“Live At The Apollo,” James Brown And Famous Flames In Harlem, NY 1962 (Full Video)

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Live at the Apollo is a live with James Brown and the Famous Flames, recorded in 1962 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, and released Live at the Apollo album in 1963. In 2003, the album was ranked number 25 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.

Live at the Apollo was recorded on the night of October 24, 1962 at Brown‘s own expense. 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‘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.

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In a retrospective article for Rolling Stone, music critic Robert Christgau said that Brown was “striking…” in the show than on his contemporary studio recordings and wrote of the album:

Brown as an r&b superstar and a sales force to be reckoned with, it’s a time capsule, living testament of a chitlin circuit now defunct. The band is clean as a silk suit, and how the women love this rough singer’s tender lover-in-song act. There is no music anywhere quite like the perfectly timed and articulated female fan-screeches that punctuate the 10-minute ‘Lost Someone.’

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.).

MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer cited Live at the Apollo as the inspiration to Kick Out the Jams “Our whole thing was based on James Brown. We listened to Live at the Apollo endlessly on acid. We would listen to that in the van in the early days of 8-tracks on the way to the gigs to get us up for the gig… These were standards.”

Here’s the full James Brown Live at the Apollo 1962 video:

Check out more Harlem history HERE.

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