James Brown Returns to Apollo

Legendary soul singer, legendary venue reunite

September 12, 2003 12:00 AM ET

Forty years after James Brown made a classic live album at Harlem's Apollo Theater, the Godfather of Soul will return to the venerable venue for a guest-filled anniversary concert.

Brown will take to the stage of New York City's Apollo on November 20th and 21st, though no further concert information is available. The seventy-year-old singer plans to hold a September 18th press conference in the city to give more details.

As for the 1963 Apollo performance by the Hardest Working Man in Show Business, it's widely considered to have yielded one of the best live records in rock & roll history, featuring hits like "Try Me" and "Please Please Please," delivered with Brown's live-wire gusto. The album was Brown's first to have charted, reaching Number Two and staying in the Top Forty for thirty-three weeks. Live at the Apollo was also something of an anomaly during its release, a full-length soul album amid an industry that was almost exclusively singles-driven. It served as a launching pad for Brown's career, which to that point had been relegated to the R&B charts, with only three singles scratching the deeper side of the Top Forty. After Apollo, he had fourteen records reach the Top Forty (pop) over the next eleven years, including 1968's Live at the Apollo, Volume II and 1972's Revolution of the Mind: Live at the Apollo, Volume III.

In addition to establishing Brown's career, the album also lent the Apollo a regal cache as venue of choice among artists for live albums. The Supremes, B.B. King, Bob Marley, Hall and Oates, and Patti Labelle have also recorded there.

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