The mystery and myth behind the Queen of Funk, an artist who should have been a superstar, Betty Davis. A small town southern girl, Betty exploded onto the music scene in the early '70s after launching a career in New York as a fashion model and playing muse to Jazz legend Miles Davis. Her brief marriage to Miles helped electrify the jazz scene and launch her career as a performer. Betty's uninhibited sexuality, raunchy stage presence and suggestive lyrics made her brand of funk unforgettable, but she disappeared from the scene after being boycotted by religious groups, black political leaders and the NAACP. MORE -LESS
One of the biggest characters in funk history, Morris Day was an aspiring drummer who became the embodiment of "cool." The iconic frontman might have had a different life altogether, if not for his childhood friend, Prince Rogers Nelson. Morris made a Faustian bargain with the future superstar, and the result was Morris Day and the Time. The band skyrocketed to the top with hits like "Jungle Love," but resentment festered and the rivalry between the two singers reached a breaking point. Years later, a reunion show at Prince's Minnesota mansion brought The Time back to the stage, allowing Morris and Prince to make peace before the latter's untimely death. MORE -LESS
At the height of his fame, James Brown reigned supreme as the king of funk, the first voice and innovator of a brand new musical genre. Behind the scenes, Brown was a taskmaster, feuding with rivals as well as members of his own band. By the 1980's, the work ethic that propelled him to superstardom began to take its toll. Compromised by his own bad decisions, Brown was eclipsed by a new generation of stars trying to follow in his footsteps. Despite falling off the Billboard charts, the king of funk never lost the showmanship that made him a legend. MORE -LESS
James Brown, a.k.a. “Mr. Dynamite”, was renowned for his infectious voice and unbelievable dance moves. Between his womanizing ways, perfectionist attitude and daredevil style, he built an empire that went far beyond entertaining, often alienating musicians and business partners along the way.
One of music's most notable bassists, Bootsy Collins went from rocking out in Ohio to working with the notorious James Brown, who taught him "The One" funk basics. But it was when Bootsy met George Clinton that he created his larger-than-life persona and became the backbone of the P-Funk empire. As the frontman of Bootsy's Rubber Band, he quickly achieved solo stardom before realizing that what he loved most about music was the joy of just being part of a group. MORE -LESS
In the mid-‘80s, funk star Rick James was riding high on top of the music world. But between his rivalry with Prince, crusade against MTV and run-ins with the law, he fell further under the influence of cocaine. Even a shot at a comeback, when M.C. Hammer sampled his greatest hit, couldn’t pull James back from the brink.
The self-proclaimed “King of Punk Funk,” Rick James came from humble beginnings in Buffalo before hooking up with Neil Young while dodging the draft in Canada. With a penchant for pyrotechnics, glitter, custom boots and marijuana, his quest to become a black rock star reached its apex when a throwaway song, “Super Freak,” topped the charts and gave him the fame he’d dreamed of. MORE -LESS
A cornerstone figure in funk music, George Clinton went from singing a capella in a barbershop to chasing Motown glory in Detroit with his band, The Parliaments. But the introduction of LSD took him to the next level, as he built a funk empire with outrageous costumes, frequent band-name changes and an occasional bit of nudity. From his first hit, “(I Wanna) Testify,” to the smash anthem “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk),” Clinton forged a lasting sound that went on to fuel a whole new genre: hip-hop. MORE -LESS