Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The "Godfather of Soul" Died Christmas Morning

James Brown died of heart failure in an Atlanta Hospital on Christmas morning, just three days after checking into Emory Crawford Long Hospital suffering from pneumonia.

Brown was 73 years old.

James Brown was born into grinding poverty in Barnwell, S.C., in 1933. He was abandoned by his parents at age 4 and grew up on the streets of Augusta, Ga., under the care of relatives and friends. By the time he reached his teens he'd been sent to Reform School for breaking into cars. By age 16 he had served 3 1/2 years in Reform School where he met gospel singer Bobby Byrd. The two became friends, in fact Byrd's family took Brown into their home. Bobby Byrd also took Brown into his singing group, the Gospel Starlighters, which would soon evolve into an R&B group, the Famous Flames.

From the mid-1950s through the mid-1980s Brown was one of the most innovative entertainers of that era and rigfht up to the end, frineds insist, he was "the hardest working man in Show Business."

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