The Godfather of Funk
You can not talk about Funk without talking about James Brown. James Brown literally invented the genre. In his early career in music he was a soul singer, as he wanted to follow in the footsteps of his hero, Little Richard. As time progressed,Brown began to mix sounds of blues, jazz, and soul, in songs like Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, thus creating funk music.
Life and Musical Success
James Brown was born on May 3, 1933 in Augusta, Georgia.He was involved in music from a young age. He knew how to play the drums, piano, and guitar from his neighbors. In his teens, Brown got arrested and served 3 years of jail for robbery. He formed a gospel group called the Flames upon release, but it’s secular sound reflected more of rhythm and blues. This attracted Little Richard to him and thus began Brown’s musical legacy.
Brown’s first single, Please,Please,Please sold 3 million copies and catapulted his career. He had 100s of singles and close to 50 albums on the best-seller chart. He popularized live concert albums. Many of his songs were used as the soundtrack for black arts and black nationalist movements. He was so widely received he even began receiving requests from politicians to come help settle civil unrest. By the 1970s, only 20 years into career he was labeled The Godfather of Soul.
Influence on Future Music
James Brown is one of the most influential musicians in history. He inspired other genres like rock, soul, and R&B. He popularized funk music and shake shifted jazz altogether. He is the most sampled artist in Hip-hop and is the inspiration for a lot of the rhythmic beats and flows. Without James Brown, much of the music history we know would not exist.