When James Brown passed away on December 25, 2006 at the age of 73 from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia, elaborate public memorial services were held at The Apollo Theater in New York City and the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia. They were officiated by his long time friend and associate, the Rev. Al Sharpton. Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Little Richard, Ludacris, and Dr. Dre were among the celebrities paying tribute to The Hardest Working Man in Show Business.
Browns illustrious career spanned six decades. He recorded 71 studio albums, 14 live albums, and an incredible 144 singles. Mr. Dynamite had 16 number one R&B hits and defined the genre of funk music. He was a dazzling performer and shrewd businessman who was one of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Born May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Georgia. As the leader of The Famous Flames, he released his first million selling hit, Please, Please, Please, in 1956. His many accolades include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy and BET Lifetime Achievement Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In addition to being a consummate performer, The Godfather had a strong social conscious. He encouraged children to stay in school with his Dont Be A Dropout campaign that was endorsed by Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Brown also performed for troops in Vietnam at the invitation of President Lyndon Johnson, and his song Say It Loud, Im Black and Im Proud became a theme for the civil rights movement. He also calmed an angry crowd on April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by performing a free televised concert in Boston, MA.
James Brown was a major influence on Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, and Jagger produced a theatrical film, and a