago. Thank you for the music, JB.

2857 days ago


This is the last thing I thought I would see this morning. Definitely Black and Proud this Christmas.

2857 days ago


He gave us his heart, soul and immense talent...terrible loss. Rest in Peace.

2857 days ago


There will never be another Godfather of Soul! Rest In Peace! You'll be missed!

2857 days ago


Yes Mr. Brown made many mistakes in his life and he's not alone in that but we're not talking about his mistakes we're just remembering his contribution to music and how he will be missed greatly R.I.P!!!!!

2857 days ago



2857 days ago

candiru acu    

While the man will certainly be missed--
His music will live on forever

2857 days ago


RIP Mr. Brown was a great musical influence for the world. May his family and friends be blessed with peace of heart.

2857 days ago



None of us writing in knew you personally, so we CANNOT AND WILL NOT we would not like to be judged by others in our sacred, final day either

James Brown I enjoyed your performances for the past 25 years and will enjoy your music even longer. Thank you for your natural God-given writings, singing, dance and shows. You inspired millions of people around the globe.

And finally, although I am white, your music crossed ALL boundaries, my favorites JB songs were "I Feel Good" and "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud."

P.S. Anderson Cooper will not be able to find anyone as good as you to fill your shoes on New Years. God Bless your soul and his family and close friends.

Also, James I am also describing you as The Hardest Working Person In Show Biz. REST IN PEACE

2857 days ago

Dennis Overton    

Truly the "Hardest Working Man In Show Business". I had the opportunity to see JB in 1968 at the Orange Show Auditorium in San Bernardino,Ca. I paid $1.00 for three hours of non stop exhilirating entertainment.

He will be greaty missed.

2857 days ago


Mr.James Brown; I can remember when James Brown sang "Say it loud I am Black and I am proud" Growing up in the 60's made me especially proud to sing along. Rest in Peace Mr.Brown

2856 days ago


A great talent and a gentleman to his fans. He really loved his fans. RIP Godfather.

2856 days ago

Psychic Clara    

Rest in peace, you were a great singer, James Brown.

Psychic Clara

2856 days ago
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