A couple of things: First of all, reports of the famous and their ” battle with prostate cancer” is a bit deceiving. Here it states that James Brown was treated for prostate cancer in Atlanta and is in remission. What does that mean? I looked all over for details. If I had to guess, he had out-patient radioactive seeds or cryosurgery, both suitable for an older man not wanting to interrupt a singing schedule. If you find the details of his prostate cancer treatment, let me know…I’ll add his name to my ” famous people with prostate cancer” and will add the details (figuring out the specifics of the treatment in the context of what little is reported interests me), and by the searches that reach my site, interests many others.
Now… I lived in Augusta for nine years. I often passed James Brown’s home, I believe was on Walton Way. (That’s Georgia’s Walton that is one of the Declaration of Independence signers I believe. Did you know that age 26 he was the youngest signer of the Declaration of Independence? Do you know why John Hancock signed his name so big and in the middle and at the top? Google it. Hint: From a urological perspective he had passion and he had ” balls” my friend.) We would also pass Beech Island, SC on the way to the beach from Augusta and think he was originally from there. I actually got the significance of Brown’s importance to music more than I got Elvis’ influence at the time. The quotes are very interesting at the end of this post in terms of Brown’s view of Elvis.
As a urology resident in the early 80’s I had many rotations through the V.A. hospital in Augusta. I was working in the urologic clinic and happen to go into a room wherein there was man named James Brown from Beech Island. (Beech Island is not an island and is not near the beach. It is between Augusta and this nuclear power plant that is on the way to the beach. (Man this is bringing back memories, we’d go to Fripp Island with my in-laws when my kids were little.) So… the man’s name begged the question, ” Are you related to James Brown.” As I recall he was in a wheel chair and may have had a significant issue with one leg. ” Yes, I am.” At the time for some reason the fact that he was James Brown’s father was there before me and in a wheel chair seeing a Urology resident did not fit or befit the father of such an icon. I am not saying it was not right or inappropriate that he was there but it surprised me and again for some reason intrigued me. I shouldn’t have but I asked, ” Does your son do a lot of things for you?” (Again, I don’t know why that was of interest to me.) ” My son treats me fine!” he said somewhat indignantly. I regretted asking.
Anyway this is where my story becomes a bit of a “composite” which is what my wife says I am guilty of doing to her when relating my stories about her. See ” Vicissitudes of a condom catheter.” Mr. Brown had a hydrocele, or a collection of water around the testicles inside the scrotum sac. ( The scrotum is the skin that forms a bag around the testicles.) He wanted it fixed and again, as I recall, he had a hydrocelectomy that we repaired by making an incision on the scrotum, removing the fluid and fixed it so it would not recur.
An aside: I have told this story many many times. In fact it is so famous that I was voted ” most interesting job” (basically making fun at what they perceived urologists do all day) at my twentieth high school reunion and asked to tell this story.
I am on the Urology floor of the V.A. in Augusta when a nurse announces, “It’s James Brown on the phone for you!”
Anyway….So…. I go to the phone and “the” James Brown says, ” This is James Brown. How is my father.”
“Mr. Brown, your father is fine and doing well. ….(and in a loud singing tone)… I add……..
“In fact….your Pappa’s got a brand new bag!”
(That story is a composite and about, as I recall, 85% accurate.)
Reading all that James Brown went through and had to do to become who is was is fascinating. The town Toccoa which is mentioned is about 40 miles north of here and the site of “The Great Wallenda‘s tight-rope walk over Tallulah gorge.” Google that..now that is interesting.
Added on December 29, 2006 From-www.cosmopolis.ch
On December 28, 2006 the hardest working man in showbiz made a last visit to the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The body of James Brown was carried to the Apollo in a glass-walled carriage by two white horses. Thousands of fans paid tribute to the man who sang in 1968: “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud.” James Brown died at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta at 1:45 a.m. on Monday December 25, 2006. He was hospitalized with pneumonia. James Brown was 73. Among others, he is survived by his last and fourth wife, Tomi Raye Hyne, one of his backup singers, and their son, James Jr. added in November 2000, updated on February 20, 2005
James Brown was born in Barnwell, South Carolina, as an only child in 1933. His father was a filling station attendant. When James was four, his parents separated and he grew up in the brothel of his aunt, a poor woman in Augusta, Georgia. Brown left school in the seventh grade. He picked cotton, was a shoe-shine boy, washed cars and dishes and swept out stores. At the age of 16, he took part in an armed robbery and was caught breaking into a car. James was sentenced to eight to sixteen years’ hard labor. He served a short period in the county jail before being transferred to juvenile work farms. He spent three years in a community home.
