There have already been a lot of posts about James Brown’s death, but this is just too much of a milestone. He was always one of those larger-than-life personalities that you just can’t imagine not being on the music charts or in the headlines.
I haven’t listened to much of his music during the past few decades, but he had some dynamite songs in the mid-’60s. If I had to pick any favorite songs of his, they’d be “Ain’t That A Groove” and “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World.” He had much bigger hits than that, but those two songs really struck a chord.
No matter what kind of music you listen to (unless it’s country, bluegrass or polka), it was influenced by James Brown. Sly Stone is often credited with pioneering the funk/soul/rock sounds of the late ’60s/early ‘70s, but he was influenced by James Brown. He also paved the way for a lot of jazz-fusion albums from the ‘70s (Miles Davis, Weather Report).
Even if you’ve never listened to anything by James Brown, you’ve heard his music sampled by everyone from Public Enemy to Nine Inch Nails.