R.J. Smith, author of The One, on tour March/April 2012

Posted By on January 24, 2012

About The One: The Life and Music of James Brown

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (March 15, 2012)

The definitive biography of James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, with fascinating findings on his life as a Civil Rights activist, an entrepreneur, and the most innovative musician of our time.

Playing 350 shows a year at his peak, with more than forty Billboard hits, James Brown was a dazzling showman who transformed American music. His life offstage was just as vibrant, but until now no biographer has delivered a complete profile. The One draws on interviews with more than 100 people who knew Brown personally or played with him professionally. Using these sources, award-winning writer RJ Smith draws a portrait of a man whose twisted and amazing life helps us to understand the music he made.

The One delves deeply into the story of a man who was raised in abject poverty in the segregated South but grew up to earn (and lose) several fortunes. Covering everything from Brown’s unconventional childhood (his aunt ran a bordello), to his role in the Black Power movement, which used “Say It Loud (I’m Black and Proud)” as its anthem, to his high-profile friendships, to his complicated family life, Smith’s meticulous research and sparkling prose blend biography with a cultural history of a pivotal era. At the heart of The One is Brown’s musical genius, as Smith traces the legend’s reinvention of funk, soul, R&B, and pop, and his evolution as an artist whose crucial influence spans at least 5 decades.

About R.J. Smith

RJ Smith has been a Senior Editor at Los Angeles magazine, a contributor to Blender, a columnist for the Village Voice, a staff writer for Spin, and has written for GQ, The New York Times Magazine, and Men’s Vogue.  His first book, The Great Black Way: LA in the 1940s and the Lost African-American Renaissance was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and recipient of a California Book Award.  He lives in Los Angeles.

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R.J. Smith’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Tuesday, March 20th:  Six String Theories

Monday, March 26th:  Man of La Book

Wednesday, March 28th:  Book Chase

Sunday, April 1st: Black Grooves (monthly e-zine)

Monday, April 2nd:  A Bookish Affair

Thursday, April 12th:  Tiffany’s Bookshelf

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