Afterwards, he tried to work as a boxer. His ambitions to make a career as a baseball pitcher ended with a leg injury. He had been a pitcher for the prison team and that’s where he first met Bobby Byrd who played against him in a local game. James Brown started to work with pianist Bobby Byrd in bars and clubs in Toccoa, Georgia. Little Richard’s manager Clint Brantley took him under contract and sent him to the Twospot Nightclub in Macon, Georgia. During the day, he worked at Lawson’s Motor Company in town, in the evenings, he worked as a drummer and organ player in the club’s house band which accompanied Bill Johnson, the Four Steps of Rhythm and the Gospel Starlighters. At that time, they switched from gospel to r&b which was then in the air. Later, James Brown became a member of Bobby Byrd’s gospel group Three Swanees which became the Swanee Quintet and later the Swanees. In 1955, the singer Sylvester Keels and the guitarist Nafloyd Scott where part of the group. The band toured Georgia and developed into the Famous Flames, a black music revue in which all members had at least to play two instruments and to act as dancers and singers. In 1956, James Brown took over the direction of the Famous Flames which consisted of Keels and Scott, but also Johnny Terry and Nashpendle Knox (both vocals), Wilbert Smith and Ray Felder (both saxophone), Clarence Mack (bass) and Edison Gore (drums).
The Famous Flames caught the attention of King Records and, in April 1956, they released the single Please, Please, Please which soared into the R&B top ten. James Brown rapidly made himself the center of the revue. In 1958 record sales dropped and King Records threatened to cancel the contract if the next single did not become a did. Try Me was released in September 1958 and became a #58 hit in the US charts and a #1 in the r&b charts. It was the beginning of James Brown’s career. On October 24, 1962, he performed at the Apollo and the recording Live At The Apollo, which he paid for himself since Syd Nathan did not want to advance money on a live record, made him a star. With the Famous Flames, now led by saxophonist J.C. Davis, he broke all concert records. Several months after its release, on June 29, 1963, the album entered the pop charts.
In 1964, James Brown had several hits in the US charts: Think (#33), Night Train (#35), Prisoner of Love (#18). His album Live at the Apollo climbed to US#2 and became the first LP in pop history to sell more than a million copies. Pure Dynamite was a US#10 album. “Mr. Dynamite” was another nickname for James Brown who was one of the first black stars to be able to break out of the black music ghetto and his band was the number one r&b attraction. His greatest hits of that period were Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag (US#6, UK#21), I Got You (I Feel Good) (US#1, UK#18), It’s a Man’s World (US#3, UK#17), Cold Sweat (US#4), I Got The Feelin’ (US#5), Say It Loud – I’m Black and Proud (US#9) and Mother Popcorn (US#7). His best selling albums in 1966 were I Got You (US#20) and in 1968 I Can’t Stand Myself (US#16). Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag earned him a Grammy. James Brown was able to buy a private jet, a villa, four radio stations, a restaurant chain, a moated castle and a music publishing house. He performed 300 times a year which made him “the hardest working man in showbiz”.
James Brown transformed popular music. He not only added gospel dialogues and a jazzy saxophone played by Maceo Parker, but as well as being the “Godfather of Soul” he is the “Godfather of Funk” since he invented the style long before George Clinton came along. His decline began when musicians like Maceo Parker, Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley and Bootsy Collins left him in order to join, with the exception of Ellis, George Clinton’s bands Parliament and Funkadelic. The irony was that George Clinton had looked up to James Brown as his model. James Brown was also a role model for ghetto kids. He made political statements, donated money to colored organizations, supported programs against drug abuse and fought for the ideas of Martin Luther King.
In 1969, Look magazine called him “the most important black man in America”, LeRoi Jones “our number one black poet”. In 1970, James Brown’s hits included It’s a New Day (US#26), Brother Rapp (US#26), Get Up (I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine) (US#17, UK#20, Germany#29) and Super Bad (US#9). The album Sex Machine was a #24 hit in the United States. The same year, Mr. Dynamite married Deirdre Jenkins. Until 1974, James Brown stayed on the winning road with hit singles such as Hot Pants, Part 1 (US#14), Make It Funky, Part 1 (US#18), Good Foot, Part 1 (US#9), My Thang (US#30) and The Payback (US#27). The albums Hot Pants (US#20), Black Caesar (US#21) and Hell (US#24).
