Boston, Massachusetts (JFK+50) Forty-seven years ago, April 5, 1968, leaders of the city government here in Boston considered cancelling that night's scheduled James Brown* concert at the Boston Garden.
They were concerned about potential violence following a night of riots and protests in the aftermath of the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.
Councilman Tom Atkins suggested going ahead with the concert and Mayor Kevin White agreed but asked WGBH to broadcast the concert LIVE "so people could watch from the safety of their homes."
Bob Seay of WGBH-TV said...
"James Brown delivered an incredibly inspired performance. He connected with his audience...(and) with his many fans beyond and throughout the city.
And it worked. All in all, it was one of the most amazing nights of live TV anyone could experience."
The Boston Garden concert was dedicated to the memory of Dr. King.
*James Joseph Brown (1933-2006) became the 'Godfather of Soul.' He was born in Barnwell, SC and grew up in Augusta, GA. JJB first appeared at Augusta's Lenox Theater in 1944. He learned to play piano, guitar and harmonica.
JJB joined 'The Famous Flames' and their 1956 version of 'Please, Please, Please' sold more than a million records. The group soon became known as "James Brown and the Famous Flames."
The group's "Try Me" in 1958 became the 1st of 17 chart-topping hits and in 1962, "Night Train" was JJB's first entrance into the top 40 on Billboard. The following year "Prisoner of Love" made the top 20. "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" made the top 10 and won James Brown his 1st Grammy.
"Video: In 1968, James Brown Saved Boston," by Bob Seay, April 4, 2011, www.wgbh.org/