James Brown was the Godfather of Soul, not B.B. King, who is often mistakenly given that title. Brown is universally recognized as the greatest and most influential frontman in the history of popular music, and he was also one of its most dynamic performers. However, his influence extended far beyond stage performance. His career as an entertainer began when he was six years old. He toured as a gospel singer with Mahvid Lewis and the Voices of Faith when he was 11 and later joined the Famous Flames at age 17. Although Brown's live performances were second to none, his less visible roles have been just as important in establishing his status as one of the most important figures in postwar American culture. Moreover, his personal relationships with other musicians have been crucial in recognizing their importance to The Great Rhythm & Blues Revival of the 1950s and '60s: Muddy Waters (his mentor), Aretha Franklin (his protege), Curtis Mayfield (his best friend) and Luther Vandross (his love interest).
James Brown was almost a member of the Temptations
In his early career, James Brown was almost a member of the Temptations. He was discovered by a record producer and offered a recording contract, but his mother lost the contract, which would have made him a member of the Temps. He was later given another chance at recording and signed with King/Federal. In 1957, he formed a vocal group called The Flames, and then the Famous Flames were born, on the King Records label. The group included singers Bobby Byrd, Baby Lloyd Stallworth, and then-unknown members of the Temptations, Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin (the latter two were childhood friends of Brown). The Flames were the opening act for Little Richard. Brown's inspiration came from seeing Richard's show, and he got the idea of having an act of multiple singers, as well as a big band behind them. He would soon use this format as the main attraction in his own shows, although he was to change the style of music he would perform.
He pioneered the polyrhythmic groove that became hip hop and rap
Brown's stage presence and showmanship have remained unmatched since his first performances in the early 1950s, when he was still a gospel singer. His persona as a performer is arguably unparalleled in any genre of music. No entertainer has ever been more stylistically diverse, or as influential in every element of their craft. Brown's early stage shows were marked by music that was almost completely acoustic, but as the 1960s progressed, he began to incorporate elements of soul and rhythm and blues into his performances. He soon became one of the architects of the now-iconic "James Brown sound," a term that was coined by Brown himself, as well as several other influential artists and producers who assisted in the creation of his music, including Teddy Reynolds, Huey P. Meaux, and, most notably, Timmy Shaw.
He was as influential as Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Michael Jackson
A quick comparison of the list of artists who have been influenced by the legacy of James Brown and those who have been influenced by Elvis Presley, The Beatles or Michael Jackson reveals a stark contrast. While each of these artists had a distinct and undeniable impact on culture, fewer specific artists can be connected to them as having a similar impact. This can almost certainly be attributed to the fact that James Brown was the first and only artist of his kind. Brown's career began at the dawn of rock 'n' roll and continued well into the digital age. Brown was the most influential and significant performer of his time, influencing all of the other performers of his time, and no performer of any generation did not have his music as a part of his or her repertoire. Brown's music has been sampled and covered by artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, the Beatles, David Bowie, Little Richard, Cher, the Sex Pistols, Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand and Mariah Carey.
He is often credited with inventing break dancing
Brown's dance moves were legendary. The most famous one was his "scratching" movement, which he did in the song "Get Up Offa That Thing." This dance movement is often reported to be the first documented break dancing move. In his song "The New Breed," he says that he's bringing a new type of ground, a new type of sound, and a new way of dancing. Brown's last performance was at Woodstock '99 Brown had been touring and performing consistently since the early 1950s, and in the late 1990s, at the age of 68, he was still performing at least 100 shows a year. In 1998, he was invited to perform at Woodstock '99, and although he was reluctant, he agreed. He was booked to perform on the third day of the concert, the first day that the rain had stopped and the concert was able to be performed, and his performance was the first to be performed on that day. Brown's appearance at the concert was a triumphant return to form. He even wore the same outfit and beret that he had worn almost 40 years earlier. He opened with "Living in America," and at the end of the song, he fell to his knees and exclaimed, "I'm back!"