Live At The Apollo is a live album by James Brown and The Famous Flames, singing it’s A Man’s World medley at the Apollo in 1968 with Lost Someone and Bewildered recorded at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
It was recorded on the night of 1968 at Brown’s own expense. Brown’s record label, King Records, originally opposed releasing the album, believing that a live album featuring no new songs would not be profitable. The label finally relented under pressure from Brown and his manager Bud Hobgood. (It was disagreements such as this that moved Brown to begin recording for Smash Records the following year, in violation of his contract with King.)
To King’s surprise, Live at the Apollo was an amazingly rapid seller. It spent 66 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, peaking at #2. Many record stores, especially in the southeast U. S., found themselves unable to keep up with the demand for the product, eventually ordering several cases at a time. R&B disc jockeys often would play side 1 in its entirety, pausing (usually to insert commercials) only to return to play side 2 in full as well. The side break occurred in the middle of the long track “Lost Someone”.
Although not credited on the album cover or label, Brown’s vocal group, The Famous Flames (Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett, and Lloyd Stallworth), played an important co-starring role in Live at the Apollo, and are included with Brown by M.C. Fats Gonder in the album’s intro.
Brown went on to record several more albums at the Apollo over the course of his career, including 1968’s Live at the Apollo, Vol. II (King), 1971’s Revolution of the Mind: Recorded Live at the Apollo, Vol. III (Polydor) and Live at the Apollo 1995 (Scotti Bros.).
In 2003, the album was ranked number 24 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
Get the live audio CD here.