This Day in Music, May 3: James Brown's Birth, Robert Palmer Addiction, Bob Dylan on XM

By , Contributor
The Godfather of Soul is Born

Happy Birthday to James Brown who was born in Barnwell, South Carolina on this day in 1933.

Renowned for his vocals and feverish dancing, Brown was a pivotal force in soul music Brown. Known as "The Godfather Of Soul", "Soul Brother No.1", and "the hardest-working man in show business".

A prolific singer, songwriter, Brown began his professional music career in 1956 and rose to fame during the late 1950s and early 1960s on the strength of his thrilling live performances.

Raised in extreme poverty, during his childhood, Brown earned money shining shoes, sweeping out stores, washing cars and dishes and singing in talent contests. He performed buck dances to entertain US troops from Camp Gordon at the start of World War II as their convoys traveled over a canal bridge near his home.

Brown joined The Famous Flames in the mid-'50s, scoring the R&B hit "Please, Please Please" in 1956. His breakthrough was the 1963 LP Live at the Apollo, (which the singer self-financed), the album stayed on the pop charts for fourteen months, peaking at No. 2.

Brown demanded extreme discipline, perfection and precision from his musicians and dancers, and had the practice of assessing fines on members of his band who broke his rules, such as wearing unshined shoes, dancing out of sync or showing up late on stage.

At the age of 16, he was arrested for theft and served 3 years in prison and three marriages saw him fathering five sons and four daughters. In 1988, Brown was arrested following an alleged high-speed car chase on Interstate 20 along the Georgia-South Carolina state border. He was convicted of carrying an unlicensed pistol and assaulting a police officer, along with various drug-related and driving offenses. Although he was sentenced to six years in prison, he was eventually released in 1991 after serving only three years of his sentence.

James Brown classics include "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", "I Got You (I Feel Good)", "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine".

Brown died on 25th Dec 2006 at the age of 73 after being diagnosed with severe pneumonia.

Also on this day -- Robert Palmer Gets Addicted - 1986

Robert Palmer went to No.1 on the US singles chart with "Addicted To Love". Palmer originally recorded the song as a duet with Chaka Khan but due to contractual problems her voice was removed.

The songs success was partly due to the highly popular video directed by Terence Donovan, in which Palmer's backing band is a group of models whose pale skin, heavy makeup, dark hair and seductive expression makes them resemble the women in Patrick Nagel paintings. The models in the video are (from left to right) Patty Kelly, Julie Pankhurst, Teri Marguerite Ryan and Julia Bolino with Kathy Davies at the back on drums. A musician was hired to teach the models basic guitar fingering techniques.

2006 - Bob Dylan on XM

The first Bob Dylan radio program was aired on XM Satellite Radio. Tracks played on his show included Blur, Prince, Billy Bragg, Wilco, Mary Gauthier, L.L. Cool J and The Streets.

"A lot of my own songs have been played on the radio, but this is the first time I've ever been on the other side of the mic", said Dylan of his shows.


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A former musician, Neil was in the 80's group The Cheaters who were once signed to EMI's Parlophone label, and released three albums. He was also a radio presenter and is still a regular music pundit on various BBC stations. Neil is the founder of the award winning web site This Day in Music which is…

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