Album release: Best of Live at The Apollo - 50th Anniversary by James Brown
Release date: 24 June 2013
Label: Universal 

This unique, 12-track album celebrates 50 years since the release of James Brown’s classic 1963 live album, Live At The Apollo, and showcases his many great performances recorded at the iconic Los Angeles venue. Brown, who would have reached his 80th birthday on 3 May 2013, first arrived at the Apollo in April 1959 as an opening act for Little Willie John, one of his idols. He wasn’t to remain an opener for long and “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” would play the Apollo, Los Angeles more than 600 times during his career.

This title comprises 12 tracks from James Brown’s three landmark albums recorded at the historic venue: Live At The Apollo (recorded 1962, released 1963), Live At The Apollo Vol. II (recorded 1967, released 1968) and Revolution of the Mind: Recorded Live At The Apollo Vol. III (recorded and released 1971). Additionally, this set includes two unreleased tracks taken from the album, Get Down at The Apollo with The J.B.’s: Live At The Apollo Vol. IV – recorded in September 1972 but ultimately never released.

Personally funded by James Brown, the original, critically acclaimed Live At The Apollo, featuring the Famous Flames and the James Brown Orchestra, was first released in 1963 and became a cultural phenomenon, reaching No. 2 on The Billboard 200 album chart. In 2003 it was listed at No. 24 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time and in 2004, Live At The Apollo was added to the Library Of Congress’ National Recording Registry. Three tracks from this landmark recording, I’ll Go Crazy, Try Me and Night Train, plus the famous show introduction, are featured here.

Recorded in June 1967, Live At The Apollo Vol. II was released in 1968 and ushered in Brown’s new funky style with a larger, more sophisticated incarnation of the James Brown Orchestra, featuring Maceo Parker and led by Alfred “Pee Wee” Ellis. This was Brown’s first live, double-LP set and charted at No. 2 on the R&B Album chart and Top 40 on The Billboard 200. Three tracks from this recording that feature on the new celebratory release are, the live hit single There Was A Time, Cold Sweat and Please, Please, Please, documenting the constant evolution of Soul Brother No. 1.

Revolution Of The Mind: Recorded Live At The Apollo Vol. III
, a double-LP from 1971, is Brown’s third official live album recorded at the venue and features the backing band Fred Wesley & The J.B.’s. Revolution Of The Mind went to No. 7 on the R&B Albums chart and No. 39 on The Billboard 200. Three tracks from the album, the super-hot Sex Machine, Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved and Soul Power are featured on this best of.

Get Down At The Apollo with The J.B.’s was recorded for a potential double-album and was to feature the J.B.’s as well as James Brown Revue singer Lyn Collins. It was mixed for LP but its release was cancelled. Best Of Live At The Apollo includes two songs from the album, the instrumental Hot Pants Road and There It Is, in new mixes exclusive to this collection.

Track listing 

  • Introduction to James Brown
  • I’ll Go Crazy 
  • Try Me 
  • Night Train 
  • There Was A Time 
  • Cold Sweat 
  • Please, Please, Please 
  • Sex Machine 
  • Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved 
  • Soul Power 
  • Hot Pants Road *
  • There It Is *

Produced by James Brown 

* Previously Unreleased

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