James Brown Drummer John 'Jabo' Starks: 5 Classic Tracks

"Super Bad," "Sex Machine" and other funky landmarks from half of the Godfather of Soul's legendary groove tandem

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"The Payback" (1973)

Many of James Brown's most famous singles zip forward at a brisk pace; in contrast, "The Payback" rides a cooled-out rhythm. During the verses especially, the drumming is laconic, a breezy time-keeper at odds with Brown's aggressive interjections – "Payback!" "Revenge!" – and the relentless attack of the guitar. Starks only breaks out of his loop when Brown commands him to: "I need those hits – hit me!" Listeners were smitten with the song's strut: Only two Brown singles earned gold certification, and "The Payback" was one of them.

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