James Brown Research Paper

1889 Words8 Pages
Shane Roachford Dr. Robert Cataliotti ENGL 102.009 16 April 2015 Soul Music in the 1960’s The 1960s was an era in American history where new ideals were founded amongst glaring social issues. Americans called for an end to segregation, sexual discrimination, and discrimination in voting, education and equal rights. Music became an escape for most Americans in those trying times and some artists saw the opportunity to utilize music to speak out against the issues in the nation. James Brown being one of those artists, influenced American culture in terms of social awareness, black empowerment and the evolution of black contemporary music. “Music, like other art forms from the civil rights era, reflected both the turmoil and the hopes of African…show more content…
In his autobiography James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, Brown speaks of his upbringing being born on born May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina raised by his mother and father until the age of four when his parents separated. Brown remained with his father who provided for him by selling the sap from trees to sell for turpentine production. Often left alone while his father was out working, Brown recalls playing with sticks and doodle bugs, digging holes and singing. Joe, Brown’s father gave him a harmonica which he learned to play and they sang songs together. Brown’s father was drafted into the Navy and left him in Augusta, Georgia with his aunt who sold moonshine and ran a brothel. (Brown 9-20). During this time Brown turned towards religion and music developing a natural instinct for sound and a love of music. He joined a church choir where he nurtured a uniquely powerful singing voice. Unfortunately Brown also dabbled in a life of crime and eventually was arrested for stealing from cars. Brown was fifteen then, and was sentenced to prison. In prison Brown formed a gospel singing group where met and befriended Bobby Byrd, an aspiring singer. Bobby and his family assist Brown getting paroled by taking him in with their family. Brown lived with the Byrd family for some time and sang is a church choir with them. Eventually Byrd and Brown formed the musical group called the famous flames…show more content…
Black musicians were subjected to record what the label viewed as hit material. James Brown stood as a beacon of empowerment for African-Americans. He quietly accomplished what the Civil Rights Movement hoped to in terms of economic justice. Brown was able to become a millionaire by selling hundreds of song grossing about 11 million dollars between 1963 and 1964 (Mr. Dynamite). James Brown had gotten his first big break with King Records, recording his first hit song with the Famous Flames called Please, Please, Please. Initially, the label refused to produce the song because lacked conventional lyrics and style of popular music. Eventually, Brown was able to get the label to see the appeal of the song and the produced it, selling millions of copies (Brown 131-135). For several years Brown and the Flames continued to produce songs but struggled to create another hit song. During this time Brown learned every aspect of the music business. He began to do shows every night and where most acts joined with promoters to sell their show, Brown decided that he should promote his own shows. Many times Brown would collaborate with the local disc jockeys, paying them to promote the shows, simultaneously building their reputation. (Brown 185). Soon enough Brown as able to understand all aspects of the music business. Brown approached Syd Nathan of King Records with the idea of recording a live album at the

More about James Brown Research Paper

Open Document