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Born: February 9, 1982
Anderson, South Carolina, USA
Born: May 3, 1933
Birthplace: Barnwell, South Carolina, USA
Death: December 25, 2006, Atlanta, Georgia, USA (congestive heart failure from pneumonia complications)
Born: November 30, 1978
Harvey, Illinois, USA
Born: August 15, 1934
Birthplace: Toccoa, Georgia, USA
Death: September 12, 2007, Loganville, Georgia, USA (cancer)
Born: July 1, 1952
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Born: December 26, 1905
Death: August 12, 1968, Long Island, New York, USA (heart attack)
Born: October 25, 1971
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Born: February 14, 1943
Birthplace: Kinston, North Carolina, USA
Born: May 28, 1979
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Velma Brown (born Velma Warren)
Born: April 4, 1972
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Deidre 'DeeDee' Brown (born Deidre Jenkins)
Born: June 20, 1980
Queens, New York, USA
Born: October 21, 1942
Birthplace: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Death: March 6, 1994, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States (undisclosed causes)
Born: May 29, 1989
Long Island, New York, USA
Little Richard (born Richard Wayne Penniman)
Born: December 5, 1932
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, USA
Born: August 11, 1965
Saint Matthews, South Carolina, USA
Born: October 11, 1965
London, England, UK
Born: October 3, 1971
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Alfred 'Pee Wee' Ellis
Born: April 21, 1941
Birthplace: Bradenton, Florida, USA
No. It's the real James Brown that we hear singing in the movie, which features remixes of his live and studio recordings (put together by the film's executive producer Mick Jagger). The songs can be heard on the Get On Up Soundtrack. For the recreations of Brown's historic concerts at the Apollo, Boston Garden in 1968, and the Paris Olympia, director Tate Taylor had the actors sing and play live on top of backing tracks. -Variety
Yes. According to the autobiography James Brown: The Godfather of Soul, the Get On Up true story confirms that James Brown was stillborn or at least appeared stillborn. His Aunt Minnie breathed into his lungs to help give him oxygen until he began to take his own first breaths. Much like Aunt Honey in the movie, it is a story that James Brown often told as evidence that he was able to overcome his obstacles even as an infant.
To some degree, yes. James was born in a one-room sharecropper's shack near the Georgia border in South Carolina in 1933. His father Joe did have a gambling addiction and was away from home for long periods, eventually enlisting in the Navy (although not until James was older). Like in the movie, James went to live with his aunt, referred to as Aunt Honey (real name Hansone Washington), who ran a brothel.
His mother Susie's abandonment was likely less willful than the movie portrays. Friends say that she left because Brown's father had tried to kill her. The movie echoes this somewhat in the scene where Joe threatens her with a gun (in real life he is rumored to have tried to push her out of a window). Contrary to the movie, city records indicate that Susie lived with her son for periods of time as James grew up. -Slate.com
Yes. Like in the movie, the autobiography James Brown: The Godfather of Soul supports the scene where a young James Brown is paid a dollar to exchange punches with other black boys. They were blindfolded with one hand tied behind their backs. A boxing glove was placed on the free hand, and they swung wildly trying to hit one another. According to Brown, these events were known as battle royals and were held for the comedic entertainment of the white audience.
Yes. The Get On Up true story reveals that a 15-year-old James Brown was arrested for stealing clothes from parked cars that he had broken into. This contradicts the movie a bit, which finds him stealing a single suit. In reality, he was charged with four counts of breaking and entering and larceny from an automobile. After turning 16, he was tried as an adult and sentenced to three years in a juvenile detention institution. Having been a member of his church choir prior to his arrest, Brown organized and led the prison gospel choir. -RollingStone.com
Yes. James met Bobby Byrd as a teenager while he was serving time in the juvenile detention institution. Byrd performed at the institution with his family's gospel group. However, Brown and Byrd actually met during a baseball game between the inmates and local members of the community. The two became friends and Bobby Byrd's family eventually helped to secure Brown's release, with the promise that they would take him in and get him a job.
Yes. Little Richard, who Brown admired, put them in contact with his manager, Clint Brantley, who agreed to manage them and made plans for them to record a demo at a local radio station. They performed "Please, Please, Please," which in 1956 became their first R&B hit. After a string of unsuccessful follow-ups, they found a new manager, Ben Bart (portrayed by Dan Aykroyd, who shared the screen with the real James Brown in the 1980 John Landis comedy The Blues Brothers), and in 1958 their song "Try Me" became a national chart-topper, reaching Number One in R&B and Number 48 in pop. -RollingStone.com
Yes. Like in the Get On Up movie, the true story confirms that original group members Bobby Byrd, NaFloyd Scott, Sylvester Keels, Nash Knox and Johnny Terry left the group in 1957 due to group managers Ben Bart and Clint Brantley giving James Brown top billing, renaming the group "James Brown and The Famous Flames".
