Category: james brown

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On this day in music history: September 9, 196…

On this day in music history: September 9, 1967 – “Cold Sweat Pt. 1” by James Brown hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 3 weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on August 26, 1967. Written by James Brown and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, it is the fifth R&B chart topper for “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business”. The song is originally written in 1962, but is re-recorded and given a dramatic re-arrangement after Brown hears “Funky Broadway”, the recent hit single by Wilson Pickett. The track is recorded at King Studios in Cincinnati, OH in May of 1967, and is the first session for engineer Ron Lenhoff who becomes Brown’s recording engineer for the next eight years, recording and mixing numerous hits for “The Godfather Of Soul”. The extended workout runs over seven minutes in its entirety, but is edited and split into two parts for single release. “Cold Sweat” marks the beginning of a major turning point in the evolution of R&B music, being the first record to introduce the sub genre known as Funk. By putting more emphasis on the rhythmic aspects of the song, rather than the melody, it is regarded as one of the most influential records ever released. Released as single in July, “Cold Sweat” climbs the R&B and pop charts quickly. Ironically, it is replaced at the top of the R&B charts by Wilson Pickett’s “Funky Broadway”, the very song that inspired James Brown to create “Cold Sweat”.

twixnmix: David Ruffin and Tammi Terrell …

twixnmix:

David Ruffin and

Tammi Terrell

After escaping an abusive relationship with James Brown, Tammi began a volatile relationship with the lead singer David Ruffin in 1965. In 1966, David surprised her with a marriage proposal.

However, when she announced her engagement to David on stage he became upset. Tammi was devastated once she discovered that he had a wife, three children and another girlfriend in Detroit. This led to them having public fights. Tammi was portrayed in the Temptations movie during the Motown picnic scene. It is claimed that

David

hit

Tammi

with a hammer and/or a machete, though these claims were denied by

Tammi’s family. Earl Van Dyke, leader of Motown’s Funk Brothers band, recalled David beating up Tammi at the Motown Hitsville headquarters. Her sister Ludie Montgomery also confirmed a story that Tammi was hit in the face by Ruffin’s motorcycle helmet, leading to the end of their relationship in 1967. Tammi went on to record classic duets with Marvin Gaye, but she unfortunately died from a brain tumor at the age of 24 in 1970. David died of a drug overdose in 1991.

On this day in music history: August 14, 1965 …

On this day in music history: August 14, 1965 – “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag Pt. 1” by James Brown hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 8 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on September 4, 1965. Written and produced by James Brown, it is the second R&B chart topper for the “Godfather Of Soul”. The song is recorded in February 1965 when the band stops at a recording studio in Charlotte, North Carolina while en route to a gig in nearby Greensboro. The band run through the song a few times before recording the master take. In all, it is completed in under hour of studio time. Prior to its release, the nearly seven minute long track is split into two parts for single release, slightly sped up with reverb added. “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” marks an important turning point in James Brown’s career, pioneering the R&B sub genre known as Funk, as well as becoming his first major pop crossover hit. The single wins Brown his first Grammy Award, for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance in 1966. The original unedited version is finally released on Brown’s career retrospective “Star Time!” in 1991. The track is featured at its original recorded speed, and without the reverb added to the hit single version. The song is covered by several artists over the years including Otis Redding, The McCoys, Jimmy Smith, Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, and Roger Troutman. James Brown’s original recording is also used in the film “Mrs. Doubtfire” in 1993. “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

On this day in music history: August 7, 1971 -…

On this day in music history: August 7, 1971 – “Hot Pants (She’s Got To Use What She Got, To Get What She Wants)” by James Brown hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 1 week, also peaking at #15 on the Hot 100 on August 21, 1971. Written by James Brown and Fred Wesley, it is the eleventh chart topping single for “The Godfather Of Soul”. The early 70’s will mark a period of major changes in James Brown’s career. The core members of his band during the 60’s leave in a dispute over money. Brown replaces them with new members in March of 1970, including brothers William “Bootsy” Collins (bass) and Phelps “Catfish” Collins (guitar). Dubbing his new band The JB’s, with trombonist Fred Wesley acting as the band’s musical director live, the new members gives “The Godfather” a new infusion of energy, driving his music to even greater heights. This band cut several hits in a row, including the classics “Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine”, “Super Bad”, “Soul Power”, and “Talkin’ Loud And Sayin’ Nothing”. However, in March of 1971, the line up abruptly comes apart when Bootsy and Catfish Collins depart the band after a European tour. They are replaced by guitarists Hearlon “Cheese” Martin, Robert Coleman, and bassist Fred Thomas. One of the first tracks they cut is “Hot Pants” (named after the popular tight fitting women’s short shorts that are in fashion at the time), recorded at Starday-King Studios in Nashville, TN on May 13, 1971. Issued as a single in July of 1971, it is James Brown’s final release for King Records (second release on his People Records imprint), as he signs a new deal with Polydor Records, who also purchases his back catalog from King. “Hot Pants” becomes another one of Brown’s most sampled songs, being sampled by Eric B. & Rakim, EPMD and Information Society to name a few.

