Best described as the “Godfather of Soul”, James Brown, who remains in blessed memory, was an accomplished record producer, singer, dancer, musician, bandleader, and songwriter. An iconic figure of the 20th century, Brown’s musical career spanned 50 solid years and was valued for contributing to the development of various genres in the industry.
The musician began his career as a gospel singer in Toccoa, Georgia. He made his debut with Bobby Byrd’s R&B vocal band The Gospel Starlighters as lead vocalist. Brown achieved fame in the late 1950s with the songs Try Me and Please Please Please Please. His fame soared in the 1960s with the hit singles It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s Man’s World, I Got You (I Feel Good) and Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.
Brown’s robust career has earned him several awards from many organizations. He has also been inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, making him one of the greatest musicians of all time. Learn all the facts about the soul icon here.
James Brown’s Bio, Age
The musician is the son of African-American parents Susie Behling Brown (mother) and Gardner Brown (father). He was named James Joseph Brown Jr. after his birth on May 3, 1933, in Barnwell, South Carolina. He grew up in Elko, South Carolina, and later moved to Augusta, Georgia. Due to his rough background, he only managed to stay in school until the sixth grade.
Brown, who claimed in his autobiography that he had Indian and Chinese roots, made his debut as a singer at the Lenox Theatre in Augusta in 1944. Before his musical career, he was a boxer as a teenager. After hearing the song Caldonia by Louis Jordan, he finally decided to become an entertainer.
His Spouse (Wife) and Children
The singer’s love life was clouded by stormy relationships with women, which led him to tie the knot four times. The musician made his first attempt at the marriage in 1953 when he married Velma Warren. The couple met in early 1953, met for 5 months, and finally tied the knot on June 19, 1953. Their married relationship lasted 15 years.
The musician’s second marriage was to Deidre Jenkins. The marriage was concluded in 1970 and in 1981 they went their separate ways. His third wife is Adrienne Rodriguez. The two married in 1984 and divorced in 1996. Adrienne Rodriguez was born on 9 March 1950 and died on 6 January 1996.
After his third divorce in 1996, James Brown came into contact with Tomi Rae Brown, a popular American singer. The two became friends and later married on December 23, 2002. Unlike the musician’s previous marriages, his relationship with Tomi was overshadowed by many controversies, to the point that the singer left her out of his will. However, in February 2007, the court allowed her access to Brown’s estate after she challenged his will, as she and her son had been excluded as beneficiaries of his estate. In addition, on 27 January 2007, Judge Doyet Early III formally ruled that Hynie Brown’s widow was invalid because her marriage to her former husband (Javed Ahmed) was invalid. Hynie was born on May 21, 1969, and was previously married to Ahmed, a young Pakistani man who she claimed married her for a “green card”.
As for his children, the soul icon bore so many children, but only acknowledged nine of them – four daughters and five sons, according to information available online. James had daughters Yamma Noyola Brown, Lumar, Deanna Brown Thomas, and Lisa Brown with his second wife Deidre Jenkins, while Daryl Brown (son) came from his relationship with Beatrice Ford.
The musician’s oldest son, Teddy Brown, was born in 1954. He died in a car accident on 14 June 1973. His other sons are Terry Brown, Larry Brown, James Joseph Brown II (son of Tomi, born 2001), while his LaRhonda Pettit (daughter) comes from his extramarital relationship with women.
James Brown has placed six of his children in his will. These are Terry Brown, Deanna Brown, Venisha Brown, Daryl Brown, Larry Brown, Yamma Brown Lumar, while Tomi’s son was excluded from the preferential treatment of his father’s assets because he was born 10 years after the signing of the will. The musician had had 8 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren before his death.
James Brown’s Mother
Her name is Susie Behling Brown. She was born on August 8, 1917, in Colleton County, South Carolina, the daughter of Rebecca Bryant (mother) and Monnie Bryant (father). Brown’s mother had her basic education in the public schools of Bamberg County and Colleton County. She died at the age of 87 on February 26, 2003, at the Augusta Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Augusta, Georgia, and was buried on March 2, 2004, in Georgia, more specifically at Walker Memorial Park Cemetery, Augusta.
Susie lost her husband in 1993 (born 1911). Gardner was 22 years old when Susie, then 16, became pregnant with James Brown.
His Death – What Caused It?
James Brown died in Atlanta, Georgia, of congestive heart failure caused by complications of pneumonia. Before his death, the Icon of the Soul had visited his dentist in Atlanta to get a dental implant fitted but was referred to see his doctor for medical treatment. Brown was then admitted to Emory Crawford Long Memorial Hospital for treatment. He later died at 1:45 a.m. on December 25, 2006.
According to the singer’s personal manager, Charles Bobbit, the musician struggled with a loud cough that worsened after his return from a music trip in November. Brown’s public memorial service was held on December 28, 2006, at the Apollo Theater, New York City, and later on December 30, 2006, at the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia.
His family also organized a private ceremony on December 29, 2006, in North Augusta, South Carolina, attended by such renowned artists as Jimmy Cliff, Dr. Dre Little, Michael Jackson, Joe Frazier, Dick Gregory, Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, 50 Cent, Little Richard, LL Cool J, Steve Wonder, Ice-T, Lenny Kravitz, MC Hammer, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Guy, Prince, Bootsy Collins, Don King, and others. All private and public commemoration ceremonies of James Brown were led by Pastor Al Sharpton.
Height – How Tall Was He?
James Brown was loved not only for his classical songs but also for his well-formed body, which he often displayed on stage during his musical performances. His height is measured at 5 feet and 5 inches.