|"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag Part I"|
|Single by James Brown and the Famous Flames|
|B-side||"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag Part II"|
|Studio||Arthur Smith Studios, Charlotte, North Carolina|
length mentioned on single; actual playing time was 2:03
|James Brown charting singles chronology|
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" is a song written and recorded by James Brown. Released as a two-part single in 1965, it was Brown's first song to reach the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten, peaking at number eight, and was a number-one R&B hit, topping the charts for eight weeks. It won Brown his first Grammy Award, for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording.
Consolidating the rhythmic innovations of earlier James Brown recordings such as "I've Got Money" and "Out of Sight", "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" is considered seminal in the emergence of funk music as a distinct style. As Brown sings the praises of an old man brave enough to get out on the dance floor of a nightclub ("brand new bag" meaning new interest, taste, or way of doing something), his band provides a horn-heavy backdrop with a prominent rhythm and an electric guitar riff for a hook. Both singer and musicians place overwhelming emphasis on the first beat of each measure ("on the One"). The song is Brown's first recording to feature Jimmy Nolen on guitar.
The taped recording of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" was edited and sped up for its single release, increasing the tempo and raising the pitch by a half step. In 1991, the recording was released in unedited form at its original speed on the box set Star Time. The track includes lead-in studio chatter, with Brown throatily (and presciently) shouting "This is a hit!" just before the drum and horn intro.
In 2004, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" was ranked number 72 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time. (In 2010, the magazine updated its list, and the song was moved up a rank to number 71.) The song is currently ranked as the 121st greatest song of all time, as well as the eighth-best song of 1965, by Acclaimed Music.
An instrumental version of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" was released as the B-side of Brown's 1965 single from Smash called "Try Me". He also recorded a big band jazz arrangement of the song with Louie Bellson's Orchestra for his 1970 album Soul on Top.
Live performances of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" appear on the albums Hot on the One, Live in New York, Soul Session Live, Live at the Apollo 1995, and the 2009 Expanded Edition of Live at the Garden. It is also featured in medleys on Love Power Peace and Say It Live and Loud.
- In 1965, The Fabulous Echoes covered the song on their album Lovin' Feeling.
- In 1965, Buddy Guy played the song participating in the European tour American Folk Blues Festival. The song is not on the record but in the movie that was made of the tour.
- In 1965, The McCoys released a version of the song on their debut album, Hang on Sloopy.
- In 1968, Atco Records released a single by Otis Redding, from the posthumously released LP In Person at the Whisky a Go Go.
- In 1968, The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band released a version of the song on their album, Together.
- In 1971, Fadoul, a Moroccan musician, covered the song in Arabic.
- In 1974, The Residents recorded a German version of the song for their Third Reich N Roll album.
- In 1987, Roger Troutman covered the song on his album Unlimited!.
- In 1995, Jimmy Smith recorded an instrumental version on his album Damn!
- In 1999, The Sugarman 3 covered the song on Sugar's Boogaloo.
- In 2006, Bebi Dol covered the song on her album Čovek rado izvan sebe živi.
- In 2007, Ubisoft remake this song for the game Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 covered by Franck Chapelat.
- In 2018, fourteen year-old Courtney Hadwin covered the song in a broadcast performance on NBC's primetime TV show America's Got Talent.
- James Brown – lead vocals
with the James Brown Band:
- Joe Dupars – trumpet
- Ron Tooley – trumpet
- Levi Rasbury – trombone
- Wilmer Milton – trombone
- Nat Jones – alto saxophone
- Maceo Parker – tenor and baritone saxophones
- St. Clair Pinckney – tenor saxophone
- Eldee Williams – tenor saxophone
- Al "Brisco" Clark – tenor saxophone
- Nat Jones – organ
- Jimmy Nolen – guitar
- Sam Thomas or Bernard Odum – bass
- Melvin Parker – drums
References and uses in popular culture
Towards the end of one of the mixes of Public Enemy's 1994 song "Give It Up", Flavor Flav is heard to say "Papa's got a brand new bag." The same line is also heard in the rap part of Color Me Badd's 1991 single "Color Me Badd" and Big Daddy Kane's 1989 song "Warm It Up, Kane".
Eminem's song "Just Lose It" features the lyric "Papa's got a brand new bag of toys".
- Big Gigantic (September 20, 2016). "The 30 Best Funk Songs Ever". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 1, 2019. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
- James Brown interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1970)
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 84.
- White, Cliff (1991). "Discography". In Star Time (pp. 54–59) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
- Brown at AllMusic.
- Definition of bag, sense 6, Merriam-Webster.
- Leeds, Alan, and Harry Weinger (1991). "Star Time: Song by Song". In Star Time (pp. 46–53) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
- "'Rolling Stone' Updates '500 Greatest Songs' List". 28 May 2010. Archived from the original on 29 June 2010.
- "Acclaimed Music Top 3000 songs". Acclaimed Music. 27 May 2009.
- The McCoys, Hang On Sloopy Retrieved June 24, 2015
- The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band, Together Retrieved August 6, 2016.
- The Arabic Funk Of Fadoul Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- Čovek rado izvan sebe živi at Discogs
- Courtney Hadwin ‘robbed’ of $1 million America’s Got Talent prize as reported in Evening Standard on 20 September 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2023
- "James Brown". IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved 31 August 2020.
- Archived at Ghostarchive and the Wayback Machine: "Call of Duty®: Modern Warfare® & Warzone™ - Official Season Six Trailer" – via YouTube.