James Brown – It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World

James Brown was the man. Not many go on a stage and leave everything on it like he did. He drove his band hard, really hard to follow him. I so wish I could have seen this man live in concert. Every song he did sound as if it were a sermon coming from a pulpit.

That’s not to say that trouble didn’t find Brown or that Brown didn’t find trouble every so often. In 1963 in Macon, Georgia, James Brown attempted to shoot his musical rival Joe Tex. It seemed Tex had done a parody of Brown on stage, and James didn’t like it. The incident caused people to get shot and stabbed. Brown got his agent and a few thousand dollars to make the situation disappear. When the shootout was over, each one of the injured was given one hundred dollars apiece not to carry it no further and not to talk to the press. Brown was never charged for the incident.

James Brown first recorded this song in June of 1964 in Chicago under the title “It’s a Man’s World”. But it was Brown’s second version of the song, retitled in 1966 that became a hit, with the final title echoing the Oscar-winning It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  The music was written by James Brown and most of the lyrics by Betty Jean Newsome.

The lyrics to the song emerged from a road trip tour James Brown was on with his backup singer, Betty Jean Newsome. She has said they were on a 20-hour drive from Harlem, through South Carolina, and further west into the Deep South.

In 1963 Brown co-wrote “I Cried” with Famous Flames bandmate Bobby Byrd The song was recorded by 18-year-old Tammy Montgomery, who had been a backup singer with the James Brown Revue in live concerts. Later on, she would become Tammi Terrell. He used the same chord progression for It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World.

The song peaked at #1 on The Billboard R&B Charts, #8 on the Billboard 100, #25 in Canada, and #13 in the UK in 1966.

It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s, World

This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

You see, man made the cars to take us over the road
Man made the train to carry the heavy load
Man made electric light to take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark

This is a man’s, man’s, man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

Man thinks about our little bitty baby girls and our baby boys
Man made them happy, ’cause man made them toys
And after man make everything, everything he can
You know that man makes money, to buy from other man

This is a man’s world
But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing, not one little thing, without a woman or a girl
He’s lost in the wilderness
He’s lost in bitterness, he’s lost lost


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

21 thoughts on “James Brown – It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”

  1. If Helen Reddy hadn’t got the seeds of ‘I Am woman’ in her head before, she sure did after hearing this one, LOL. James was a talent but not one I like to listen to all that much…but can’t deny his energy and raw emotion that comes through in his voice. Cool comic-book style video though! Alan Parsons might have seen it and had it in mind for his ‘Don’t Answer Me’ one (if the Brown video had come out by then).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea that would have helped Reddy come up with it!
      I mostly only know the hits by Brown…which I don’t think he is known by his albums but I could be wrong.
      I like his stuff…I just want to hear more of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I never knew about that James Brown incident in ’63. I remember an older cousin introducing me to him (when I was a kid) and Bruce Lee movies, both of which I wasn’t smitten over. Over the years I am more conversant of their art-forms and enthusiastic. Brown’s music has never really been my thing – blues soul music , but I appreciate it. Nice post Max

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Matt. I don’t know a bunch about him but he was a powerful singer.
      Bruce Lee…he does fascinate me…how quick he was and the shape he was in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just sent a couple of videos to my kids of the portrayal of Bruce Lee proving his form of Kung Fu – ‘Jeet Kune Do’ to the traditionalists.
        As the legend goes, Bruce Lee’s hand speed in his movies were too fast for the cameras to pick-up because the film produced just a cloud of flurry, so they had to slow down the camera motion to pick it up. haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve read that he was a peaceful man… but people would see him walking down the street and make the mistake of challenging him…wrong move.
        The film clip is awesome! The guy was incredible and a pioneer. Here is something funny by Jackie Chan working with Bruce Lee

        Liked by 1 person

      3. How cool is that! I always liked Chan…he seems like a great humble guy. He said Lee was a good guy that really helped him.


  3. :::bowing:::: to Betty Jean Newsome and Mr. Brown for using their talents for good. Excellent anthem. James Brown was big where I lived as a teen. I didn’t care for the theatrics but the music was always good. Thanks for choosing this song today. Wasn’t the “knockoff” song he almost killed over, “I Gotcha” and there was something about the singer having the hots for Brown’s woman in there also? (You know my memory, but those bytes are bursting out right now lol)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joe Tex! My sister had the I Gotcha single so I knew it really well. Yea Tex said that Brown stole his girlfriend and Tex kept on making fun of him…they kept fueding. I was going to write up I Gotcha at one time…but it’s ingrained in my head.
      Tomorrow…is a kind of Beatles-related song that is about as far out in left field as I ever got…and contains nudity lol…That preview will make you wonder lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Great pick, Max. I love this tune and also think James Brown was one of the most compelling performers. When this man was on stage, it was almost like he was possessed by the songs he performed. His intensity was something else. And his dance moves? Man, when you look at YouTube clips, it’s like you’re looking at an early Michael Jackson!

    I won’t deny Brown had a volatile character, which led to various run-ins with the law, including repeated arrests for domestic violence – that’s not cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was somewhat troubled in manyways but as a performer…he was impossible to beat.
      You are right…it’s like he was possessed…unfortunately… good and bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Prob his greatest record for me. Theres a great completely different version, very mid 80s, by a band called Brilliant. AKA Youth, half of The Fireman with Paul McCartney, 90s hitmaker Blue Pearl and producer of kate bush, siouxsie, tom jones, u2, crowded house and many others. And also Jimmy Cauty AKA half of The KLF.

    Liked by 1 person

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