The Day James Brown Went Live At The Apollo

10/24/2011
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(Gibson) On this day in 1962, soul singer James Brown recorded his legendary Live at the Apollo album. Gibson takes a look back: By 1962, James Brown had been kicking around the music business for seven years – first in a gospel act, then as a member of vocal group The Famous Flames and later as an R&B frontman (the Flames became his backing singers). He'd become a big star in the South (making his name on the "chitlin' circuit") and had an assortment of R&B hits ("Try Me," "Lost Someone" and "Please, Please Please" among them). Although a couple of his tunes had scraped the pop Top 40 – "Think" and "Night Train" – he wasn't a bonefide superstar… yet.

In the fall of 1962, the man who would be known as the Godfather of Soul set the wheels in motion that would make him one of the great rock and roll, R&B and pop legends. On this day in '62, Brown brought his self-financed show to New York City's Apollo Theater and arranged for it to be recorded (also on his own dime).

The singer had to pay for everything himself because the people at his label (King Records) didn't believe a live album would be profitable. Brown, out to prove his point, put on the show of his life and delivered his R&B repertoire in an explosive manner that had never been captured on his studio recordings. There's just no contest between the live versions of "I'll Go Crazy" and "I Don't Mind" and their studio renditions. Plus, as usual for his jaw-dropping shows, he did things that couldn't be contained by a hit single – a 10-minute version of "Lost Someone," "Please, Please, Please" as a six-plus-minute medley that serves as a roll call of his hits. more on this story

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