Every week Rich Terfry looks back in our Rear-View Mirror at a great song from the good ol’ days.
In the mid '70s, James Brown found himself at a crossroads. Musical tastes were changing and he wanted to stay relevant. So he took some inspiration, and arguably a little more, from the hottest musician on Earth at the time: David Bowie.
In late 1974, David Bowie made an appearance on the extremely popular Dick Cavett Show. James Brown was watching and was struck by two things. First, he saw a familiar face, that of guitarist Carlos Alomar, who quit James Brown's band five years before. Second, he heard an amazingly funky riff that Alomar was playing. Bowie was covering a song by Alomar's old band called "Footstompin'."
Alomar later allowed Bowie to re-work the song and with a helping hand from John Lennon, eventually the song became Bowie's hit, "Fame."
At the same time, the Godfather of Soul was in the studio, and he couldn't help himself. He ripped Alomar's riff off, note for note. The resulting song was called "Hot (I Need To Be Loved)."
James Brown's record label, Polydor rushed to release it, beating David Bowie to the punch. So when Bowie finally got around to releasing "Fame", anyone who missed the Dick Cavett performance accused him of ripping off James Brown!
The irony is, both men, who are regarded as geniuses, took the idea from Carlos Alomar.
"Hot (I Need To Be Loved)" is one of the strangest and most controversial songs from James Brown's catalog.
Listen to the audio version of Rear-View Mirror by clicking the play button below.
Here are some other great editions of Rear-View Mirror:
Inner Circle, "Tenement Yard"
Ray Charles, "I Don't Need No Doctor"
Curtis Mayfield, "Freddy's Dead"
Gang Starr, "Beyond Comprehension"
Bo Diddley, "Bo Diddley"
Aretha Franklin, "Rocksteady"
CCR, "Have You Ever Seen the Rain"
Howlin' Wolf, "Smokestack Lightning"
Bobby Womack, "Across 110th Street"
Roy Orbison, "In Dreams"
Foggy Hogtown Boys, "Man of Constant Sorrow"
Pink Floyd, "Wish You Were Here"
Neil Young, "Cortez The Killer"
Bob Dylan, "Subterraneon Homesick Blues"
Little Eva, "Loco-Motion"
Elvis Costello, "Watching the Detectives"
Jimmy Cliff, "The Harder They Come"
The Verve, "Bittersweet Symphony"
Roberta Flack, "Killing Me Softly with his Song"
R.E.M., "Radio Free Europe"
Radiohead, "No Surprises"
Led Zeppelin, "Ramble On"
Glen Campbell, "Wichita Lineman"
Rolling Stones, "Beast of Burden"
John Cougar Mellencamp, "Pink Houses"
on Aug 01, 2012