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Charles Bradley (singer)

charles bradley (singer), charles bradley singer quotes
Charles Edward Bradley November 5, 1948 – September 23, 2017 was an American singer, signed to the Daptone Records label under the Dunham Records division His performances and recording style were consistent with Daptone's revivalist approach, celebrating the feel of funk and soul music from the 1960s and 1970s One review said he "echoes the evocative delivery of Otis Redding"

Calling himself "the screaming eagle of soul", Bradley was the subject of the documentary Soul of America which premiered at South by Southwest in 2012


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career in music
    • 21 Black Velvet & initial recordings 1996–2010
    • 22 No Time for Dreaming & Soul of America 2011–2012
    • 23 Victim of Love & Changes 2013–2016
  • 3 Death
  • 4 In popular culture
  • 5 Discography
    • 51 Studio albums
    • 52 Singles
    • 53 Other appearances
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Early life

Zelt-Musik-Festival 2016 in Freiburg, Germany

Bradley was raised by his maternal grandmother in Gainesville, Florida, until the age of eight when his mother, who had abandoned him at eight months of age, took him to live with her in Brooklyn, New York

In 1962, his sister took him to the Apollo Theater to see James Brown perform Bradley was so inspired by the performance that he began to practice mimicking Brown's style of singing and stage mannerisms at home

When he was fourteen, Bradley ran away from home to escape poor living conditions—his bedroom was in a basement with a sand floor—and lived on the streets during the day and slept nights in subway cars for two years Later, he enlisted in Job Corps which eventually led him to Bar Harbor, Maine to train as a chef A co-worker told him he looked like James Brown and asked if he could sing; he was at first shy but then admitted that he could He overcame his stage fright when a crew member pushed him through the curtains onto the stage and performed five or six times with a band His bandmates were later drafted into the Vietnam War, and the act never re-formed

Bradley worked in Maine as a cook for ten years, and then decided to head west, hitchhiking across the country He lived in upstate New York, Seattle, Canada and Alaska before settling in California in 1977 There, Bradley worked odd jobs and played small shows for 20 years He earned extra money doing James Brown performances, where he used such stage names as the Screaming Eagle of Soul, Black Velvet and even James Brown Jr In 1994 he moved back to Brooklyn after receiving a call from his mother

Career in music

Black Velvet & initial recordings 1996–2010

In 1996, Bradley's mother called him and asked him to move back in with her in Brooklyn so she could get to know him It was there he began making a living moonlighting as a James Brown impersonator in local clubs under the name "Black Velvet" During this time, Bradley experienced more difficulties, including almost dying in a hospital after having an allergic reaction to penicillin, and, in a separate episode, awaking at his mother's house to a commotion as police and ambulances were arriving to the scene of his brother's murder, just down the road from there

While performing as "Black Velvet," he was eventually discovered by Gabriel Roth better known as "Bosco Mann", a co-founder of Daptone Records Roth introduced Bradley to Daptone artist and his future producer Tom Brenneck, then the songwriter and guitarist for The Bullets, and later for Menahan Street Band, who invited Bradley to his band's rehearsal Bradley asked that the band simply perform while he made up lyrics on the spot After writing several songs, Daptone released some of these initial recordings on vinyl starting in 2002

No Time for Dreaming & Soul of America 2011–2012

Bradley performing at Traumzeit-Festival in Duisburg in 2013

Brenneck and Bradley chose ten of these recordings to be released as Bradley's debut album No Time for Dreaming in 2011

In the spring of 2012, Soul of America, a documentary directed by Poull Brien, debuted at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas Poull Brien first met Bradley when he directed the music video for "The World Is Going Up In Flames" This feature film told Bradley's story from his childhood in Florida, to the days of homelessness and heartache, then later his gigs as Black Velvet, and finally ended with him touring and recording at Daptone Records The film included his performance at festivals around the world

In 2014 Bradley took part in the Hamilton, Ontario Supercrawl event

Victim of Love & Changes 2013–2016

Bradley's second album, Victim of Love came out on April 2, 2013 Bradley's final album, Changes was released on April 1, 2016 and featured a cover of the Black Sabbath song, "Changes" In August 2016 he fell ill and canceled a Canadian tour and his appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival July 30 UK, where the band Darlingside filled in for him


Bradley died on September 23, 2017 of stomach cancer in Brooklyn, New York, at the age of 68 He was surrounded by family and friends, including members of all the bands he worked closely with, according to a press release from his publicist

In popular culture

Bradley's songs have frequently been sampled by hip hop artists Bradley provided the singing voice of the Krampus in the American Dad! episode, "Minstrel Krampus" A live Bradley performance appears in the Amazon television show Alpha House season 1, episode 6 in 2013 The song "The World Is Going Up In Flames" was featured in the TV series Spotless, as well as the final installment of the CW's 2016 Arrowverse crossover, Legends of Tomorrow S2E7 'Invasion!' The song "Dusty Blue" was featured in the 3rd Season and the song "Changes" was featured in the 6th season of the TV series Suits He is featured performing "Ain't It A Sin" in the third episode of the Netflix Marvel series Luke Cage The song "Where Do We Go From Here" appears in the 4th season of the Showtime series Ray Donovan His version of "Changes" is the opening theme of the animated sitcom Big Mouth and appears in the TV series Big Little Lies


Studio albums

Year Album Label & Catalog No
2011 No Time for Dreaming Daptone Records DAP-021 / Dunham DUN-1001
2013 Victim of Love Daptone Records DAP-031 / Dunham DUN-1004
2016 Changes Daptone Records DAP-041 / Dunham DUN-1005


