I refer, of course (of course!
), to James Brown
. The Godmother of Souls, Mister Heavy Heavy Monster Sound... One Step Beyond!
posed this question (or something just like it) in the Chatterbox
, the night of January 4, 2000
I had said, in When's Your Birthday?, that JB was 35 when he celebrated his birthday on the week of my birth. disco took that to mean my year of birth was 1968, since The All-Music Guide lists James' birthdate as "May 6, 1933". (On top of that, the writeup there is about NWA, not JB).
I mentioned that since my year of birth was 1963, I was implying that James was born in 1928, and that he was also lying about his age, then as now. JB got into some trouble with the law in the 1940s, and I don't think he was a juvenile delinquent at the time; he was a bit of a late-bloomer, I think, in the R&B demimonde, so maybe he felt the need to lie about his age. I dunno.
I'll rummage through some other sources in the weeks to come, but since a lot of my stuff is packed, it may be many weeks before I can dig up some corroborating 1928 evidence. I love you all, but I'll be damned if I'm going through 25 unmarked boxes of junk just to prove JB's lying (or to write a Clive Davis node); it can wait.
What I have so far: "May 3, 1933", from Logan and Woffinden's early version of The NME/Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock; "May 3, 1928", from DJ Norm N. Nite (from the original first volume of Rock On) - but Norm, gawd luv 'im, can be a bit wrong with the facts. I have more, but it will have to wait. All agree that he was born in Macon, Georgia, and somewhere in that part of the country there exists a Brown Family bible (or two) with the skinny. It may well be, along the lines of the jazz urban legend about Louis Armstrong being born on the 4th of July in 1900 (he was actually a few years old by then), that adequate records just don't exist.
As for me, I'm still waiting for someone to write Chitlin Circuit Babylon - JB's age would be the least of his worries :)