James Brown was a prolific songwriter, performer, singer, bandleader, and one of the most iconic figures in funk and soul music. He is credited as the composer or the co-composer of over 1000 compositions and released 99 full length albums. Born on May 3, 1933 into extreme poverty, James Brown worked his way to the top of the funk and R&B music scene earning the moniker “The Godfather of Soul”. Brown was also renowned for his work in social activism, both in his songwriting (“America Is My Home”, “Say It Loud, I’m Black And I’m Proud”) and his advocacy of the benefits of education for schoolchildren (“Stay In School, Don’t Be A Dropout”). His spinning moves on stage, his signature splits, his trademark evangelical attire that frequently featured a cape, and his impromptu lyrics are all indelible byproducts of his genius. His unique vocal and musical style inspired artists of all genres including The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Sly Stone, Prince, and Michael Jackson. He is also the most sampled artist in hip hop, with over 1200 confirmed sampled recordings.
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