Stories and insight in the world of showbiz and beyond.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Godfather of Soul is Dead. Long Live The Godfather of Soul

It’s hard to believe that James Brown is gone. It is even harder to believe that he was 73 years old. It seems like only yesterday (do I hear Paul McCartney singing in the background?) that he jumped on to my TV stage and with just one whirl of his magic cape, turned the world on its dancin’ feet. I’m indebted to that guy. He gave my book “Stuff Happens,” the ultimate James Brown compliment, “This book has a lot of soul.”

I first met James Brown at one of his sold-out concerts in the early 60s. As far as I could see, I was the only white person in the audience. But, no one was looking at me. All eyes were up there on the stage watching future magic in the making. He certainly added magic to The Lloyd Thaxton Show.

Years later, while walking down the halls of NBC, I passed the Johnny Carson stage door. A band was rehearsing for that night’s show. The sound was unmistakable. It was the sound that only James Brown could convey. I walked on stage and, sure enough, there he was rehearsing in front of the band. When he saw me, he stopped mid-note, ran over and gave me a big hug. I felt good.

Then, one day I came home and found this message on my answering machine, “Lloyd Thaxton. This is James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. God bless you. Good-bye.”

That other Godfather has a real treat in store.


Blogger Gaylel said...

Uncle Lloyd,

It is still hard to believe that the "Godfather" is gone too. I think of his humble beginnings, not having a formal education, but he did have a long career, even in his 70's.

Every kid, including myself was imitating Brown and yes, I did watch your televison show because this man, believe it or not was an "event".

Children loved him, old folks loved him, and teenagers loved him.

JB influenced what you hear on the radio today and I'm glad this generation paid a debt to him (Yes, the young'ens sampled his music.)

I remembered your blog entry when you took your show to the South and many of the programmers at first did not want to carry Brown's apperance. But you stood up for the brother and your principles about the "racism" issue.

Yes, James Brown will missed only in the black community, but by everyone in the entertainment industry who came across him, including you, Uncle Lloyd.

You know about this lieu of flowers thing? Well, I hope everyone, in lieu of those flowers, let's dance in his honor.

I will and I hope everyone else will too.

Merry Christmas, Lloyd..

--Gayle :D

12:20 PM

Blogger Gary said...

I was SHOCKED to hear the news of James passing this morning. I never tire of watching old video clips of him doing his cape "schtick" (as I lovingly call it). One of my favorite clips is one where James is teaching Sammy Davis Jr. some of his dance moves. CLASSIC!
Several years ago I was lucky enough to see James in concert and the term "hardest working man in show business" truly fit this great entertainer. I could almost feel the sweat hitting me as I was sitting in the first row!
My favorite James tune is IT'S A MAN'S MAN'S MAN'S WORLD and this world will be missing this man for a long, long, long time. He was definitely one of a kind and NOBODY will be able to do what he's done. Gaylel says we should dance in his honor.....well, I'm doing the James Brown boogaloo, and believe me, THAT is a sight to see! HA HA HA
Thank you for EVERYTHING, James. You will truly be missed but never forgotten.
R.I.P. Mr. B


Uncle Lloyd, if ANY footage of James survived from your show, you MUST include it on your home video. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!

4:29 PM

Blogger Chuck Hinson said...

James Brown (whom I had the pleasure of meeting once in '67) will forever be remembered as the man who brought the races together under one magical tenet: MUSIC.
Y'know, after watching It's A Wonderful Life, I can't help wondering: What would this thing we call "music" ... the whole world in GENERAL ... be like if Mr. Brown hadn't been born?"
Would we have the racial equality in music? Maybe eventually ... but we woulda been set back years. Would soul music have evolved from the 'doo-wop' to the funkiness of the Sixties? Would 'disco' have evolved? What about integration ... the pride of African-Americans of their race ... little children in Atlanta who would've had no Christmas without Mr. Brown?
He meant more to music -- from hip-hop to heavy metal, rap to rock -- than any other act ... yes, even to the Fab Four, who were heavily influenced by his passion.
As I was leaving a guest stint at the Elks today, I was thinking of Arthur Conley's Sweet Soul Music, and how the acts he mentioned are all gone from us now. But, if ya notice, the last verse before the ending chorus had the only break, with Conley singing, SPOT-light on James Brown, y'all ... He's the KING of 'em all ..."
A fitting tribute to the man while alive ...
A fitting epitaph ... HE WAS THE KING OF THEM ALL, Y'ALL ..
R. I. P. Godfather ...

12:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Lloyd!

Thank you very much for writing this blog.
I was born in '56 and grew up in the Valley = YOU are such an UNFORGETTABLE
Part of my life. I've wondered many times over the years what happened to that
really talented guy and now I know you are still the same (unbelivable).
As much as I remember your Music/Entertainment shows (SO CREATIVE) I have to tell
you how much I Loved the game show you did in 1967 "Everybody's Talking"!!!
I Mean I loved that show and remember everything about it like it was on yesterday. In fact I would get to
come home from school for lunch (your show was on at (12:30)and I would watch it
to the end every day and always be late getting back to school but I'd rather not miss
you show, ha, ha! that is a dedicated FAN

Thanks so much for the great memories, Ar

1:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, Lloyd...tomorrow, Dec 27, is Oscar Levant's 100th birthday. Any thoughts on what it was like working with him?

Long Beach CA

9:32 AM

Blogger Gaylel said...

I don't know if you all seen the movie, "Dreamgirls", which features the incompable Jennifer Hudson, a AI reject who is becoming one of Hollywood's biggest stars with her musical talent.

But there is a charater in the movie by the name of James "Thunder Early, who is played remarkably by Eddie Murphy. His charater reminds me of Brown because of his flash and he dealt with his personal demons, like Brown in the movie (Murphy's charater died of drug use unlike Brown).

XM radio on one of its channels are having a tribute to Brown and all his records bring back memories (I'm hearing one right now, "Make It Funky, doing the penguin, lol)from my childhood to my teenage years.

This is how this man made an impact in American society.

I am willing to betcha that all the tributes will be all week and maybe weeks to come because this man was bigger than life...

12:22 PM

Blogger jtbwriter said...

Dear Lloyd:

I'll never hear "I feel good" the same way again...

I thought the old year was going out well...but too many pieces of our childhoods are going upstairs.

Thanks for the memories...

God Bless,


12:06 AM

Blogger Mike Barer said...

My sympathies on the loss of Mr. Brown. Truly an original.

8:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Lloyd Thaxton!! You're still alive - that is so cool. I grew up with you and Sam Riddle and that babe in the mini skirt who danced on one of your shows. I wish I could remember her name.

It's so good to discover that you can complete a sentence. I'm enjoying your blogs.

Would love to hear Beatles stuff - you were around during the heyday.


4:17 PM

Blogger writer said...

I watched you in the afternoons in Dallas! The coolest. If you have any Oscar Levant stories, now THAT would rock. He was a combination of John Waters, Nathan Lane and Judy Garland -- all wrapped up in one twitchy, neurotic genius. Do tell!

8:21 AM


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