James Brown: Greatest Fashion Hits

Ten of the most outrageous outfits that made the man a style icon.

James Brown was known as the hardest-working man in show biz—but do you have any idea how much effort he must have spent choosing and designing his own costumes? He was truly the rare frontman who could don traditional suits and tuxedos as easily as glam-glittery ensembles: electric-blue jumpsuits, long capes, fur coats, and in-your-face jewelry. Think his music influenced Michael Jackson, Prince, George Clinton, and Bruno Mars? Consider their outfits, too. Inspired by the new PG-13 biopic Get On Up, we present Brown's 10 most dazzling fashion statements—from 1966 to 2008.

In his May 1966 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, Brown blew away the viewing public with his performance of "I Feel Good" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag."

The tuxedo reflected his more conservative early side; remember, he was performing on television for middle America. By the late sixties, however, Brown was performing bare-chested in brightly colored suits, a tectonic shift that would not have made Sullivan feel good.

Intro, Slide 6, Slide 7: photos courtesy of Corbis. All other photos courtesy of Getty.
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