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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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76.

Lenn K    

I'v e read most the post about James Brown and I just laughed. I grew up with James Brown's music and it was very good. However, looking at his personal life where he beat women and was a terrible drug abuser, I can't give him the praise. Like they said, the last two decades were horrible and if you over look that you're over looking the women who were victims of this monster. It might be okay for some of you, but what if that was your daughter or sister. Remember OJ Simpson was considered a great football player until he killed Ron Goldman and Nicole Simpson. Now all he is considered is a murder who got away with it, period!

2805 days ago
77.

Amy    

James Brown amazing musician " Godfather of Soul" Awesome contribution to entertainment but now after hearing his supposed "domestic abuse" I wonder sure musicians can be great music wise but are they great personally as people? I mean He had all this talent but didn't just didn't he have the common sense to know better then to hit women I "just heard" over an hour ago that he "locked his now current wife & 5 year old son out of there home" wtf???
If he knew that he wasn't the marrying type, do NOT stay married or get married ( case in point Mick Jagger) he couldn't get no satification
just a bunch of kids to support
Lets just hope that he hopefully made it to heaven, but I don't think God was too pleased about the domestic abuse (IF that proved to be true). However it's true everything now is based or copied off him, Just listen to today's music.

Ironic that he died on Christmas Day, I wonder how his family all handled today being that it's Christmas
hmm

2805 days ago
78.

ZMT    

SPIN SILLY , HIS GOOD OUT- WEIGHTS HIS BAD AND THATS SAYING MORE THAN YOUR SILLY COMMENT. WE ARE BOMBING WOMEN AND CHILDREN EVERYDAY . CHILDREN ARE BEING SHOT IN THE STREETS AND DRUGS ARE AS COMMON IN THIS SOCIETY AS CANDY BARS. SINCE YOU ARE OF THE LIVING, WHY NOT WORK AT MAKING THIS A BETTER WORLD FOR THE ISSUES AT HAND. YOU DID NOT LIVE IN HIS HOUSE ,HOW DO YOU KNOW SHE WASN'T HITTING HIM TOO?

2805 days ago
79.

PN    

I was sorry to hear that James Brown passed away. As a 36-year old fan of his music, his music transcended many generations. Almost everything that is popular in music now, and yes, the slick commercial pop we hear 50 times or more on the radio, can be credited and influenced by James Brown. His funky beats, rhythms, and grooves are felt in just about everything, even most rap and hip-hop records, soul, pop, rock, R&B, country and many other genres. Even though I wasn't born the time that Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, I Feel Good, Please,Please, Please, Try Me and others were major hits, I loved all of those songs when I heard them the first time. I have to defend his '80s output, because he continued the funk after the '50s, '60s and '70s ended. Living in America from 1985 was undeniably funky--it was like clashing his '60s funk style with the excess of the '80s all on one song! Love the horns and rhythm blasting on that record! And I'm Real and Static from 1989 were such dynamic performances that Full Force contributed to James' '89 effort. While it's unfortunate that he had problems with the law and marital issues in his private life, I never paid attention to that. I was more focused on his music, and James made sure that we loyal fans focused on it. He was a dynamic performer with such sharp moves, flips, turns and other things in his shows. I saw a videotape of his peformances and he was just excellent! Even in his '70s he was dynamite, even with his performance with Usher at the Grammys and with Michael Jackson at the BET awards a few years ago! You could tell that he loved performing for the masses! When I found out that I'm Real was his 114th charted single in 1989, I went WOW! He did all those incredible funk songs! It still mesmerizes me to this day that he had that many singles, even those that went to No. 1. My condolences go out to James' family.....

2805 days ago
80.

hp    

The baddest cat of em all, y'all.

2805 days ago
81.

spin sycle    

HOW DOES THAT MAKE IT RIGHT????

Use your head you insensitive FOOL !PERSONALMAN!!

There is NEVER any justification for one person to beat another!

What if it were your daughter, sister or best friend?

HOW DOES THAT MAKE IT RIGHT?

2805 days ago
82.

K3    

The paramedics were heard saying "GET UP-AH! GET ON UP!"

(seriously, though.. RIP, Sir.)

2805 days ago
83.

Candice    

Bull...to the people that want to judge his character..How dare u judge the dead...are u God....What will God say when you leave this earth..will you be welcomed into God's house...How dare you judge the dead...I think thats the worst thing anyone can ever do....Judge and shall be Judged....We all will be judged and shall be judged by one..GOD...you all are not God..the ones that are talking about how he was "a bad man" When someone dies...you talk about the good things..I don't care what you think...I don't even understand how you were raised...God has the last word..and don't forget that...

2805 days ago
84.

Candice    

Another thing..I hate saying this..because it shouldn't matter..but sometimes it has to be said because there are stupid people around...not saying that everyone on here is stupid..because you all are not...I am a black woman...and James Brown..was an icon on many levels....but most importantly...an American Icon.......Its sad that he was looking so forward to performing for New Years Eve...this year...and he didn't live to do that...His music wasn't just "Say It Loud (Black and Proud)....He sang "This Is A Man's World" and "Get Up" "Gonna Have A Funky Good Time" "I Feel Good" "Cold Sweat" "I Got That Feelin"...etc etc etc....My favorite is This is a Man's World..because of the arrangement of the music..and the feeling of the song...and the fact that he says that "it would be nothing without a woman or a girl" ....Many of his songs made it to commercials for goodness sakes...He's performed all over...and he's worked harder than any celebrity I know...and he died at the age of 73....So anyone that wants to judge..I want them to get up and try to a James Brown split and get up quit....puleeze...

2805 days ago
85.

Candice    

You want to bash James Brown..but most of you people worship Elvis..come on now...

2805 days ago
86.

Michael    

a loss? I see it as one more wife beating, weak minded, drug addict off the face of the planet....enjoy your time in hell you piece of garbage!

2805 days ago
87.

Michael    

Navi, you are a true fool, and I'm glad your wife beating buddy is worm food. Success has nothing to do with Billboard charts or Grammys....this man was a low life parasite, and at this time one can truely say the world is better off seeing another drug addict on his way south

2805 days ago
88.

coco puff    

Yo, Candice, do like to get your ass beat by a drugged up alcoholic? And after he knocks your ass to the ground, does he say "C'mon, get on up!"? Brown, was a**hole, period. Yeah, he sold a lot of records but a role model he was not. The charity work he did was only out of guilt and his press agent most likely had to talk him into it. He was a self absorbed, egotistical, womanising, drug addict, who abused woman. I think there are more deserving artist to worship, thank you.

2805 days ago
89.

Dimples    

James Brown was a great artist. I don't respect the man because of his abuse of women.

2805 days ago
90.

coco puff    

I agree. While he was a great entertainer, his abuse of woman and drugs will sadly be his legacy. I only hope he made his peace with God and asked for forgiveness before his death. With all the fame, glory and money a person may accumulate in this world, one thing is certain. You come into this world with nothing and that's what you leave with. What happens in between is up to you, and mistakes will be made, but you have to own to them and repent your sins in order to obtain salvation. God Bless all of you, Amen.

2805 days ago
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