The Hardest Working Man: How James Brown Saved the Soul of America

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Penguin, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 244 pages
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The story of the night James Brown kept the peace in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and delivered hope with an immortal performance

Since James Brown’s death in December 2006, the Godfather of Soul has received stirring tributes from coast to coast. Yet few have addressed his contribution in the darkest hour of the civil rights movement. Telling the untold story of his historic Boston Garden concert of 1968, The Hardest Working Manalso captures the magnificent achievements that made Brown a revolutionary icon of American popular culture.

Acclaimed journalist James Sullivan begins his stirring account by depicting the racially charged climate of Boston in the hours after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death. Brown’s concert was slated for cancellation as police geared up for mass retaliation. After Brown butted heads with the mayor, the show was allowed to go on—and his emotional, electric performance was broadcast live on local television. Though rioting erupted in more than a hundred U.S. cities that night, Boston remained quiet. Not only bringing to life that transforming show, James Sullivan also charts Brown’s incredible rise from poverty to self-made millionaire and the pivotal voice behind the signature anthem “Say It Loud—I’m Black and I’m Proud,” making The Hardest Working Mana tribute to an unforgettable concert and a rousing biography of a revolutionary musician.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gmicksmith - LibraryThing

Breezy read on James Brown and not simply about the famous Boston concert where Brown cooled the crowd but placing JB into the late '60s black power movement, civil rights, and the Godfather's unique brand of Americanism self-help, paired with the soul and funk legend. Read full review

The Hardest Working Man: How James Brown Saved the Soul of America

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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 ... Read full review


Foreword by Chuck D
Bring It Up
Cold Sweat
Soul Pride Pt 1
Things Got to Get Better
Get It Together
Its Too Funky in Here
Unity Pt 1

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About the author (2008)

James Sullivan is a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. He previously served as the pop music and culture critic at the San Francisco Chronicle and has written for Rolling Stone and many other publications.

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