102 Facts About James Brown


James Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia.


James Brown rose to prominence in the mid-1950s as the lead singer of the Famous Flames, a rhythm and blues vocal group founded by Bobby Byrd.


James Brown continued to perform and record until his death from pneumonia in 2006.


James Brown holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that did not reach No 1.


James Brown is ranked seventh on Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.


James Brown was born on May 3,1933, in Barnwell, South Carolina, to 16-year-old Susie and 21-year-old Joseph Gardner James Brown in a small wooden shack.


The James Brown family lived in poverty in Elko, South Carolina, which was an impoverished town at the time.


James Brown began singing in talent shows as a young child, first appearing at Augusta's Lenox Theater in 1944, winning the show after singing the ballad "So Long".


James Brown learned to play the piano, guitar, and harmonica during this period.


James Brown became inspired to become an entertainer after hearing "Caldonia" by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five.


James Brown met singer Bobby Byrd when the two played against each other in a baseball game outside the detention center.


Byrd discovered that James Brown could sing after hearing of "a guy called Music Box", which was James Brown's musical nickname at the prison.


Byrd has since claimed he and his family helped to secure an early release, which led to James Brown promising the court he would "sing for the Lord".


James Brown went on to work with both of Lawson's sons, and would come back to visit the family from time to time throughout his career.


James Brown reputedly joined the band after one of its members, Troy Collins, died in a car crash.


James Brown then sent them to a local radio station to record a demo session, where they performed their own composition "Please, Please, Please", which was inspired when Little Richard wrote the words of the title on a napkin and Brown was determined to make a song out of it.


On October 24,1962, James Brown financed a live recording of a performance at the Apollo and convinced Syd Nathan to release the album, despite Nathan's belief that no one would buy a live album due to the fact that James Brown's singles had already been bought and that live albums were usually bad sellers.


In 1963, James Brown scored his first top 20 pop hit with his rendition of the standard "Prisoner of Love".


King Records fought against this and was granted an injunction preventing James Brown from releasing any recordings for the label.


James Brown bought radio stations during the late 1960s, including WRDW in his native Augusta, where he shined shoes as a boy.


In November 1967, James Brown purchased radio station WGYW in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a reported $75,000, according to the January 20,1968 Record World magazine.


James Brown branched out to make several recordings with musicians outside his own band.


James Brown released three albums of Christmas music with his own band.


In 1973, James Brown provided the score for the blaxploitation film Black Caesar.


James Brown's compromised commercial standing prevented him from charging a large fee.


James Brown guest-starred in the Miami Vice episode "Missing Hours".


Previously, James Brown appeared alongside a litany of other Black musical luminaries in The Blues Brothers.


James Brown performed the song in the film at Apollo Creed's final fight, shot in the Ziegfeld Room at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and was credited in the film as the Godfather of Soul.


In 1988, James Brown worked with the production team Full Force on the new jack swing-influenced I'm Real.


James Brown returned to music with the album Love Over-Due in 1991.


That same year, James Brown appeared on rapper MC Hammer's video for "Too Legit to Quit".


James Brown had served two-and-a-half years of two concurrent six-year sentences for aggravated assault and other felonies.


James Brown released the singles "How Long" and "Georgia-Lina", which failed to chart.


In 1995, James Brown returned to the Apollo and recorded Live at the Apollo 1995.


James Brown celebrated his status as an icon by appearing in a variety of entertainment and sports events, including an appearance on the WCW pay-per-view event, SuperBrawl X, where he danced alongside wrestler Ernest "the Cat" Miller, who based his character on James Brown, during his in-ring skit with the Maestro.


James Brown then appeared in Tony Scott's short film Beat the Devil in 2001.


James Brown was featured alongside Clive Owen, Gary Oldman, Danny Trejo and Marilyn Manson.


James Brown made a cameo appearance in the 2002 Jackie Chan film The Tuxedo, in which Chan was required to finish James Brown's act after having accidentally knocked out the singer.


In 2004, James Brown opened for the Red Hot Chili Peppers at several Hyde Park concerts in London.


In 2006, James Brown continued his Seven Decades of Funk World Tour.


James Brown played a full concert as part of the BBC's Electric Proms on October 27,2006, at The Roundhouse, supported by the Zutons, with special appearances from Max Beasley and the Sugababes.


James Brown's last televised appearance was at his induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame in November 2006, before his death the following month.


For many years, James Brown's touring show was one of the most extravagant productions in American popular music.


The introduction by Fats Gonder, captured on James Brown's 1963 album Live at the Apollo is a representative example:.


James Brown's performances were famous for their intensity and length.


James Brown danced vigorously as he sang, working popular dance steps such as the Mashed Potato into his routine along with dramatic leaps, splits and slides.


James Brown's routine was inspired by a similar one used by the professional wrestler Gorgeous George, as well as Little Richard.


James Brown had a practice of directing, correcting and assessing fines on members of his band who broke his rules, such as wearing unshined shoes, dancing out of sync or showing up late on stage.


James Brown used his splayed fingers and hand signals to alert the offending person of the fine that person must pay to him for breaking his rules.


The success of this led to Brown meeting with President Lyndon B Johnson at the White House.


Johnson cited James Brown for being a positive role model to the youth.


In 1968 James Brown endorsed Hubert Humphrey, but later Brown gained the confidence of President Richard Nixon, to whom he found he had to explain the plight of Black Americans.


In 1968, in response to a growing urge of anti-war advocacy during the Vietnam War, James Brown recorded the song, "America Is My Home".


At the time of the song's release, James Brown had been participating in performing for troops stationed in Vietnam.


In 1969, James Brown recorded two more songs of social commentary, "World" and "I Don't Want Nobody to Give Me Nothing", the latter song pleading for equal opportunity and self-reliance rather than entitlement.


