James Brown dead at 73

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116724783910180.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of www.smh.com’, ‘James Brown and his wife, Tomi Rae Brown, at a recent press conference.’);

‘Godfather of Soul’ died of heart failure on Christmas Day

Brown’s 36-year-old widow barred from the couple’s home

The man known as the “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown, died at an Augusta, Ga., hospital on Christmas Day, Sunday, Dec. 25.

Brown was admitted to the Emory Crawford Long Hospital Saturday, Dec. 24, with symptoms of pneumonia before succumbing to congestive heart failure early Sunday. He was 73.

Born James Joseph Brown May 3, 1933, in Barnwell, S.C., his career began in 1953 when he joined the Gospel Starlighters, which became the Famous Flames. In 1956, they signed with the King/Federal label, scoring a No. 6 R&B hit, “Please, Please, Please.”

For the next five decades, Brown was one of music’s biggest innovators, influencing everything from blues to rap. In the ’60s, his unique style created the genre that has become known as “funk,” and he was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

In 1988, Brown was sentenced to six years in prison for various assault and drug charges. He was released in 1991, and resumed his career, scoring a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1992 Grammy Award ceremony.

Brown released more than 45 albums and had 114 singles enter the Billboard charts, 94 of which ranked in the Top 100. In 1965, his biggest pop hit, “I Go You (I Feel Good),” earned him a Grammy for Best R&B Recording. 1987’s “Living In America” landed him the Best R&B Vocal Performance by a male honor at the 29th annual Grammy Awards.

Before checking into the hospital last Saturday, Brown kicked off his annual toy giveaway, a tradition of giving Christmas gifts to needy children of Augusta, which had been attracting hundreds of kids for the past 15 years. According to his agent, the singer was scheduled to appear at Times Square this New Year’s Eve, do two shows at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill, and embark on a tour of Canada in January.

As of Monday, Dec. 26, Brown’s wife Tomi Rae Brown was unable to access the couple’s Beech Island, S.C., home after returning there following her husband’s death. According to reports, the singer’s attorney, Buddy Dallas, and accountant, David Cannon, ordered the mansion padlocked and Mrs. Brown, 36, be denied entry.

Brown’s widow told reporters that although she does not legally own the home, she has a right to live there with her and Brown’s 5-year-old son, James Brown Jr.

“This is my home. I don’t have any money. I don’t have anywhere to go,” Mrs. Brown told media after banging on the iron gate of the mansion.

The former backup singer married James Brown in 2001. In 2004, he pleaded guilty to allegedly throwing her to the floor and threatening to kill her. He was fined $1,087.

At press time, it was unknown where Mrs. Brown and her son were staying, and Dallas and Cannon were not releasing information.

From the Dec. 27 2006-Jan. 2, 2007, issue

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