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James Brown Dies at 73

The “Godfather of Soul,” James Brown-the R&B pioneer who ranks among Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and the Beatles as one of the last century’s most significant musical innovators-succumbed to pneumonia on Christmas Day in Atlanta. He was 73.

In a career spanning over six decades, the iconic singer helped shape and define R&B and soul, in effect altering the course and rhythmic vocabulary of jazz and planting the seeds of funk, disco and rap. Where Dylan revolutionized music with lyrical content and John Coltrane did likewise by blurring the lines of sound and art, Brown’s contributions lied within his rhythmic innovations: His songs could be simultaneously polyrhythmic and Afro-centric as well as minimal and populist, their power reaching across racial and social divides.

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