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Brown will lie in state at Apollo

The singer will return to the place where he got his start.

December 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

New York — JAMES BROWN'S music career will come full circle when his body is brought to rest on the stage of the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, where he made his explosive debut and the world changed to his beat.

The public will be permitted to visit the Apollo today to have one more look at a man who helped steer modern musical tastes toward rhythm-and-blues, funk, hip-hop, disco and rap, the Rev. Al Sharpton said. The reverend has been a close friend of Brown for decades.

"It would almost be unthinkable for a man who lived such a sensational life to go away quietly," Sharpton said in an interview from Georgia, where he was making funeral arrangements with Brown's children.

Sharpton said the public Apollo viewing will be followed by a private ceremony Friday in Brown's hometown, Augusta, Ga., and then a public ceremony, officiated by Sharpton, a day later at the James Brown Arena there.

"His greatest thrill was always the lines around the Apollo Theater," Sharpton said. "I felt that James Brown in all the years we talked would have wanted one last opportunity to let the people say goodbye to him and he to the people."

Brown, known as the Godfather of Soul, died of congestive heart failure on Christmas morning in Atlanta at age 73. He had been scheduled to perform on New Year's Eve in Manhattan at B.B. King's blues club.

Meanwhile, a Paramount spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday that the studio has a script in development about Brown's life. Spike Lee is attached to direct for producer Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment, she said.

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