I had arranged to photograph James Brown (or Mister Brown as he insisted on being addressed) at mid-day at the Shepherd’s Bush Hilton but when I arrived, he was having his hair done. Journalist... read more Stuart Cosgrove and I waited in the lobby for over an hour but Mr. Brown then decided to go shopping.We were still unable to see him when he returned as his hair had to be styled again. Stuart and I were then instructed to meet him at the sound-check later that day. We got there and discovered that Mr. Brown had not done a sound-check in over 30 years!
Finally we were allowed into his dressing room where he was having his hair done again before the show. He looked rather sweet in red curlers. Stuart got to interview him but the Godfather of Soul warned me if I got my camera out, both it and I were going straight out of the third floor window. I tried to persuade him to do some shots before he went onstage. I told him the photos would only take a minute and he agreed to do them after the show.
It was after midnight by the time I returned to the dressing room. Mr. Brown’s hair had just been coiffed yet again. He looked at me, then at his watch and said, “Go!” He was giving me exactly sixty seconds. “You keep to your promise and I’ll keep to mine,” he said.
'Mr. Brown' as we were all instructed to call him, was being interviewed by a documentary crew in an hotel suite. He flirted with me between takes and allowed me to shoot the sound-check at Hammersmith... read more later, which he attended wearing a dressing-gown and hair rollers. James Brown was one of the greats.