Among the names he was lovingly known as were "Soul Brother #1," "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" and "The Godfather of Soul".  It’s not just hip hop and soul music that owes James Brown a huge debt, but American popular music and American culture in general.

A hat tip to The New York Times’ Jon Pareles, who wrote a fine obit on James, who passed away yesterday (that’s somehow fitting in itself).  In some ways the article  only skims the surface as it covers his rhythmic breakthroughs and the genius with which he melded rock, soul, funk and blues  Go enjoy his music: That’s the best way to remember him.

In fact, as Pareles points out, over 100 hip hop acts sampled Clyde Stubblefield’s drumming on "Funky Drummer".  He mentions, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys as examples.  However, pop artists partook also: Two that immediately come to mind are George Michael and Sinead O’Connor.  If you’ve never heard this beat (or didn’t know what it was called), turn your speakers up and press play.

Check out The New York Times’ obit on James Brown here. 

Posted by Rob Fields