Best described as “the Godfather of Soul”, James Brown, of blessed memory, was an accomplished record producer, singer, dancer, musician, bandleader, and songwriter. An iconic personality of the 20th century, Brown’s musical career spanned 50 solid years and was appreciated for contributing to the development of several genres in the industry.
The musician began his career in Toccoa, Georgia, as a gospel singer. He made his debut with Bobby Byrd’s R&B vocal band called the Gospel Starlighters as its lead vocalist. Brown rose to stardom in the late 1950s with the songs Try Me and Please Please Please. His prominence skyrocketed in the 1960s with the hit singles It’s a 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 honours from many organizations. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and 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. The musician was raised in Elko, South Carolina, and later moved to Augusta, Georgia. Owing to his rough background, he only managed to stay in school until sixth grade.
Brown, who claimed in his autobiography that he has Native American and Chinese roots, made his debut appearance as a singer in 1944 at Lenox Theatre in Augusta. Prior to his musical career, he was a boxer in his teen years. He eventually decided to become an entertainer after listening to Louis Jordan’s song Caldonia.
His Spouse (Wife) and Children
The songster’s love life was marred by stormy relationships with women, which led him to tie the knot four times. The musician’s first attempt at marriage was in 1953 when he got married to Velma Warren. The pair met in early 1953, dated for 5 months and eventually tied the knot on June 19, 1953. Their marital relationship lasted for 15 years.
The musician’s second marriage was to Deidre Jenkins. They tied the knot in 1970 and went their separate ways in 1981. His third wife is Adrienne Rodriguez. The two got married in 1984 and divorced in 1996. Adrienne was born on March 9, 1950, and died January 6, 1996.
Following his third divorce in 1996, James Brown got connected to Tomi Rae Brown, a popular American singer. The two became friends and later got married on December 23, 2002. Unlike the musician’s previous marriages, his union with Tomi was overshadowed with much controversy, to the point that the singer omitted her from his will. However, she was permitted by the court in February 2007 to access Brown’s belonging after she challenged his will for excluding her and her son as beneficiaries of his estate. In addition, Judge Doyet Early III officially ruled on January 27, 2007, that Hynie was Brown’s widow since her marriage to her former husband (Javed Ahmed) was invalid. Born on May 21, 1969, Hynie was previously married to Ahmed, a Pakistani young man who she claimed got married to her for “green card”.
Talking about his children, the Soul icon gave birth to so many children but acknowledged nine of them only – 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 eldest son, Teddy Brown, was born in 1954. He died in a car accident on June 14, 1973. His other sons are Terry Brown, Larry Brown, James Joseph Brown II (Tomi’s son, born in 2001) while his LaRhonda Pettit (daughter) came from his extramarital relationship with women.
James Brown enlisted six of his children in his will. They are Terry Brown, Deanna Brown, Venisha Brown, Daryl Brown, Larry Brown, Yamma Brown Lumar while Tomi’s son was omitted from benefitting his father’s fortune because he was born 10 years after the will was signed. 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 to Rebecca Bryant (mother) and Monnie Bryant (father). Brown’s mother had her basic education in Bamberg County and Colleton County public schools. She died at the age of 87 on February 26, 2003, at Augusta Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Augusta, Georgia and was buried on March 2, 2004, at Georgia, precisely at Walker Memorial Park Cemetery, Augusta.
Susie lost her husband (born 1911) in 1993. Gardner was 22 years when Susie, then 16, became pregnant with James Brown.
His Death – What Caused It?
James Brown passed away in Atlanta, Georgia from congestive heart failure caused by pneumonia complications. Prior to his death, the Soul icon had visited his dentist in Atlanta for a dental implant but was referred to see his doctor right way for a medical treatment. Brown was subsequently admitted at the Emory Crawford Long Memorial Hospital for treatment. He later died at 1:45 am on December 25, 2006.
According to the singer’s personal manager, Charles Bobbit, the musician struggled with a noisy cough which worsened after he returned from a musical trip in November. Brown’s public memorial service took place on December 28, 2006, at the Apollo Theater, New York City and later at the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia, on December 30, 2006.
His family also organized a private ceremony on December 29, 2006, in North Augusta, South Carolina, and was attended by notable artists like 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, among others. All of James Brown’s private and public memorial services were officiated by Rev. Al Sharpton.
Height – How Tall Was He?
James Brown was not just loved for his classic songs but also admired for his well-formed body shape, which he often flaunts on stage during his musical performances. His height is measured at 5 feet 5 inches.