On this day in music history: August 2, 1969 -…

On this day in music history: August 2, 1969 – “Mother Popcorn (You Got To Have A Mother For Me)” by James Brown hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 on July 26, 1969. Written by James Brown and Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis, it is the ninth R&B chart topper for “The Godfather Of Soul”. Brown and Ellis craft the song, taking inspiration from Brown’s groundbreaking single “Cold Sweat”, which the duo also wrote together. The Popcorn, then a popular dance in the black community, is also a catalyst in the writing of the song. “A mother” is JB’s code word for a woman’s big round behind.  Brown first records it as “You Got To Have A Mother For Me” at RCA Studios in Hollywood, CA on January 13, 1969. This first version winds up being shelved and is not released until it is featured on the compilation “Motherlode” in 1988. A short time after this, Brown records the instrumental “The Popcorn” (#11 R&B, #30 Pop), releasing it in May of 1969. While it’s climbing the charts, James decides to go back and re-record “You Got To Have A Mother For Me”, revamping it musically, but keeping the original lyrics intact. The song now re-titled “Mother Popcorn (You Got To Have A Mother For Me)” is recorded at King Studios in Cincinnati, OH on May 13, 1969. King Records splits six minute plus long track into two parts, rush releasing it as a single. “Mother Popcorn” enters the charts within two weeks of its early June release. “Popcorn” is also featured prominently in sample pioneers Double Dee & Steinski’s “Lesson Two – The James Brown Mix” in 1984. In 1991, Prince quotes a couple of lines from “Mother Popcorn” on his single “Gett Off”.

twixnmix: David Ruffin and Tammi Terrell …

twixnmix:

David Ruffin and

Tammi Terrell

After escaping an abusive relationship with James Brown, Tammi began a volatile relationship with the lead singer David Ruffin in 1965. In 1966, David surprised her with a marriage proposal.

However, when she announced her engagement to David on stage he became upset. Tammi was devastated once she discovered that he had a wife, three children and another girlfriend in Detroit. This led to them having public fights. Tammi was portrayed in the Temptations movie during the Motown picnic scene. It is claimed that

David

hit

Tammi

with a hammer and/or a machete, though these claims were denied by

Tammi’s family. Earl Van Dyke, leader of Motown’s Funk Brothers band, recalled David beating up Tammi at the Motown Hitsville headquarters. Her sister Ludie Montgomery also confirmed a story that Tammi was hit in the face by Ruffin’s motorcycle helmet, leading to the end of their relationship in 1967. Tammi went on to record classic duets with Marvin Gaye, but she unfortunately died from a brain tumor at the age of 24 in 1970. David died of a drug overdose in 1991.

On this day in music history: June 4, 1966 – &…

On this day in music history: June 4, 1966 – “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” by James Brown & The Famous Flames hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #8 on the Hot 100 on the same date. Written by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome, it is the third R&B chart topper and third top ten pop single for “The Hardest Working Man In Show Business”. The song is initially written in 1963 with his then girlfriend Betty Jean Newsome under the title “I Cried” and recorded by Brown protege Tammy Montgomery (aka Tammi Terrell). Changes are again made to the song and Brown records it as “It’s A Man’s World” in 1964. The final released version is recorded at Talent Masters Studios in New York City on February 16, 1966. Using outside studio musicians including drummer Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Brown also hires arranger Sammy Lowe for the session to write the horn and string charts as well as conduct the string section. Released in early April of 1966, it is an immediate hit. “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” becomes James Brown’s fourth million selling single in the US. The song is covered by numerous artists over the years, including versions by Tom Jones, Grand Funk, Van Morrison, Joss Stone, and The Residents. The intro of Michael Jackson’s single “Bad” samples the horns from the beginning of “It’s A Man’s World”, as well as being sampled by Ice Cube on his song “It’s A Man’s World”, and Alicia Keys hit “Fallin’”. Brown delivers a memorable performance of the song with opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, during the “Pavarotti & Friends” live concert in Modena, Italy in 2002. Singer Christina Aguilera performs a show stopping rendition of “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”, during a tribute to the R&B icon on the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in February of 2007.

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