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The One: The Life and Music of James Brown Paperback – November 6, 2012
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“The One is the first of its kind to represent James as the social and cultural force he was, not just for black Americans but for all of America—in fact, all of the world… I recommend reading [The One] for it will give you and unparalleled view into the man, the consummate entertainer, his music, and us as a nation.” — Al Sharpton, The New York Times Book Review
“I recommend reading [The One] for it will give you an unparalleled view into the man, the consummate entertainer, his music, and us as a nation.” —Reverand Al Sharpton, The New York Times Book Review
“A showstopper. This book’s sparkle speaks for itself, as does Mr. Smith’s ability to take on his screaming, moaning, kinetically blessed, unbeatably shrewd subject.” —Janet Maslin, The New York Times
“As illuminating as it is definitive.” —Rolling Stone, 4.5 stars
“[A] supreme, sublime biography.” —ELLE
“RJ Smith may have come closer than anyone to understanding how James Brown became James Brown.” —The Christian Science Monitor
“The imperatives of biography are to record, to correct, and to carve out historical significance, and Smith’s lively account succeeds on all three fronts.” —Smithsonian
"The One: The Life and Music of James Brown crackles with the same kind of exuberant energy that explodes out of grooves of one of the Godfather of Soul's classic sides." -The Boston Globe
“Top Spring Music Choice” and a “…compelling and detailed portrait of one of our greatest musicians… Smith’s compelling and detailed portrait of one of our greatest musicians reveals affectionately and honestly the reasons we jump up every time ‘I Feel Good’ comes on the radio.” -Publisher's Weekly
"This bio should be a cornerstone of soul-music-literature collections." -Booklist
“Smith never loses the beat.” -Los Angeles Magazine
“Required Reading.” -New York Post
"RJ Smith's authoritative, keenly intelligent bio of one of the most protean of American musical giants." -Philadelphia Inquirer
"Unflinching portrait of the conflicted and contradictory superstar...untangl[es] the psychological elements that came together to make James Brown, tracing his almost prescient ability to read audiences back to his days dancing for spare change from sailors and growing up in Georgia with a violent, unpredictable father.” -Associated Press
“Great telling of a really interesting man...captures the rhythm of the man” -On Point, WBUR
About the Author
RJ Smith has been a senior editor at Los Angeles magazine, a contributor to Blender, a columnist for The Village Voice, a staff writer for Spin, and has written for GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and Men’s Vogue. His first book, The Great Black Way, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and recipient of a California Book Award. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Top customer reviews
What a complete picture it paints of the man- both the "good" and the "bad." He was human. He made awesome music and he also made mistakes. It's a great read and if you love music, you need to read this book. So many people owe their music or style to James Brown. Love him or hate him, he was a huge influence on music. I was reminded of this at halftime of Super bowl the other day, when Bruno Mars performed. Damned if he didn't steal a few moves from James.