29 Black Music Milestones: James Brown Crowned Godfather of Soul

James BrownGodfather of SoulMay 3, 1933 - December 25, 2006

Recognized as one of the most iconic figures in the 20th century for his signature vocals and fancy footwork, singer/songwriter James Brown more than earned his title as the Godfather of Soul on the strength of his animated live performances and slew of hit songs.

Brown began his professional music career in 1956 and rose to fame during the late 1950s with hits like "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," "I Got You," "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud" and "Get on the Good Foot." His mix of gospel, R&B and rock and roll brought funk to the frontline and broke ground for not only funk, but soul, disco and rap music as well.

While his personal life was as eventful as his professional life, Brown managed to tour relentlessly. In addition to being considered the "Godfather of Soul," he also earned the title "the Hardest Working Man in Show Business."

In 1986, Brown was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors in 2003, three years before his death at the age of 73. Brown's other monikers include: "Soul Brother No. 1," "Mr. Dynamite" and even "The Original Disco Man."

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