Prince famously once announced that, “you can always tell when the groove is working or not.” For musicians, a groove is the lifeline, the blood pressure level that reads average, weak, or skyrocketing to an attack. James Brown was having a heart attack for most, if not all, of his groove-induced coma of a career.


It would be easy to call Brown the “Father of Soul,” but that impressive title doesn’t even do justice to the grooves the man created. With a film directed and produced to celebrate his legacy along with Mick Jagger’s blessing, it’s a bit safer to call him the true original rocker. Rock ‘n roll owes much to Brown’s strides, and Jagger understands this.


“Get On Up,” the biopic film covering Brown’s life’s work opens on August 1 with Tate Taylor of “The Help” overseeing direction, and Mick Jagger touting his executive producer cap.



Tatiana Siegel of Billboard sat down with Jagger to discuss the film and found out that it “proved to be a formidable journey, taking eight years to reach the big screen.” Jagger would know how much Brown turned out to be the ultimate influencer, considering he was ultimately upstaged by the artist on the stage during the 1964 concert-filmed “T.A.M.I. Show.” Uninterested in being the opening act to the Stones, Brown hammed it up in order to align his career in a new business light.  Jagger explains this entrepreneurial spotlight with the following:

“I mean, you look at Jay Z, for instance, and Puff Daddy. They’re very much into that business thing.  They want to make deals for the deal’s sake. James Brown was definitely a progenitor of that kind of businessman/performer. Before James there was a dearth of people from the African-American community who were entrepreneurs. You weren’t expected to be an entrepreneur. If you were an entertainer, you were just paid and were told what to do and where to go. And you just did it. He was one of the first people that said, “No. I want to take control.”


That control not only made his career come alive, it solidified his international presence as the groove performer. It all comes back down to the groove. While R&B and Motown performers of Brown’s time stuck to conventional songs neatly tied up in bluesy hued ribbons, Brown went out on a limb on tracks like “I Got You,” and “Out of Sight.”



Breaking tradition with zany grooves meant a call on big bass and small drums, and this creation made him a musical entrepreneur.



If not for James Brown, how far would the musical world have come today? Not far in terms of musical blending. He’s one of the originals, the one that artists look to for strength and creativity when things don’t go the right way. They find a new groove and choose to begin anew. That is something for which we can eternally thank Brown.


Which famous James Brown groove do you like best? Will you be seeing the biopic out this weekend? Let me know what you think! Share your thoughts in the comments or tweet me @Kelseymbro