"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.