The self-proclaimed “hardest-working man in show business”, the “Godfather of soul”, the “Minister of the New New Super Heavy Funk”, passed away on Christmas morning yesterday of pneumonia-induced heart failure. He was 73.
His musical contributions to 20th century popular culture cannot be easily measured. Credited with transporting r ‘n’ b into soul, and again taking soul and turning it into funk, James Joseph Brown, Jr. grabbed two generations by the hand and gave them musical revolution. His genius for rhythm not only popularised his own music, but also became the basis of hip hop sampling for the first 20 years of that new genre, and influenced the rise of modern dance music, electronica, techno and drum and bass.
Rest in peace.