Year Title Credited to Label & Catalog No
2002 "Take It As It Come, Pt 1" / "Take It As It Come, Pt 2" Charles Bradley and Sugarman & Co Daptone Records DAP-1005
2004 "Now That I'm Gone Look How You're Crying" / "Can't Stop Thinking About You" Charles Bradley and the Bullets Daptone Records DAP-1014
2006 "This Love Ain't Big Enough For The Two Of Us" Charles Bradley and the Bullets Daptone Records DAP-1021
2007 "The World Is Going Up In Flames" / "Heartaches And Pain" Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band / Charles Bradley Daptone Records DAP-1034 / Dunham DNM-102
2008 "The Telephone Song" Charles Bradley Daptone Records DAP-1041 / Dunham DUN-103
2010 "No Time For Dreaming" / "Golden Rule" Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band Daptone Records DAP-1055 / Dunham DUN-107
2010 "Every Day Is Christmas When I'm Lovin' You" / "Mary's Baby" Charles Bradley featuring The Gospel Queens Daptone Records DAP-1058 / Dunham DUN-109
2011 "Heart of Gold" / "In You I Found a Love" Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band Daptone Records DAP-1059 / Dunham DUN-110
2012 "Stay Away" / "Run It Back" Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band / Menahan Street Band Daptone Records DAP-1065 / Dunham DUN-111
2013 "Strictly Reserved For You" / "Let Love Stand A Chance" Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band Daptone Records DAP-1070 / Dunham DUN-113
2013 "Confusion" / "Where Do We Go From Here" Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band Daptone Records DAP-1073 / Dunham DUN-114
2013 "Changes" / "Ain't It A Sin" Charles Bradley & The Budos Band / Charles Bradley & The Bullets Daptone Records DAP-1076 / Dunham DUN-115
2014 "Luv Jones" / "Change, Change, Change" Charles Bradley & LaRose Jackson Daptone Records DAP-1080 / Dunham DUN-117
2016 "Change For The World" / "Revelations" Charles Bradley / Menahan Street Band Daptone Records DAP-1095 / Dunham DUN-118

Other appearances

  • "Take It As It Comes" from The Sugarman 3 album Pure Cane Sugar 2002
  • "Take It As It Comes" Afrodisiac Soundsystem Remix from the album Daptone Records Remixed 2007
  • "Stay Away" Nirvana cover from Spin's Newermind album, a compilation of Nirvana covers 2011
  • "Grant Green" from the Mr Jukes album God First 2017
  • "Otis" from Eddy Mitchell album La Même Tribu 2017


  1. ^ "Charles Bradley Bio" Official Website Retrieved February 14, 2011 
  2. ^ "No Time For Dreaming: Charles Bradley" Allmusiccom Retrieved February 14, 2011 
  3. ^ "Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming" Paste Magazine Retrieved February 9, 2011 
  4. ^ "Review of Soul of America" etonlinecom Retrieved 13 October 2017 
  5. ^ a b c d "Rollo & Grady Interview with Charles Bradley – Rollo & Grady: Los Angeles Music Blog" Rollogradycom May 20, 2011 Retrieved June 8, 2012 
  6. ^ a b c "Charles Bradley, at 62, finally putting his own soul on display for the world – Chicago Tribune" Articleschicagotribunecom April 14, 2011 Retrieved June 8, 2012 
  7. ^ a b c Bradley, Charles February 26, 2011 "Charles Bradley: An Impersonator Finds His Own Voice" NPR Retrieved June 8, 2012 
  8. ^ "Charles Bradley can finally talk about his tragic life" YouTubecom Retrieved 29 September 2017 
  9. ^ "Live on Soundcheck: Charles Bradley – WNYC Culture" Culturewnycorg Archived from the original on July 12, 2012 Retrieved June 8, 2012 
  10. ^ Sweeting, Adam September 24, 2017 "Charles Bradley obituary" Retrieved September 24, 2017 – via wwwtheguardiancom 
  11. ^ "Charles Bradley played New Year's Eve, playing James Brown tribute as 'Black Velvet' and other dates" Brooklynvegancom January 9, 2012 Retrieved June 8, 2012 
  12. ^ Andy Downing February 16, 2012 "Soul man Charles Bradley embraces his heartaches and pain at High Noon : 77-square" Hostmadisoncom Retrieved June 8, 2012 
  13. ^ "Charles Bradley Film: "Soul of America"" Charlesbradleyfilmcom Archived from the original on February 13, 2013 Retrieved May 2, 2013 
  14. ^ "Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires James St North, Hamilton ON, September 14" Exclaim!, By Calum Slingerland September 15, 2014
  15. ^ Sullivan, James February 21, 2013 "Late Bloomer Charles Bradley Eager to Release Second Soul Album" Rolling Stone Retrieved March 10, 2013 
  16. ^ Charles Bradley "Changes" on YouTube
  17. ^ "Charles Bradley cancels appearance, tour" Retrieved July 30, 2016 
  18. ^ Coscarelli, Joe September 24, 2017 "Charles Bradley, a Late-in-Life Soul Music Star, Dies at 68" The New York Times 
  19. ^ Newman, Jason September 23, 2017 "Charles Bradley, Acclaimed Soul Singer, Dead at 68" Rolling Stone ISSN 0035-791X 
  20. ^ "Charles Bradley Music Sampled by Others" WhoSampled Retrieved August 8, 2013 
  21. ^ "Charles Bradley" IMDbcom Retrieved May 25, 2016 

External links

  • Charles Bradley at AllMusic
  • Charles Bradley discography at Discogs
  • Charles Bradley on IMDb
  • Charles Bradley in Soul of America

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