James Brown joined Bobby Byrd's doo-wop group in 1952 at the age of 19 after a three year stint in prison for breaking into a car to steal a coat. The Famous Flames soon became a well-known live act due to his energetic life performance and enjoyed their first chart success in 1956.

Having already conquered the R&B world by storm at the dawn of the 60s, James Brown unleashed the Funk with his 1965 recording of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", released shortly after trombonist Alfred "Pee Wee" Ellis had become the band's new leader. For the first time, all instruments were focused on the rhythmic structure of a track, which was to become the main characteristic of the emerging new music classified as Funk. James Brown strongly opposed the rising violent notion of the black revolution but after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 he provided a voice for the black community with the release of "Say It Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)". The record influenced poets and musicians alike to openly fight for the end of suppression and racial segregation. By the end of the decade, The Godfather of Soul was the leader of the black movement and on the verge of building a Funk empire that would last well into the 70s and not only change popular music but also popular culture forever.

Recommended Listening:

Say It Loud-I'm Black And Proud 1969

Selected Album Discography:

Live At The Apollo 1963
Papa's Got A Brand New Bag 1965
Cold Sweat 1967
The Popcorn 1969

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