In the mid-1970s, the picture darkened. The IRS was was asking James Brown to pay $4,5 million back tax. He was involved in a radio station bribery scandal, his marriage broke up and his son Teddy died in a car accident. Until 1980, James Brown had only two more notable successes, the single Get Up Offa That Thing (US#49, UK#22) and the album Reality (US#53). The tax debt forced him to sell his radio station and his airplane. In order to overcome his financial difficulties, he had to tour Japan and Africa. Until then, he had sold over 100 million records.
James Brown became a victim of the disco revolution. A guest part in the cult movie The Blues Brothers in 1980 allowed him a comeback that led to a success with the title Rapp Payback (GB#30). The contract with Island Records was cancelled. He switched to RCA. In 1983 he had two singles in the UK charts, Bring It On – Bring It On (UK#42) and, together with Africa Bambaataa, Unity, Part 1 (UK#38).
In 1985, James Brown had a hit with the title song to Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky IV. His patriotic hymn Living in America (US#4, UK#4, Germany#12) caught the attention of the teenagers, but not of his old fans. In the summer of 1985, Sex Machine was re-released and made it into the UK charts (#30). In February 1987, Living in America earned a Grammy. In 1986, together with Steve Winwood, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Alison Moyet, James Brown made the critically acclaimed album Gravity (Germany#23) which had no success with the public in the US and the UK. In 1988, the album I’m Real (US#96, UK#27, Germany#39) and its title song I’m Real (UK#31) sold better. The master of funk wanted to prove to the rap and hip-hop generation, who played his songs, that nobody could play his music like he himself.
In 1987, James Brown was arrested for drug abuse for the fifth time in ten months. His resistance to the police, an attack on his wife and the illegal possession of arms made it worse. In December 1988 he was convicted of the attempted murder of his wife and sent to prison for six years. [On February 9, 2001, Curtis Martin sent us the following comment: In the article on James Brown in your ish # 11 you state that JB was convicted of the attempted murder of his wife. He was in prison for threatening people in an office rental property of his, and then trying to evade the cops in a cross-state chase. Still not cool, but also not murder. Otherwise–very cool article. – Cosmopolis response: You are right: In 1988, Brown was accused by his wife of assault and battery. After a year of legal and personal troubles, he led the police on an interstate car chase after allegedly threatening people with a handgun. The episode ended in a six-year prison sentence; he was paroled after serving two years].
In April 1990, after only having spent 15 months at the State Park Prison in Columbia, South Carolina, James Brown was moved to a reintegration center for good conduct. During that period, he produced radio and television contributions warning against alcohol and drug abuse. In February 1991, he was released on the condition that he neither drove or possessed firearms.
In the summer of 1991, James Brown made his comeback on the scene of the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles. Together with a twelve-man band and a dynamic show, he enchanted a public which included Mick Jagger, Quincy Jones and MC Hammer. In November 1991, Sex Machine was released for the fourth time and made it to #69 in the UK. The album Love Over-Due was a return to his roots. In 1993 he received a Grammy for his life-time achievements. The same year, his album Universal James tried to reconcile tradition and contemporary styles by mixing soul with hip-hop. Neither the critics nor the public liked it. Only the single Can’t Get Any Harder made it into the UK charts (#59). James Brown’s latest release is the album I’m Back, 1998.
Concert at the AVO Session in Basel, November 4, 2000
On November 4, James Brown played a sold-out concert at the AVO-2000 festival in Basel, Switzerland. With the help of a fifteen-man band, three female singers, a female dancer & singer as well as a special guest and a master of ceremony, he offered a funky evening to remember.
The fifteen-men band began the concert without the star and the singers. Their jazzy introduction highlighted the trumpeter and the saxophonist. Rapidly, their sound became funkier. Then, the three female singers joined them. The band had already heated up the public when “The Godfather of Soul” finally made his appearance and was joined by a sexy female dancer. A medley including elements of I’m Bad and Get Funky set the tone. Living in America was a first highlight. The heavy rhythm of the band made the public dance. The female dancer also delivered a rap in Spanish and James Brown sang Get Down. A saxophone solo completed the well-orchestrated performance.
