500 Greatest Songs of All Time

Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

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James Brown, 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World'

124. James Brown, 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World'

Writers: Brown, Betty Jean Newsome
Producer: Brown
Released: April '66, King
9 weeks; No. 8

James Brown had been tinkering with the building blocks to this song for years — his singer Tammy Montgomery (who would become Tammi Terrell) had recorded the sound-alike "I Cried" in 1963. But Brown's recording of "Man's World" — a play on the 1963 cross-country chase comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World — was a stunningly dramatic record. Amid swooping strings, Brown's abject singing makes the biblically chauvinistic lyrics ("Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark") sound genuinely humane.

Appears on: 50th Anniversary Collection (UTV/Polydor) 


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James Brown, 1933-2006

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