This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #465: I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown.
Ladies and Gentlemen! I am proud and honoured to introduce to you today, a man who was part of the very first group of musicians ever inducted to The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame! A man who has won so many awards and received so many honours over the course of his life that he needs a museum to display them all! A musical innovator! A showman extraordinaire! The hardest working man in show business! The King of Funk and the Godfather of Soul, Himself! Put your hands together for the incomparable, Mr. James Brown!!!!!
Simply put, James Brown was one of the most legendary performers of all time. He was named the #1 R. & B. artist of all time! He has won individual Grammy awards, as well as, a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, too. He has had statues erected in his honour and bridges and streets named in his memory. His shows contained all of the glitz and the glamour of any Vegas-style revue. He performed for hours, to the point of exhaustion many nights. He was known for his throaty, passionate singing style and his electric dance moves. His band and his back up singers were always dancing to choreographed routines, too. Showmanship, flawless execution on stage and boundless energy were always characteristics of a James Brown show.
Off stage, his legacy is more complicated. He was known for his philanthropy, as well as, his sense of civic responsibility. One classic story that is told about James Brown is how he gave a free, multi-hour concert in Boston the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated in order to help channel all of the outrage and shock of the Black Community in a way that was more positive and less violent. But, as powerful a creative force as he was, James Brown, also had a temper. He was a strict taskmaster when it came to his band and singers…fining them for poorly executed dance moves on stage or for failing to have their shoes shined properly. He was arrested numerous times for domestic abuse, too.
So, as you listen to today’s song, do so with an appreciation for the talent of this man. He helped bring Soul and R&B music into the mainstream of popular culture and, as well, he was the driving force behind the introduction of Funk as a musical style. But, as well, listen to this song with the knowledge that he was a flawed man, on a personal level, too. His abuse victims deserve that much from all of us.
“I Got You (I Feel Good)” was a number #1 hit when it was released and remains a signature song of his to this day. Even my beautiful wife, Keri has been known to bop around our home singing throatily, “I feeeeeeel good…na-na, na-na, na-na, na…I knew that I would now…na-na, na-na, na-na, na”. Sing along if ya wanna. I hope that it makes you feel good, too.
The music video for I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown can be found here.
The link to the James Brown website can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for helping to inspire the writing of this post. The link to their website can be found here.