LA STYLE – THE ALBUM/ The Dutch duo L.A. Style (founded and produced by Wessel van Diepen who later helped create Vengaboys) released “James Brown Is Dead” in 1991. It appeared on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart and was the first techno song to hit the Billboard Hot 100.
Despite the lyrics and title, James Brown was alive at the time of the song’s release and did not die at all until December 25, 2006.
Some sources report that the basis for the song is a 1992 broadcast that falsely reported the singer’s demise and that a sample of that broadcast became the basis of the recording. Because the song was released in 1991, this cannot be true.
Although a false report of the singer’s death may have been made on the airwaves at some time before the song was released (or perhaps at a later date with origins as a prank inspired by this song), this entire assertion may fall under the category of an urban legend.
“James Brown Is Still Alive”
Single by Holy Noise
Format 7″ single
In the wake of “James Brown Is Dead”, the song “James Brown Is Still Alive” was released that same year by Holy Noise, a techno group also from the Netherlands. Although the first song’s lyrics do actually assert that “the hardest working man in show biz is alive”, the Holy Noise song is regarded as an answer to the L.A. Style song.
This song begins with the lyrics:
James Brown’s down
Who the funk do you think you’re fooling?
For me the man’s still ruling
Stop the nonsense
Stop telling lies
James Brown is still alive