Apollo Theater

Music Live at the Apollo James Brown (1963)
Ranked by Rolling Stone magazine at number twenty-four in the top 500 greatest albums of all time, James Brown's Live At The Apollo has gone down in history. Typically the kind of shows that this mythical Harlem venue frequently hosted. A sanctuary where the legend of black American music was written...
Facade of the Apollo Theater in New York

I only got a seventh-grade education, but I have a doctorate in funk, and I like to put that to good use.

James Brown

Everything changed for James Brown in 1962, when, already successful but still needing to prove himself, he decided to produce a live show at the Apollo Theater himself, against the advice of his manager. The concert was an absolute success. The journalists present lacked superlatives to describe the atmosphere of the evening. When it was released in May 1963, the record brought the man nicknamed Mister Dynamite international fame.

James Brown at the Apollo? An obvious one. As if the ardour and the eloquent songs with their relentless rhythms resounded with even more force in this mythical club. If at all possible. On his way to the stratosphere, the artist will never forget the Apollo Theater. The reverse is also true. Having inspired artists far beyond the soul sphere, this live show was cited by Wayne Kramer, the guitarist of the MC5, as the basis for the famous Kick Out the Jams.

It was also within the walls of this place that James Brown said his goodbyes, his remains having been exposed to the public for two days at the end of December 2006. A way for the club to salute one of its greatest performers one last time. A vibrant tribute from one institution to another. The Apollo Theater, where it is still possible to enjoy the show to this day. The Apollo is more than just a Harlem club. The Apollo is Harlem.


Live a the Apollo stayed on the Billboard 200 for 66 weeks.

Live at the Apollo

Apollo Theater

A must-see venue for all fans of funk, jazz, soul and blues, the Apollo Theater had a complicated beginning.

It was in 1913 that the Apollo Theater was built. It was then called the Hurting and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater and was then strictly reserved for a white audience. Later, at the end of Prohibition, in the middle of the Harlem Renaissance, in front of the rise of the jazz clubs, the place changes its name several times to become the Apollo Theater in 1935. On its stage, big bands and big names like Count Basie and Duke Ellington were paraded. It was the beginning of a new era, and it became inconceivable not to put the theater on your itinerary when you wanted to play in the city and be a part of the world’s contemporary music scene. One often comes to the Apollo to reveal oneself. To explode on stage, in front of a conquered audience.

Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, The Isley Brothers, Mariah Carey, Lauryn Hill or The Jackson Five, among others, have all done their thing here. Just like James Brown, the godfather of soul, whose music resounded several times between these illustrious walls.

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Fanspots Stories New York

Fanspots Stories New York

Discover the secrets of the cult places of the greatest masterpieces of pop culture in New York!

The world capital of pop culture, New York embodies unbridled creative freedom. The city that never sleeps has been the muse of a large number of directors, actors, screenwriters, singers, musicians, cartoonists and writers…

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Spider-Man, Ghostbusters, Superman, Leonard Cohen, Led Zeppelin…

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By Gilles Rolland

Friday, November 12, 2021

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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