James Brown, one of the American kings of funk, was known for his electric stage presence. He practically set the live-show standard for decades of rock performers who would succeed him, though pretty much no one could work a stage like him.
On this day (Dec. 17) in 1977, Brown brought his energy and music to the now-closed Stars Ballroom in Mesa, Ariz. By this point, Brown had already released most of the songs he’d be remembered for, including his classic 1968 holiday album Soulful Christmas, which we recently named one of the best Christmas album of all time.
But Brown hasn’t gone down in history for his Christmas music: He’s remembered for challenging the norms and reinventing the live show. During this 1977 show, he performed hits like “Get Up Offa That Thing,” “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “Sex Machine.”
Listen to James Brown’s 1977 show in its entirety below via the Paste archives.