Yes. The Get On Up true story confirms that King Records, believing that there was no commercial potential in a live album, refused to finance it. So, Brown paid for it himself and the album went on to sell a million copies, landing at Number Two in 1963. The Live at the Apollo album remained on the pop chart for 14 months, an unprecedented feat for a black music album at the time. -RollingStone.com
This scene was most likely made-up for dramatic effect. In reality, James Brown's then-wife Velma Warren tracked down his mother Susie in Brooklyn in the mid-1960s and revived their relationship. -Slate.com
No. We found no evidence supporting the movie's depiction of the transport plane James Brown was on being nearly shot down when he was flying into Vietnam. That's not to say that they were never in danger.
"I was scared to death," says singer and former girlfriend Marva Whitney, who Brown brought with him to Vietnam. "...especially in the planes when they, every now and then we could kinda peep out the window and it's something to look up, down, and all you see is fire, fire, and then they tell you you have to lay down in the belly of the plane. So we laid down. We were very obedient cause we didn't want to get shot. And I think he felt comfortable if he had at least a stick, to fight in case somebody came, and he said, 'I must have a stick to protect myself.' I was very glad that he did. -Soul Survivor - The James Brown Story
Yes. Most people have heard James Brown referred to both as "The Godfather of Soul" and "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business." However, during his lifetime he was also given or gave himself the nicknames "Mr. Dynamite," "Superbad," "Minister of New New Super Heavy Funk," "Soul Brother Number 1," "The Original Disco Man" and "Little Junior," the latter when he was a child living with his Aunt Honey. Certainly, there were others.
Yes, however, there is no evidence that he actually shot a hole in the ceiling. On September 24, 1988, James Brown walked into an insurance seminar in Augusta, Georgia carrying a shotgun and told everyone to leave. He was supposedly upset that someone had used the bathroom in his office, which was located in the same office complex as the seminar. He fled in his pickup truck and led the police on an interstate car chase until they eventually had to shoot out three of his tires. He was subsequently sentenced to six years in a work-release program but was paroled in 1991 after serving only two. -History.com
The Get On Up movie features two of James Brown's three wives, including his first wife Velma Warren (1953-1969) and second wife Deidre (DeeDee) Jenkins (1970-1981). Longtime wife Adrienne Rodriguez (1984-1996), who he was still married to in 1993 when the movie's timeline ends, is not included in the film.
Not long after the death of his third wife in 1996, Brown hired Tomi Rae Hynie as a background singer and the two soon began dating. They held a wedding ceremony in 2002, which would have resulted in Brown's fourth marriage, but the nuptials were not valid under South Carolina law because Hynie was still married to Javed Ahmed, a Bangladesh man who she had helped get a Green Card.
Yes. Though not included in the Get On Up movie, Rev. Al Sharpton was James Brown's road manager at one time. -The Augusta Chronicle
Expand your knowledge of the Get On Up true story by watching interviews with the real James Brown, in addition to viewing him performing some of his most well-known hits. Lastly, check out the Get On Up movie trailer.
WATCHJames Brown - Please, Please, Please
"Please, Please, Please" was recorded by
James Brown and The Famous Flames and was
released as a single in 1956. It was the
group's first recording. As the story
goes, Little Richard wrote the words
"please, please, please" on a napkin and
James Brown was determined to make a song
out of it.
WATCHJames Brown T.A.M.I. Show
Watch James Brown's full T.A.M.I.
Show performance from 1964. The
T.A.M.I. Show (Teenage Music
International) is a 1964 concert film
recorded at the Santa Monica Civic
Auditorium. The footage of the announcer
being sprayed with a fire extinguisher
just prior to introducing "James Brown and
His Famous Flames" is featured in the
Get On Up movie. Like in the
movie, The Rolling Stones followed James
Brown, a choice that Rolling Stones band
member Keith Richards has said was the
biggest mistake of their careers.
WATCHJames Brown - I Feel Good
This performance of his hit song "I Got
You (I Feel Good)" was recorded in Italy
in 1989 at the Legends of Rock 'n' Roll
concert, which also featured Jerry Lee
Lewis, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Little
Richard and B.B. King. Brown released "I
Got You (I Feel Good)" as a single in 1965
and it became his highest charting song.
WATCHJames Brown - Papa's Got a Brand New Bag
James Brown singing "Papa's Got a Brand
New Bag" on the 1960s TV show
Shindig!. The song was released
in 1965 and was Brown's first song to hit
the Top Ten of the Billboard Hot
100. It also won Brown his first Grammy
Award, taking home the title of Best
Rhythm & Blues Recording.
WATCHJames Brown & Luciano Pavarotti - It's a Man's World
Filmed in 2002, this concert performance
of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"
features The Godfather of Soul James Brown
performing with Luciano Pavarotti. The
song was originally recorded in 1966. It
was written by Brown's onetime girlfriend
and co-writer, Betty Jean Newsome, based
on her observations regarding
relationships between men and women.
WATCHJames Brown - Living in America
Watch the 1986 James Brown "Living in
America" music video. The song was
featured along with Brown himself in the
1985 boxing movie Rock IV
starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolph
Lundgren. "Living in America" won Brown a
Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal
WATCHGet On Up Trailer
View the Get On Up movie trailer
for the James Brown biopic starring
Chadwick Boseman. The movie chronicles
James Brown's rise from poverty and
abandonment to become one of the most
well-known and iconic musicians in