APRIL 1966 (46 YEARS AGO)
James Brown and The Famous Flames: “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” b/w “Is It Yes Or Is It No?” (King 45-6035) 45 single is released in the US.
“It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” is a song by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome. Brown recorded it on February 16, 1966 in a New York studio and released it as a single in April of that year. It reached #1 on the Billboard Top R&B Singles charts and #8 in the Billboard Hot 100. The song became a staple of Brown’s live shows.
The song’s lyrics, which Rolling Stone characterized as “almost biblically chauvinistic”, attribute all of the productive work that goes on in the world to the male gender, but allows that it would all amount to “nothing without a woman or a girl.” Brown’s female co-writer Newsome wrote the lyrics based on her own observations of the relations between the sexes. The song’s title is a pun on the title of the 1963 comedy film It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
The first verse states that man made the car, train, electric light, and the boat, while the second verse states that man made toys for both boys and girls, as well as to survive, by stating that “Man Makes Money” to buy from other men. In the fade out, Brown states that man is “Lost” “In the Wilderness” as well “In his Bitterness.”
Like Brown’s earlier ballad recording of “Prisoner of Love”, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” was recorded with a studio band that included some members of his touring band as well as a string section. Brown’s vocal group, The Famous Flames, were not used on this recording, though they did receive label credit. A female chorus was involved in the recording sessions, but their parts were edited out of the song’s final master.
In 2004, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” was ranked number 123 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.