James Brown at The Apollo
Episode date - April 4, 2008
To completely understand the impact of James Brown’s recording of his performance from Harlem’s Apollo Theater on October 24, 1962, you need to forget most of what you already know about James Brown.
Back then, Brown, was a minor recording star with a few marginal hits to his name. His appeal was still mostly regional, and very, very few people in ‘mainstream’ culture knew of him. More importantly, this took place before Brown kicked his innovations into overdrive.
This recording dates over a year before the British Invasion. It pre-dates “I Feel Good,” and “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” by years. It came at a time when R&B artists (oh yeah, this was before ‘soul music’, too) rarely crossed over, and before ‘live’ albums became commonplace. It is also unusual because as a live album, it couldn’t yield any hit ‘singles’, which was the only medium that Brown had success with until that point.
That’s a lot of reasons to recognize the importance of this album, but the most important reason is its quality. Brown sings and pleads (and dances, although we regrettably cannot see that) as if his life depended on it, and in a sense it did, because if this album failed, his career may have been cut short. As it is, the rest is history.
Here’s a list of songs featured in thiz program. All are live recordings from the Apollo theater, unless indicated otherwise;
Lost Someone (studio)
I’ve Got Money (studio)
Prisoner of Love (studio)
Intro/I’ll Go Crazy
I Don’t Mind
Devil’s Den (studio)