Leave it to the hardest working man in show business to go out on a slow news day, huh? That’s right folks: Innovator, visionary, and unstoppable performance powerhouse James Brown passed away early Christmas morning from complications arising from pneumonia. From the late 50’s through the 70’s, Brown (along with the Famous Flames and later the JBs) took the inspiration of his idols Ray Charles and Little Richard, and created a whole new direction for Soul and R&B.
It’s nearly impossible to overstate Brown’s influence on modern music. His vocal style is inarguably the cornerstone of rap, and his musical touch is felt across all genres, from dance to jazz and back again. While his fame and stature faded in the 80’s (both due to the increasingly cartoonish presentation of his work and a variety of legal troubles), there’s just no way to state that modern music would be the same without his amazing body of work. So let’s take a moment and enjoy Brown the way he was meant to be enjoyed: on stage and tearing it up, with this version of the 1970 hit ’Sex Machine‘.
Gawdamn, but that man could get down. I’m going to have to dig out my vinyl of Live at the Apollo, now.
Goodnight, James Brown.