The Who2 Blog

How is James Brown Like Howard Hughes?

A photo of James Brown, lookin' older, crooning into a microphone gripped in both hands

Neither one really felt good:

“Brown’s story surely illustrates the dark side of the American Dream—paranoid, reclusive, self-canceling—that can be seen in wildly divergent figures across the ideological spectrum, from Howard Hughes and Hunter S. Thompson to Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson. (Is it mere coincidence that Brown and Thompson were both attracted, in their different ways, to the same paranoiac nemesis and compadre—Richard Milhous Nixon?) Having it all doesn’t make the winner happy; if anything, it turns you into a permanent sentry at the CCTV gateway to your own life, waiting for raiding parties and enemies and ragged ghosts. Brown died a lonely old man, self-sufficiency become a Midas curse.”

Good stuff from Ian Penman’s review of R.J. Smith‘s new biography, The One: The Life and Music of James Brown.

{ Hat tip: The Dish }

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