James Brown in Pittsburgh and James Brown on Film

get-on-up-posterDid you see last year’s James Brown biopic “Get On Up”? Many feel that its star Chadwick Boseman should have been nominated for a Best Leading Actor Academy Award for his stellar portrayal of Soul Brother #1. Interestingly, Mr. Boseman was was not known as a dancer, and had to painstakingly learn all of James’ signature moves.

We brought James Brown to Pittsburgh more than a dozen times during his career. Touring constantly, he was known as the hardest working man in show business. He played the Civic Arena, the Syria Mosque and the Stanley Theater. Below is a picture of him being interviewed backstage at the Civic Arena by KQV radio’s Chuck Brinkman, in 1966.

james-brown-kqv-1966When I first booked him, he was not yet a big star. I remember being in his agent ’s office. He said they had a Friday night open in early April, which I thought was a great idea, until I looked at the calendar.

I told the agent, “I can’t do the show that day. It’s Good Friday.” The agent said, “Yeah, every Friday is good.”

I ended up booking the show. It sold out. If my grandmother had known, she’d have never forgiven me!

Here’s one of the most famous clips of James – performing “Please Please Please” to a live audience at the 1964 TAMI show.

And here’s the trailer from the film “Get On Up,” featuring Mr. Boseman. Was his performance worthy of an Oscar nod? Mick Jagger, a huge James Brown fan, was one of the film’s producers. 

You can read more backstage stories like this in my book “Hard Days Hard Nights,” available here at this Amazon link.


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