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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.

132 COMMENTS

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46.

Tony    

The "God Father" , we had no other. I'm 53, and back in the 60's when he lived in St. Albans he always had time for us kids in the neighborhood. I'll always remember on his property in the front yard, that replica of his hit record, "It's a mans mans world". And you knew when he was home if one of three cars were in the driveway. IN addition, those fabulos shows in downtown Brooklyn that were so electrical. You know your time is coming when certainly alot of familiar names to you start to make that final journey. "Rest in peace" does not sound appropriate for "James Brown", I'd just like to think he's just dancing himself to his next show.

2805 days ago
47.

Sharon    

TRY AS THEY MIGHT, THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER
JAMES BROWN. HE WAS A BRIGHT STAR WHO GREW
OUT OF POVERTY AND ADVERSITY TO BECOME
N A TRUE AMERICAN LEGEND.

REST IN PEACE, MR. BROWN. YOU DESERVE IT.

2805 days ago
48.

themissus    

A legend and pioneer who influenced the music of every future generation. IMO the greatest entertainer of all time, may the Godfather rest in peace.

2805 days ago
49.

ZMT    

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE , JAMES PLEASE COME AND HAUNT THOSE THAT ARE SAYING HARSH THINGS ABOUT YOU.AND WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THEM.

OPEN YOUR OWN CLOSETS, PULLYOUR DIRTY LEGACY OUT AND JUDGE THAT.................WHOA .............I FEEL ............GOOD

2805 days ago
50.

Matt    

Well, I opened up my closet and LO AND BEHOLD...I did NOT beat women!!!! Yay!!! Another woman beater off the streets!!!

2805 days ago
51.

kr    

i hate to tell you this big jake there ainy no gettin better he just ain't comin back...lol

2805 days ago
52.

Tasha    

To #22: The reason why so many folks mourn James Brown is because unlike a lot of clowns on the music scene today, he had some TALENT. So it is a loss to lose someone like him.

2805 days ago
53.

ZMT    

HEY #42 GO LOOSEN UP WITH A JAMES BROWN ALBUM!

2805 days ago
54.

Carlos    

i wonder if he still singing "i feel good"?

2805 days ago
55.

Thomas    

To #45 Thomas: I don't think James Brown is feeling "good". I think he's feeling more "dead" than good. which is the correct thing for a wife beater to feel.

2805 days ago
56.

coco puff    

James Brown is a African American legend. He broke all racist barriers because of relentless drive and determination. If the crackers are haten it's just out of jealousy, for real. RIP, James Brown.

2805 days ago
57.

Bingbataboom    

RIP James!
Your gift to the world was your music and it's a better world because of it.

2805 days ago
58.

rota    

see we TMZERS have a heart except for few sh*t-sticks. Rest in peace JB, your contribution to music will always be remebered.

2805 days ago
59.

george vieto    

Thank you James Brown for your music your dance moves and being proud of your African American heritage. You and Tina Turner were my favorite soul artists in my youth. You will be sorely missed beyond words.

2805 days ago
60.

Simon    

Rest In Peace James Brown. A great Artist!U will be remembered forever. A great human being, U where human enough to make mistakes. Unlike other people here who pretend to be engels, U lived Ur life like a human being. Rest in Peace!

2805 days ago
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