James Brown was made "freeman of the city" in Lagos, Nigeria, by Oba Adeyinka Oyekan, for his "influence on black people all over the world".


James Brown was labeled an "Uncle Tom" for supporting Humphrey and for releasing the pro-American funk song, "America Is My Home", in which James Brown had lambasted protesters of the Vietnam War as well as the politics of pro-black activists.


James Brown began supporting Republican president Richard Nixon after being invited to perform at Nixon's inaugural ball in January 1969.


James Brown initially was invited to perform at a Youth Concert following Nixon's inauguration in January 1973 but bailed out due to the backlash he suffered from supporting Nixon.


James Brown later reversed his support of Nixon and composed the song, "You Can Have Watergate " as a result.


James Brown later supported Democratic President Jimmy Carter, attending one of Carter's inaugural balls in 1977.


Less than a year after Rodriguez died in 1996, James Brown hired Tomi Rae Hynie to be a background singer for his band; she later claimed that she was his fourth wife.


The decision was based on the grounds that Hynie's previous marriage was invalid and that James Brown had abandoned his efforts to annul his own marriage to Hynie.


For most of his career, James Brown had a strict drug- and alcohol-free policy for any member in his entourage, including band members, and would fire people who disobeyed orders, particularly those who used or abused drugs.


James Brown engaged in the off-label use of sildenafil, maintaining that it gave him "extra energy".


James Brown's widow suggested Brown would "do crack" with a female acquaintance.


Since James Brown was still on parole at the time, he relied on his agent Clint Brantley "and a few thousand dollars to make the situation disappear".


On July 16,1978, after performing at the Apollo, James Brown was arrested for reportedly failing to turn in records from one of his radio stations after the station was forced to file for bankruptcy.


James Brown was convicted of carrying an unlicensed pistol and assaulting a police officer, along with various drug-related and driving offenses.


James Brown claimed Brown would "place a hand on her buttocks and loudly told her in a crowded restaurant to not look or speak to any other man besides himself;" Rushton eventually withdrew her lawsuit.


In yet another civil suit, a woman named Lisa Agbalaya, who worked for James Brown, said the singer would tell her he had "bull testicles", handed her a pair of zebra-print underwear, told her to wear them while he massaged her with oil, and fired her after she refused.


In 2003, James Brown was pardoned by the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services for past crimes that he was convicted of committing in South Carolina.


On four occasions between 1987 and 1995, James Brown was arrested on charges of assault against his third wife, Adrienne Rodriguez.


In one incident, Rodriguez reported to authorities that James Brown beat her with an iron pipe and shot at her car.


In January 2004, James Brown was arrested in South Carolina on a domestic violence charge after Tomi Rae Hynie accused him of pushing her to the floor during an argument at their home, where she suffered scratches and bruises to her right arm and hip.


James Brown had chronic illness with type 1 diabetes that went undiagnosed for years, according to his longtime manager Charles Bobbit.


Regardless of his health, James Brown maintained his reputation as the "hardest working man in show business" by keeping up with his grueling performance schedule.


On December 23,2006, James Brown became very ill and arrived at his dentist's office in Atlanta, Georgia, several hours late.


James Brown remained hospitalized and his condition worsened throughout the day.


Bobbit was at his bedside and later reported that James Brown stuttered, "I'm going away tonight", then took three long, quiet breaths and fell asleep before dying.


In 2019, an investigation by CNN and other journalists led to suggestions that James Brown had been murdered.


James Brown was buried in a crypt at his daughters home in Beech Island, South Carolina.


The irrevocable trust, separate and apart from James Brown's will, was created on his behalf, that same year, by his attorney, Albert "Buddy" Dallas, one of three personal representatives of James Brown's estate.


James Brown's will covered the disposition of his personal assets, such as clothing, cars, and jewelry, while the irrevocable trust covered the disposition of the music rights, business assets of James Brown Enterprises, and his Beech Island, South Carolina estate.


Brown's will had been signed 10 months before James II was born and more than a year before Brown's marriage to Tomi Rae Hynie.


On January 24,2007, James Brown's children filed a lawsuit, petitioning the court to remove the personal representatives from the estate and appoint a special administrator because of perceived impropriety and alleged mismanagement of James Brown's assets.


On January 31,2007, Hynie filed a lawsuit against James Brown's estate, challenging the validity of the will and the irrevocable trust.


The decision was based on the grounds that Hynie's previous marriage was invalid and that James Brown had abandoned his efforts to annul his own marriage to Hynie.


In 2020, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that Hynie had not been legally married to James Brown and did not have a right to his estate.


James Brown received awards and honors throughout his lifetime and after his death.


The bridge was officially dedicated in September 1993, and James Brown appeared at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the event.


James Brown returned to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on July 4,2002, for an outdoor festival, performing with bands such as the String Cheese Incident.


James Brown was one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural induction dinner in New York on January 23,1986.


On February 25,1992, James Brown was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th annual Grammy Awards.


On June 15,2000, James Brown was honored as an inductee to the New York Songwriters Hall of Fame.


On November 14,2006, James Brown was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame, and he was one of several inductees to perform at the ceremony.


In recognition of his accomplishments as an entertainer, James Brown was a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors on December 7,2003.


James Brown appeared on the BET Awards June 24,2003, and received the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by Michael Jackson, and performed with him.


The statue was to have been dedicated a year earlier, but the ceremony was put on hold because of a domestic abuse charge that James Brown faced at the time.


James Brown had originally been scheduled to receive the honorary doctorate from Paine College during its May 2007 commencement.


James Brown was inducted by Bowlegged Lou of the production team Full Force.


On December 22,2007, the first annual "Tribute Fit For the King of King Records" in honor of James Brown was held at the Madison Theater in Covington, Kentucky.