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YouTube Gold: A James Brown Christmas

If at first you don’t succeed...

James Brown Performing
 NEW YORK - 1962: Soul singer James Brown sings in to a vintage microphone as he performs onstage in 1962 in New York, New York.
Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

On December 24, 2006, we were looking for an image to post here for Christmas Day and found one of James Brown dressed as Santa.

How could you go wrong celebrating Christmas Day with The Godfather of Soul as Santa?

Pretty horribly easy as it turned out: Brown died a few hours later, at 1:45 AM, of pneumonia (later there were allegations that he had been murdered).

Talk about mortified. We took the image down as soon as we learned of his death, quite early in the morning. We’ve had plenty of chances to embarrass ourselves here over the years, and succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams in that regard, but that moment of horrible realization stands alone. The only consolation was that almost no one saw it since all the good little DBR boys and girls were tucked in waiting for Santa to arrive.

After a decent interval of self-reflection, we thought, well it is Christmas and it’s not like we can repeat that particular experience. So why not go back to the Godfather?

So here’s his Christmas album. We recommend you play it loud and if, at some point today or tonight you have a drink, give it up for James Brown. Because he always gave it up for you. Now feel good!