As Boston Globe columnist Sullivan points out in this book, Brown's personal life (sexual exploits, spousal abuse, jail time) obscured a public persona that encouraged African-American children not to drop out of school and demanded that his African-American brothers and sisters respect themselves rather than putting themselves down. At the center of the book is Brown's concert at the Boston Garden on the night following Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968. Because of rising tensions among African-Americans in the city, Mayor Kevin White's first impulse was to cancel Brown's concert. Yet realizing that ticket holders might be just as angry over a canceled concert as they might be impassioned to riot by a raucous one, he and Brown worked out a deal to allow the concert to go on. Once on stage, Brown opened with his by-then famous "Please, Please, Please," which became that night a rallying cry for his audience to respect themselves and others, just as King had done. Sullivan only briefly traces Brown's rise and fall as a musician from his early days in Edgefield, S.C., to his death in Augusta, Ga., as he recovers a facet of James Brown as a political and racial leader. (Nov.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Hardest Working Man: How James Brown Saved the Soul of Americaby James Sullivan
Since James Brown's death in December 2006, the Godfather of Soul has received many stirring tributes. Yet few have addressed his contribution in the darkest hour of the Civil Rights movement. Telling for the first/b>
The untold story of the night a divide nation turned to James Brown—and he delivered hope and calm in the form of an immortal concert
Since James Brown's death in December 2006, the Godfather of Soul has received many stirring tributes. Yet few have addressed his contribution in the darkest hour of the Civil Rights movement. Telling for the first time the story of his historic Boston Garden concert the day after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination, The Hardest Working Man captures the magnificent achievements that made Brown an icon of American popular culture.
Sullivan details the charged atmosphere in Boston, Brown's fight against city officials to take the stage, and the electric performance he delivered. Through the prism of this one concert, Sullivan also charts Brown's incredible rise from poverty to self-made millionaire, his enormous influence on popular music, and his complex relationship with the Civil Rights movement, making The Hardest Working Man both a tribute to an unforgettable concert and a rousing biography of a revolutionary musician.
The godfather of soul, Brown died in 2006. This snapshot of his personal and public lives focuses on his concert in Boston following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Sullivan, a contributor to the Boston Globe, also addresses Brown's later years, which included arrests, affairs, domestic violence, and tax evasion.
- Penguin Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.35(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.71(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
Meet the Author
JAMES SULLIVAN was a pop culture critic at the San Francisco Chronicle for seven years, and has also written for The Boston Globe, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Book.
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Billed as the story behind James Brown’s concert in Boston held in the shadow of MLK’s assassination, but “The Hardest Working Man” is more of an overview of Brown’s career and work in the community. While the author does tell the story of the Boston show and does a good job of tying much of the information he presents to the show, it’s clear that the show just didn’t offer enough to write about to fill the entire book. If you’re a big JB fan (or want to learn more about him) this book will be right up your alley.