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