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James Brown, Undisputed Godfather of Soul, Dead at 73

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While some debate about who created rock and roll, there has only been one Godfather of Soul, James Brown, who he died this morning of pneumonia.

Yesterday he went to the dentist for a "routine appointment" when it was discovered that the "Hardest Working Man in Show Business" had the illness.

Rarely has an artist inspired legends with his voice, his songs, his style, and his dancing. Prince, Michael Jackson, Mick Jagger, Sly and the Family Stone, numerous Motown acts, as well as contemporary superstars like Usher and Justin Timerberlake all credit James Brown as a major influence, which is to say nothing about his importance in early hip hop who sampled the Godfather's vocals and beats relentlessly.

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Brown went on a tear from 1959 thru 1976 of having at least one Top Ten single in the Billboard Hot 100 or the Billboard Top R&B Singles chart each year except one, 1964. Not that he needed to prove that he was no slacker, in 1965 he released two of his all-time biggest hits "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)".

Success didn't end for Brown in the 70s, in 1985 he re-entered the Top 10 with "Living in America", the hit single that could be found on the Rocky IV soundtrack, that earned him a Grammy for best R&B vocal performance, male in 1986.

He survived his last three years as a teenager in juvenile detention centers, he survived prostate cancer, he even survived a nasty stint in 1988 with PCP that lead to three more years in prison.

As he got older he continued to get in trouble with the law and put out records and tour, exactly what you'd expect from a real rock star. But not only did James Brown always end up on his feet, he'd then kick over the microphone stand and pull it back up with a spin.

After the jump, our favorite memory of him on the big screen, giving one of the finest performances in a film filled with great performances.

From the "Blues Brothers" in the scene where Jake finally "sees the light" that it is imperative that they get the band back together.

photo by Sagrado Corazon

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