Born into depression-era poverty and raised in a Georgia brothel, James Brown sang and danced in the streets to support his family.
"I'd bug dance, it wasn't tap dance, it was bug dance because it was self taught for the soldiers in the Cavalry," Brown says. "I made $5 to pay the rent."
It wasn't the money that got him hooked.
"I sang one day, and the girls started screaming," he recalls. "That was it. I put everything else down."
James Brown gave them reason to keep on screaming. His career evolved, and in 1965, the young man from Georgia launched what would become the most influential sound in pop music.
"We put out a song called "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," and we put the beat on one and three," Brown says. "That was the most different thing that ever happened."
Over the next three decades, Brown had 98 songs on Billboard's top 40 charts.
Brown gave pop a new beat, but he also gave the world a new way to move.
"I got it from God, because I'm not genius enough to put something like that together," he says.
James Brown is famous and infamous. But for all the jail time, arrests for alleged domestic abuse and a history of drug and weapons possession, his legacy is indisputable.
Brown is still touring and performing. A new biographical DVD has just been released, and, he says he plans to stay on the scene.
Some of the archival video aired on The Early Show came from the documentary "The Man, The Message, The Music," which is available on DVD.