James Brown left his long time recording home of King Records and signed with Polydor today (July 1, 1971).
James Brown signed a five-year contract with Polydor, a German-based company that was looking to expand its presence in the United States.
According to reports, James Brown’s contract with King was bought out by Polydor for a whopping $910,000.
Under the deal, James Brown’s two labels, Brownstone and People, became distributed under the Polydor banner, while Polydor acquired the rights to James’ back catalogue.
The People label was by far James Brown’s most successful recording endeavor as a businessman.
Artists on the label included Lynn Collins, Bobby Byrd, the J.B.s and others.
The deal got off to a white hot start, with James Brown producing nine hit singles for the label in the first year, including “Make It Funky,” (#1) and “t
Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothin’.”
Within one year of the deal, James Brown was claiming that Polydor was a racist company, that was not doing enough to support him as a black artist.
“To all white people concerned: Goddamnit I’m tired…it’s been a racist thing ever since I’ve been here,” James Brown wrote to Polydor executives in 1972.
People Records would eventually fold in 1976, over a royalty dispute with Polydor.
It seems from 1972-1976, James Brown had taken advances of almost $1.5 million.
James signed with the TK label and began rebuilding his career, which was helped with a track titled “Unity” featuring Hip-Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.
Waxfact: When James Brown’s deal was signed with Polydor, the executives brought in Jules Rifkin of Spring Records to help promote James product. Spring had artists like Joe Simon, Millie Jackson and The Fat Back Band. Jules Rifkin is also the father of legendary Hip-Hop executive Steve Rifkin.