After decades of making audiences feel good with his muscular singing and frenzied dancing, James Brown has died, at the age of 73. The man dubbed the “Godfather of Soul” was hospitalised in Atlanta yesterday with pneumonia and passed away overnight. His agent said he died of heart failure. During his marathon career, James Brown recorded over 119 top singles and made 50 albums.
He had a huge impact on music and as a figurehead for a generation of black Americans.
“I’m a product of the sixties and he was the first person that made African-Americans proud of their heritage,” one woman said, in New York.
“I think that’s awful. We lost a great icon. He was very talented and inspired a lot of people. It’s terrible,” a young girl said.
James Brown performed until the very end. He´had even scheduled a performance this New Year´s Eve in New York.
He called himself the hardest working man in showbusiness. In his prime, he worked up to 51 weeks in a year. He built up a business empire from nothing, including a string of radio stations, a production company, expensive cars and his own plane.
And yet he had a troubled personal life. He was sent to prison several times during the 80s and 90s; He dabbled heavily in drugs.
But his enduring legacy is his legion of hit singles, such as “Out of sight” and “Sex machine”.
The singer, songwriter, bandleader and dancer will be remembered for indelibly transforming 20th-century music.