James Brown (3 May 1933 - 25 December 2006) was an influential and popular American soul singer and bandleader.
He is most famous for his highly energetic live performances and catchy songs like "I Feel Good (I Got You)", "Cold Sweat", "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", "It's A Man's, Man's, Man's, Man's World", "Say It Loud: I'm Black And I'm Proud", "Sex Machine", "Funky Drummer", "Get Up Offa That Thing", "Get On The Good Foot" and "Livin' In America". He was a huge inspiration for several funk, dance, rap and hiphop groups and artists and holds the record of being the most sampled musical artist in the world.
Link with Zappa
Zappa named Jimmy Nolen (who would later play guitar in James Brown's band) one of his influences.
During many of his early 1970s concerts Zappa often used the phrase "Ain't It Funky Now?", as can be heard on Piquantique and Room Service. "Ain't It Funky Now" was a phrase Brown often used in his songs. Zappa and Brown were similar bandleaders in the sense that they both used hand signals to conduct their bands and ordered their musicians to play their songs exactly. Brown even fined his band members if they played a wrong note.
Zappa about James Brown
"If there was really some superbly artistic reason for taking massive chunks of James Brown albums, or whatever it is that you're stealing to create this unique new collage that required a wholesale chunk of James Brown texture in order for you to do your art, then I think James Brown ought to get paid, and James Brown's record company, which actually owns the copyright on the master or the chunk of the master that's used, they ought to get paid. And if you can't do your art without stealing chunks of James Brown, and you don't want to pay James Brown, then find some other art to do."
- Frank Zappa in The Mother of All Interviews (Part 1).