The Knees Of James Brown

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“James Brown does not, as a matter of routine, perform without begging, repeatedly. Not being one for half measures, he does not beg without falling to his knees. He falls to his knees half a dozen or so times in every show: on soft wooden floors like the Apollo’s, on hard concrete stages, on carpet, on stone, on metal, on earth. Four or five shows a day, three hundred days a year, in the early years. A hundred or more shows a year, even now that he’s in his seventies. Fifty years in show business. Imagine James Brown falling to his knees for his audience tens of thousands of times, probably hundreds of thousands of times. Imagine the scar tissue, inches thick, on the knees of James Brown.”

-Douglas Wolk, “Live At The Apollo”

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