James Brown's Last Gig. Plus: Plans for the Biopic

December 28, 2006 11:01 AM ET

Thousands of people have begun to flock to the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York, to pay their final respects to James Brown.

While just about everyone in the world, from presidents to celebrities, has eulogies for the singer of "Sex Machine," both Usher and Fergie are very publicly vying for roles in the upcoming Spike Lee-directed biopic of James Brown, that was announced the day after he passed away.

The biggest endorsement Usher could have ever gotten came when he performed with the "Godfather of Soul" at the 2005 Grammy Awards, where Brown anointed the "Confessions" singer the "Godson of Soul."

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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