By People Staff
January 24, 2005 12:00 PM

By James Brown


He punctuates his hyperkinetic stage act with splits, knee drops and signature screams. As Brown makes clear, that ferocity is fueled by the racism that he’s fought through 71 years, four marriages, two stints behind bars and several fortunes lost and regained. Clearly, he has had a ride like no other: Abandoned by his mother and raised in a relative’s brothel in segregated Augusta, Ga., he hustled customers and coins as a schoolboy, he writes, after “all the good little boys and girls were put to bed.” As Brown tells it, salvation came byway of a gospel choir where he learned the transforming power of song. Frank and often moving, his tale demonstrates just why he deserves his indelible moniker, the Godfather of Soul.