James Brown's 20 Greatest Moments

December 25, 2015 marked the 9th anniversary of the death of James Brown

When James Brown passed away on December 25, 2006 at the age of 73 from congestive heart failure resulting from complications of pneumonia, elaborate public memorial services were held at The Apollo Theater in New York City and the James Brown Arena in Augusta, Georgia. They were officiated by his long time friend and associate, the Rev. Al Sharpton. Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Lenny Kravitz, Lil Wayne, LL Cool J, Ice Cube, Ice-T, Little Richard, Ludacris, and Dr. Dre were among the celebrities paying tribute to "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business."

Brown's illustrious career spanned six decades. He recorded 71 studio albums, 14 live albums, and an incredible 144 singles. "Mr. Dynamite" had 16 number one R&B hits and defined the genre of funk music. He was a dazzling performer and shrewd businessman who was one of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Born May 3, 1933 in Barnwell, South Carolina, Brown began his career as a gospel singer in Georgia. As the leader of The Famous Flames, he released his first million selling hit, "Please, Please, Please," in 1956. His many accolades include being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriter's Hall of Fame, the Kennedy Center Honors, Grammy and BET Lifetime Achievement Awards, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In addition to being a consummate performer, "The Godfather" had a strong social conscious. He encouraged children to stay in school with his "Don't Be A Dropout" campaign that was endorsed by Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Brown also performed for troops in Vietnam at the invitation of President Lyndon Johnson, and his song "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud" became a theme for the civil rights movement. He also calmed an angry crowd on April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., by performing a free televised concert  in Boston, MA.

James Brown was a major influence on Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones, and Jagger produced a theatrical film, and a television documentary about The Godfather of Soul. Get On Up opened in theaters on August 1, 2014. The HBO documentary, Mr Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, was released on DVD on November 13, 2015.

Here are "20 Reasons why James Brown Was The Godfather of Soul."

01
of 20
March 4, 1956 - "Please, Please, Please"

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James Brown. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On March 4, 1956, James Brown and The Famous Flames released "Please, Please, Please." The title was suggested by Little Richard and It became the group's biggest hit, selling over one million copies.

02
of 20
October 1958 - "Try Me"

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James Brown. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In October 1958, James Brown and The Famous Flames released "Try Me" which sold over one million copies and became their first number one R&B hit.

03
of 20
May 1963 - "Live At the Apollo" album

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James Brown performing at the Apollo Theater in New York City. Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

 In May 1963, James Brown and The Famous Flames taped their classic Live At The Apollo album at The Apollo Theater in New York City. It became their first million selling album and recorded October 24, 1962 at Brown's own expense after his record label believed a live album would not be successful. The recording featured "Please, Please, Please," "Try Me," "Think," "Night Train," and "I'll Go Crazy."

In 2004, the Library of Congress added it to the National Recording Registry.

04
of 20
October 28.1964 - "The T.A.M.I. show" TV special

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James Brown performing at "The T.A.M.I. Show" on October 28, 1964 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On October 28, 1964 James Brown and The Famous Flames stole the show at the The T.A.M.I. Show film taping at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, California. He performed "Please, Please, Please," "Out Of Sight," "Prisoner Of Love," and "Night Train," The movie also featured The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Chuck Berry. Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Beach Boys, and more stars.

The film was released December 29, 1964.

05
of 20
1965 - "I Got You (I Feel Good)"

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James Brown. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1965, James Brown released "I Got You (I Feel Good)" which became his second straight number one R&dB single following "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag." It was his highest charting song on the Billboard 100, peaking at number three. Brown performed the song in the 1965 movie Ski Party starring Frankie Avalon.

06
of 20
March 15, 1966 - Grammy for "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag"

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James Brown. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On March 15, 1966, James Brown received his first Grammy Award, Best Rhythm & Blues Recording for "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag" at the 8th annual Grammy Awards.

07
of 20
April 1966 - "It's A Man's Man's Man's World"

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James Brown and Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay). Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images

In April 1966, James Brown released "It's A Man's Man's Man's World" which hit number one on the Billboard R&B chart.

08
of 20
1967/8 - Meeting at The White House with President and Vice President

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James Brown with Vice President Hubert H. Humphery at The White House. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1967, James Brown met with Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey at The White House to discuss Brown's campaign to inspire kids to stay in school. Royalties from the song "Don't Be A Dropout" were donated to dropout prevention programs.

In 1968, Brown met with President Lyndon Johnson, and the government sponsored him to perform for the troops in Vietnam in June 1968.

09
of 20
1967-1970 - Buys three radio stations

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James Brown with his manager Ben Bart in front of Brown's Lear Jet. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In 1967 and 1968, James Brown displayed his flair for being an entrepreneur by buying three radio stations: WGYW in Knoxville, TN, WRDW in August, GA, and WEBB in Baltimore, MD. He also purchased a Lear jet which he used for touring across the country. 

10
of 20
April 5, 1968 - Free concert in Boston following MLK assassination

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James Brown. Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
On April 5, 1968, James Brown helped calm an angry crowd one day after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by performing a free concert in Boston, MA which was televised live.

11
of 20
August 1968 -"Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"

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James Brown. David Redfern/Redferns

In August 1968, James Brown released "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud" which became an anthem for the civil rights movement. It was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's list of their 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

12
of 20
July 1970 - "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a ) Sex Machine"

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James Brown. David Redfern/Redferns

In July 1970, James Brown released "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine" which was one of the first songs he recorded with his band The J.B's featuring Bootsy Collins, Fred Wesley, and Bobby Byrd. The song inspired the title of the Brown 2014 biopic Get On Up produced by Mick Jagger..

13
of 20
January 23, 1986 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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James Brown being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City on January 23, 1986. Ebet Roberts/Redferns

On January 23, 1986, James Brown was among the first inductees into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York City.

14
of 20
1986 - Grammy for "Living In America"

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James Brown. David Corio/Redferns
On.February 24, 1987, James Brown received a Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male for "Living In America" from the Rocky IV soundtrack at the 29th annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California.

15
of 20
February 2, 1992 - Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

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James Brown with his wife and family members at the 1992 Grammy Awards at Radio city Music Hall in New York City on February 2, 1992. MUSIC HALL Photo of James BROWN, James Brown with wife Adrienne Rodriguez (L) and family at the Grammy Awards held at Radio City Music Hall in New York.(. Ebet Roberts/Redferns
On February 12, 1992, James Brown was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at the 34th annual Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

16
of 20
January 10, 1997 - Hollywood Walk of Fame

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James Brown beiung honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 10, 1967. Magma Agency/WireImage
On January 10, 1997, James Brown was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

17
of 20
June 15, 2004 - Songwriter's Hall of Fame

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James Brown. Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

On June 15, 2004, James Brown was inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in a ceremony in New York City

18
of 20
June 24, 2003 - BET Lifetime Achievement Award

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Michael Jackson and James Brown at the BET Honors on June 24, 2003. M. Caulfield/WireImage for BET Entertainment

On June 24, 2003, Michael Jackson presented James Brown with a BET Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards in Los Angeles, CA.

19
of 20
December 7, 2003 - Kennedy Center Honors

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2003 Kennedy Center Honorees James Brown, Loretta Lynn, Carol Burnett, Mike Nichols and Itzhak Perlman at the State Department in Washington, D.C. Scott Suchman/WireImage
On December 7, 2003, James Brown was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C.

20
of 20
May 6, 2005 - Statue in Augusta, Georgia

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James Brown. KMazur/WireImage for The Recording Academy
On May 6, 2005, a life-sized bronze statue in honor of James Brown was dedicated in Augusta, Georgia.