The gospel-edged ballad Try My set a quieter tone. The 67-year old James Brown is not capable of a great performance anymore, his singing abilities have declined and he cannot dance anymore. But he still knows how to orchestrate an entertaining show and his band made up for his weaknesses. The three female singers backed him on Try Me. From his latest release, 1998’s I’m Back, James Brown delivered the ballad Every Beat of My Heart. He himself played the keyboards to the instrumental version. At the end, he added a few words, singing Come Back Baby.
The driving rhythm of Just a Little Bit Harder enchanted the dancing crowd again. The sensational performance was by a blond female singer who James Brown introduced as an unknown special guest from Las Vegas. The funky moment was interrupted by Sam Cooke’s soul ballad Darling You Send Me. It was followed by trumpet, saxophone and drum solos, which drove the public crazy, especially the drummer who was lying on the ground on the front stage, using the microphone stand as a percussion instrument.
Hard funk followed with Who Let the Dog Out and the female dancer delivered another show. Afterwards, the three female singers were again the center of attraction with ballads such as Baby Come Back to Me. On the funky I Got the Feeling, the guitarist played a remarkable solo, as he did on James Brown’s hit ballad It’s a Man’s World. Mr. Dynamite was not explosive in his moves anymore, but he could still sink to the ground and scream as nobody also can.
Towards the end of the concert, I Feel Good and, for a short moment again Who Let the Dog Out, heated up the public for the inevitable Sex Machine. It was the dramatic highlight of the evening. Only a pity that James Brown cannot dance in his ecstatic way anymore. Despite that fact, the band offered a funky over twenty minute long version. At the end, the master of ceremony invited the public to clap their hands and the two-hour concert ended in a heavy and funky rhythm. Despite an enthusiastic crowd, there was no encore.
James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul”, has never had a voice that could compete with soul stars such as William “Smokey” Robinson or Marvin Gaye and, in the last two decades, his singing abilities have continuously declined. But James Brown has always been more a funk than a soul man. Despite important weaknesses and the fact, that most of the time his band was entertaining the public, James Brown can, as bandleader, still claim the title “Godfather of Funk”, as the act in Basel demonstrated.
Added on December 25, 2006
- James’ original backing group, The Famous Flames, were former band mates of Little Richard. 
- James Brown’s albums, Live at the Apollo, In the Jungle Groove, Star Time and 20 All-Time Greatest Hits! were listed in the Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. 
- Two of James Brown’s songs, “Funky President” and “The Payback” can be heard on a fictional radiostation in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. 
- In 1982, James Brown was the subject of the Tom Tom Club’s song, “Genius of Love.” 
- In 1992, a news anchor mistakenly reported that James Brown had died. A sample of that broadcast became the basis for the song “James Brown Is Dead.” 
- In 1974, James Brown performed in Zaire as part of the build up to “The Rumble in the Jungle” fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. 
- James’ entire band walked out on him in 1969, citing his being “too difficult to work with.” He replaced them with the Pacemakers, a band from Cincinnati, that stayed with him through the 1970s. 
- James Brown suffered from diabetes and prostate cancer that was in remission. 
- James Brown was known for always wearing tight pants, eye makeup and outrageous hair styles. 
- James had a bronze statue in his likeness dedicated to him on May 6, 2005 in Augusta, Georgia, at Augusta Common on Broad Street. 
- According to James’ friend, Charles Bobbit, his last words before dying were “I’m going away tonight.” A short time later, James Brown sighed quietly, closed his eyes and died. 
- James’ widow, Tomi Raye Brown, says she has been locked out of the mansion she shared with the singer and their five-year-old son, saying the gate has been padlocked at the request of James’ lawyer and accountant. Tomi was at a retreat when James died shortly after he was hospitalised in Atlanta. 
- James had an electronic doll with motion made after him, ‘Singin, Dancin’ James Brown,’ that would sing his hit “I Feel Good” with the mouth moving to the words and head and body moving to sound of the music. 
- James made his mainland China debut on February 22, 2006 at a People’s Liberation Army acrobatics theatre. 
- James was inducted into the UK Hall Of Fame on November 15, 2006. 
- James owned his own radio station, WAAW, in Augusta, Georgia. 
- Despite his many legal troubles, James Brown toured consistently, reaffirming his reputation as “the hardest working man in show business.” 
- James Brown found out that he had pneumonia while he was at his dentist. 
- James would play Santa in a red suit and cowboy boots for needy children in Augusta, GA. 
