25 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

James Brown launched his career as the passionate lead singer of The Famous Flames on the 1956 hit “Please, Please, Please.” Over the next three decades, he became one of the most transformative figures of the 20th century. Using his voice as percussion while commanding his band's airtight horn blasts and chicken-scratch guitar on hits like “Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1,” the Godfather of Soul taught the world how to get funky. On civil rights anthems like “Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud, Pt. 1” and hip-hop building blocks like “Funky Drummer, Pt. 1,” Brown helped shape black America.

EDITORS’ NOTES

James Brown launched his career as the passionate lead singer of The Famous Flames on the 1956 hit “Please, Please, Please.” Over the next three decades, he became one of the most transformative figures of the 20th century. Using his voice as percussion while commanding his band's airtight horn blasts and chicken-scratch guitar on hits like “Papa's Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1,” the Godfather of Soul taught the world how to get funky. On civil rights anthems like “Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud, Pt. 1” and hip-hop building blocks like “Funky Drummer, Pt. 1,” Brown helped shape black America.

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