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James Brown dies aged 73 -

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James Brown dies aged 73

Reporter: Tracy Hutchison

SCOTT BEVAN: On Christmas morning in America James Brown, the man best known as the Godfather of
Soul, died in Atlanta, Georgia from pneumonia. The 73-year-old's influence on modern music has been
profound, with tributes flowing in today from President Bush and a myriad of rock stars, to
millions who admired his music. Self proclaimed as the hardest-working man in show business, James
Brown's success belied a turbulent offstage life. Tracy Hutchison reports.

JAMES BROWN, ENTERTAINER: I go straight to stage and it's business, business, business. We sweat,
we bow, we sweat and that's where we perform.

STEPHEN CUMMINGS, SINGER/SONGWRITER: He's just probably the best live performer I've ever seen.
People like Mick Jagger wouldn't have an act without James Brown.

GLENN A BAKER, MUSIC HISTORIAN: He was the most dynamic, most exciting, most driven, most
passionate black performer that had ever been seen.

TRACY HUTCHISON: For over four decades, James Brown was a man without peer in contemporary music.
Soul brother number one, the founder of rap, funk and disco, few could rival his energy, his
influence, or now, with news of his death at age 73, his musical legacy.

STEPHEN CUMMINGS: It all really comes from James Brown. One of his tracks, 'The Funky Drummer', is
one of the most sampled songs in hip hop and rock, so even that is an incredible legacy. The impact
he's had on me is more probably as a music fan because it just opened me up to a whole lot of other
music because so many great musicians went through his group like Bootsie Collins and Fred Wesley
and all groups like Funkadelic and stuff really all sprang from members of James Brown's
collective.

TRACY HUTCHISON: The ultimate showman, James Brown was as famous for what he did as the way he went
about it, his well honed stage antics more reminiscent of small town Vaudeville than the huge
crowds he played to. And he toured relentlessly. The self described hardest-working man in show
business was as hard on himself as he was on his bands. From the famous Flames to the JBs, he
racked up over 50 top 10 US hits from over 50 albums, his 1962 Live at the Apollo concert still
considered one of the greatest live recordings of all time. It contained his 1966 hit single 'It's
a Man's, Man's World', the song that kick-started the Australian recording career of Rene Geyer in
the '70s.

RENEE GEYER: When he came out a few years ago to do the Byron Bay Festival we were on it as well
and I was so scared to do it but he didn't even put it in his show.

INTERVIEWER: It was a big song for you, though, wasn't it?

RENEE GEYER: Yeah, we've been doing it for years. It was one of those eternal things that never
seems to go out of fashion.

TRACY HUTCHISON: But it was perhaps his role as a civil rights campaigner that defined James
Brown's career most potently.

JAMES BROWN (ARCHIVE): When you hate, you blind yourself. When you hate you can't communicate. Do
unto others as you would have them do unto you. Would you have somebody burn you up and lynch you
and tell you where to go and how to look?

GLENN A BAKER: History will remember him as being a pivotal figure in the emergence of a strong and
strident black consciousness. He was so powerful a figure among young black communities in America
in the '60s that, when Martin Luther King was assassinated, it was James Brown that they put on
television to urge calm and it worked. He proved to be a formidable champion of black rights. He
funded and helped set up black learning centres and sort of black schools and scholarships. He
identified himself fairly closely with that emerging black identity in America.

FAN: James Brown, rest in peace.

TRACY HUTCHISON: Reaction in the United States, where James Brown was due to play a New Year's Eve
show at the end of this week, reflecting the depth of that impact.

BYSTANDER: He was the first person that made African Americans be proud of their heritage. He
started with I'm black and I'm proud and from that day on, the black community felt a lot better
with their ethnicity. So he will be missed.

BYSTANDER: The impact he had on this community is just phenomenal and here he made so much of a
difference, here in New York. I'm from North Carolina, but even there he made such an impact. He's
just a legend that's truly going to be missed.

REV AL SHARPTON: James Brown was not just a guy who made a lot of hits. He changed culture for us,
he made the common man matter. We've lost more than an artist, we've lost a way of life.

TRACY HUTCHISON: But for all the highs, trouble and controversy were a constant companion to
Brown's stellar career. Well publicised battles with drugs and alcohol and a series of assault
charges took some of the sheen from the Godfather's crown. But on stage, where fans will cherish
their memories most dearly, he remained Mr Dynamite, Mr Please, Please, Please, the minister of the
new super heavy funk.

STEPHEN CUMMINGS: He was probably the Picasso of music. He was, you know, he lived life large.

JAMES BROWN: I love you very, very much and I want to tell you, ow, I feel good, now get up.

GLENN A BAKER: I think historians are going to be trying to fully come to grips with what he did
for a lot of years to come.

JAMES BROWN: People have problems and the ones that can solve it is you and I. We can all let the
governments know how we feel but we have to solve it by loving each other. Thank you very much,
thank you. God bless us all.

SCOTT BEVAN: Tracy Hutchison with that report.