- Only three days before James Brown’s death, he joined volunteers at his annual toy giveaway in Augusta, and he planned to perform on New Year’s Eve at B.B. King Blues Club in New York. 
- James donated Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas toys, at last count in 2006 being 3,000 turkeys and 20,000 Christmas toys. 
- James campaigned against violence in schools and wrote a song about it, “Killing’s Out and School’s In.” 
- James sponsored numerous literacy programs and sang “Don’t Be A Drop-out” in a 1966 campaign to keep kids in school.
- James Brown wrote a book called The Godfather Of Soul, James Brown. 
- James’ body was displayed in repose at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY, on December 29, 2006, before his public and private funerals. 
- James comes in 2nd behind Elvis Presley for most hit singles records in their career. 
- James Brown was laid to rest in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. 
- James had 116 hits on the Billboard Top 100 Rhythm and Blues chart in his career. 
- James Brown’s public funeral service was held on December 30, 2006 at the 8,500-seat arena bearing his name in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Reverend Al Sharpton officiated. 
- James Brown had more than 120 charting singles and recorded more than 50 albums. 
- On October 1, 1957, James started honoring pending tour dates for Little Richard, who’d left rock and roll for religion. 
- James Brown dropped out of school when he was fifteen. 
- Every record that James Brown made during 1960-77 reached the top 100 on the Billboard Chart. 
- In 1968 to help ease the tension in the days following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., James Brown went on the air at a Boston radio station and sang through the night in an effort to defuse riots. 
- In 1991, the musical group The Netherlands released three songs about James Brown called “James Brown Is Dead,” “James Brown is Still Alive,” and “Who the F*** is James Brown?” 
- In 1996, James Brown’s wife, Adrienne Rodriguez, died of a heart attack shortly after having plastic surgery. She mixed PCP with her prescription medications. 
- James performed with M.C. Hammer in an HBO network special on September 20, 1991, named after Hammer’s album Too Legit To Quit. 
- James appeared and sang in a McDonalds commercial in 1984. 
- In 2000, James Brown performed at the World Championship Wrestling pay-per-view event SuperBrawl X. He danced alongside wrestler Ernest “The Cat” Miller. 
- In 1993, Augusta mayor Charles DeVaney held a ceremony honoring James Brown. During the ceremony, Augusta’s 9th Street was renamed “James Brown Boulevard.” 
- James Brown didn’t know how to read sheet music. 
- When James Brown was sixteen, he was convicted of armed robbery and sent to a juvenile detention center. 
- James Brown was an outspoken activist on behalf of African Americans and the poor. 
- James Brown could play the organ, piano, keyboards, drums, and guitar. 
- James Brown was a singer, songwriter, bandleader, and record producer. 
- In 1998, James Brown was hospitalized for treatment for addiction to painkillers. 
- James Brown was married to Verma Warren from 1954 until 1969. He was then married to Deidre Jenkins from 1971 until 1981. He later was married to Adrienne Rodriguez from 1984 until her death in 1996. Finally he was married to Tomi Raye Hynie from 2002 until the marriage was annulled in 2004. They we remarried again shortly after and remained married until his death. 
- In January of 2004, James Brown was arrested for allegedly pushing his wife. Not long after, he filed for an annulment of their marriage. 
- Entertainment Weekly voted James Brown as the seventh greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll artist of all time. 
- During James Brown’s concerts, he was so wild and energitic, that he would lose several pounds during a performance. 
- In 2004, James Brown had surgery for prostate cancer. 
- James Brown was married four times. 
- James Brown has several nicknames like “The Godfather of Soul,” “The Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk,” “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” “Soul Brother Number One,” “Mr. Dynamite,” and “The Godfather of Funk.” 
- In 1993, MC Hammer presented James Brown with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Rhythm & Blues Foundation Pioneer Awards. 
- James Brown’s first number one hit was “Try Me.” 
- In 1953, James Brown joined the Gospel Starlighters, which was a vocal quartet led by Bobby Byrd. 
- James Brown has six children named James Jr., Deanna, Terry, Daryl, Venisha, and Yamma. 
- James was friends with Elvis Presley. 
- James has a recording star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1501 Vine Street. 
- James had his real eyebrows shaved off and false ones tattooed on him in 1991. 
- James received the Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award in 1992. 
- James holds the record for the performer who has had the most singles on the Billboard Hot 100 without ever hitting #1. He has had 96 top 100 hits. 
