For those of you who may have missed the news over the holidays: James Brown is dead. The 73-year-old funk forefather succumbed to heart failure in Atlanta on Christmas day, just a week before he was scheduled to perform a New Year’s Eve show in New York City. We’re not going to even try to encapsulate Brown’s life or impact here–tracing the history of “Funky Drummer” alone would require 5,000 words and a musicology degree. But there are two pieces you might want to check this morning: Jonathan Lethem’s Rolling Stone profile of Brown from this past summer, which touches on both his cultural impact and his outsized (to the say the least) personality; and a 2002 New Yorker essay of Polydor’s reissue series. And if you want something to listen to at work, there’s Douglas Wolk’s super-long, super-bad all-Brown WFMU broadcast from 2001.
And, of course, there’s also YouTube, which covers the bullet-point highs and lows of Brown’s career–from his on-stage throw-downs to his on-screen melt-downs. Say what you will about the man, but he always got on the good foot.
Fans Remember A Legend Who Worked Up A Sweat [NY Times]