Live At The Apollo (1963 Album) - Overview - Release and Reception

Release and Reception

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Live at the Apollo was recorded on the night of October 24, 1962 at Brown's own expense. Brown's record label, King Records, originally opposed releasing the album, believing that a live album featuring no new songs would not be profitable. The label finally relented under pressure from Brown and his manager Bud Hobgood. (It was disagreements such as this that moved Brown to begin recording for Smash Records the following year, in violation of his contract with King).

To King's surprise, Live at the Apollo was an amazingly rapid seller. It spent 66 weeks on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, peaking at #2. Many record stores, especially in the southeast US, found themselves unable to keep up with the demand for the product, eventually ordering several cases at a time. R&B disc jockeys often would play side 1 in its entirety, pausing (usually to insert commercials) only to return to play side 2 in full as well. The side break occurred in the middle of the long track "Lost Someone".

Although not credited on the album cover or label, Brown's vocal group, The Famous Flames (Bobby Byrd, Bobby Bennett, and Lloyd Stallworth), played an important co-starring role in Live at the Apollo, and are included with Brown by M.C. Fats Gonder in the album's intro.

Brown went on to record several more albums at the Apollo over the course of his career, including 1968's Live at the Apollo, Vol. II (King), 1971's Revolution of the Mind: Recorded Live at the Apollo, Vol. III (Polydor) and Live at the Apollo 1995 (Scotti Bros.).

MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer cited Live at the Apollo as the inspiration to Kick Out the Jams "Our whole thing was based on James Brown. We listened to Live at the Apollo endlessly on acid. We would listen to that in the van in the early days of 8-tracks on the way to the gigs to get us up for the gig. If you played in a band in Detroit in the days before The MC5, everybody did 'Please, Please, Please' and 'I Go Crazy.' These were standards. We modeled The MC5's performance on those records. Everything we did was on a gut level about sweat and energy. It was anti-refinement. That's what we were consciously going for."

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