- James served twenty six months of a 6-year prison sentence after leading police on a high-speed chase from Georgia to South Carolina in 1988. 
- James has an arena named after him, in Augusta, Georgia. 
- James tried out boxing and baseball before going into music as a career. 
- In 1987, James was arrested for drug abuse for the fifth time in 10 months. His wife, Adrienne Rodriegues, had him charged with assault and battery, and he was later convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to six years in jail. After spending 15 months in jail in Columbia, South Carolina, he was moved to a reintegration centre. It was there that he produced radio and television advertisements warning against alcohol and drug abuse. 
- James’ Grammy award-winning song “Living in America” was used for the 1986 movie, Rocky IV. The song reached #4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. 
- James formed a gospel group while in prison at 16-years of age for armed robbery. 
- James’ music is featured on the videogame Driver: Parallel Lines (2006). 
- James composed the soundtracks for Black Caesar (1973) and Slaughter’s Big Rip-Off (1973). 
- James received Kennedy Center honors in 2003. 
- James was one of the first inductees into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1986. 
- James was 5 feet 6 inches tall. 
- James Brown rider demands include getting a granny-style hood hair dryer to set his bouffant hair. James asked organizers of the Berkeley Square Ball to get him one so he could perform at the charity gig. The staff were finally able to get one from e-Bay. 
- James: Like Christ said, love thee one another. I learned to do that, and I learned to respect and be appreciative and thankful for what I had.
- James: I was stillborn. The midwives laid me aside, thought I was really gone. I laid there about an hour, and they picked me back up and tried again, ’cause my body was still warm. The Good Lord brought me back. 
- James: We need to protect the kids by giving them something to do, … (It’s about) making them interested, making them love mom and dad more, love the family more, love themselves more and love their school. So there won’t have to be killing in school.” 
- James Brown: I got a mixed group: white, black, oriental, Latino. I got them all. I always did try to work my bands that way. They thought I was always for the blacks. But I’m for everybody. 
- James Brown: It doesn’t matter how you travel it, it’s the same road. It doesn’t get any easier when you get bigger, it gets harder. And it will kill you if you let it. 
- James Brown: I don’t really care what people think, I just do my own thing. I like being loud and letting people know I’m there. 
- James Brown: (referring to his diagnosis of prostate cancer) I have overcome a lot of things in my life. I will overcome this as well. 
- James Brown: I feel very thankful to God when I see others copying my music. It makes me feel good and lets the common kid on the street know he can make it. 
- James Brown: Everybody’s got soul! Everybody doesn’t have the same culture to draw from, but everybody’s got soul. 
- (about his song “Killing’s Out, School’s In”)
James Brown: We need to come forward to save our country and our kids. I could care less about the record. If you say you’re already into that, you can throw the record away. But we’ve got to save these children. That’s what’s important. 
- James Brown: I want to say to the young kids: Education may be hard today, but if you go through it today, tomorrow will be easy. If you don’t go through it today, tomorrow will be harder. 
- James Brown: Sometimes you struggle so hard to feed your family one way, you forget to feed them the other way, with spiritual nourishment. Everybody needs that. 
- James Brown: I taught them everything they know, but not everything I know. 
- James Brown: When I’m on stage, I’m trying to do one thing: bring people joy. Just like church does. People don’t go to church to find trouble, they go there to lose it. 
- (about his song “Say It Loud — I’m Black and I’m Proud”)
James Brown: I clearly remember we were calling ourselves colored, and after the song, we were calling ourselves black. The song showed even people to that day that lyrics and music and a song can change society. 
- James Brown: (talking about Elvis Presley) I wasn’t just a fan, I was his brother. He said I was good and I said he was good; we never argued about that. Elvis was a hard worker, dedicated, and God loved him. Last time I saw him was at Graceland. We sang Old Blind Barnabus together, a gospel song. I love him and hope to see him in heaven. There’ll never be another like that soul brother. 
- James Brown: Say it loud…I’m black and I’m proud! 
- James Brown: I’ve outdone anyone you can name–Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, Strauss. Irving Berlin, he wrote 1,001 tunes. I wrote 5,500. 
- James Brown: The one thing that can solve most of our problems is dancing. 
- James Brown: Disco is James Brown, hip-hop is James Brown, rap is James Brown; you know what I’m saying? You hear all the rappers, 90 percent of their music is me.