"It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is a song by James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome. Brown recorded it on February 16, 1966 in a New York studio and released it as a single later that year. It reached #1 on the Billboard R&B chart and #8 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its title is a pun on the 1963 comedy film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
The song's lyrics, which Rolling Stone characterized as "almost biblically chauvinistic", attribute all the works of modern civilization (the car, the train, the electric light) to the efforts of men, but claim that it all would "mean nothing without a woman or a girl." Brown's co-writer and onetime girlfriend, Betty Jean Newsome, wrote the lyrics based on her own observations of the relations between the sexes. In later years, Newsome would claim that Brown didn't write any part of the song and argued in court that Brown sometimes forgot to pay her royalties.
The composition of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" developed over a period of several years. Tammy Montgomery, better known as Tammi Terrell, recorded "I Cried", a Brown-penned song based on the same chord changes, in 1963. Brown himself recorded a demo version of the song, provisionally entitled "It's a Man's World", in 1964. This version later appeared on the CD compilations The CD of JB and Star Time.
The released version of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" was recorded quickly, in only two takes, with a studio ensemble that included members of Brown's touring band and a string sectionarranged and conducted by Sammy Lowe. A female chorus was involved in the recording sessions, but their parts were edited out of the song's final master.
"It's a Man's Man's Man's World" became a staple of Brown's live shows for the rest of his career. Its slow, simmering groove and declamatory vocal line made it suitable for long, open-ended performances incorporating spoken ruminations on love and loss and sometimes interpolations from other songs. It appears on almost all of Brown's live albums starting with 1967's Live at the Garden. Brown also recorded a big band jazz arrangement of the song with the Louie Bellson Orchestra for his 1970 album Soul on Top.
- James Brown - lead vocal
with studio band:
- Dud Bascomb - trumpet
- Waymon Reed - trumpet
- Lamarr Wright - trumpet
- Haywood Henry - baritone saxophone
- Ernie Hayes - piano
- Billy Butler - guitar
- Bernard "Pretty" Purdie - drums
Other players, including trombone, bass and strings, unknown
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||14|
|US BillboardHot 100||8|
|US R&B Singles (Billboard)||1|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||13|
The song has been recorded by many artists in various idioms over the years.
- Lucio Dalla included it in the 1966 (the same year of its first recording by James Brown) in his album '1999'.
- French singer Nino Ferrer also recorded it in 1966 on his album Enregistrement public in French as Si tu m'aimes encore.
- The MC5 covered the song in 1970 on their live album Teen Age Lust, the song is also on the soundtrack to The Runaways movie.
- It was the first hit single for Australian singer Renée Geyer, who recorded it for her 1974 album It's a Man's Man's World.
- Grand Funk Railroad covered the song in 1983 on their album "What's Funk?".
- The Residents covered the song in 1984 to promote their album George and James, despite it not appearing on that album. A music video was also created.
- Van Morrison released a live version on his double album A Night in San Francisco in 1994.
- Cher recorded it on her 1995 album It's a Man's World.
- Mountain recorded it on their 1996 album Man's World.
- Marla Glen recorded it on her album Our World in 1997.
- Sekouba Bambino, a Guinean singer well known in West Africa, released a cover version on his 2002 album Sinikan.
- Natacha Atlas recorded it on her 2003 album Something Dangerous under the simplified title "Man's World".
- Christina Aguilera performed a critically acclaimed rendition of the song as a posthumous tribute to James Brown at the 2007 Grammy Awards. Her performance has been voted as the 3rd Most Memorable Grammy Performance of all time.
- Celine Dion performed the song as a part of her 2008-2009 Taking Chances Tour.
- Seal recorded the song for his 2008 album Soul and released it as the second single from the album.
- Michael Lynche sang the song during the ninth season of American Idol.
- The cast of Glee, featuring Quinn Fabray (Dianna Agron) covered the song during season one's twenty-first episode, entitled "Funk", and released it as a single. Quinn was trying to represent the suppressed feeling women feel from men.
- The song was covered by Mary Byrne during the first live show of series seven of The X Factor. Fellow finalist Paije Richardson had also performed it as his second audition song after judge Louis Walsh gave him a second chance following his colleague's refusal to put Richardson through to the next round.
- It is also a popular song for live performances, having been performed in concert by such artists as Govt. Mule and The Grateful Dead.
- Tom Jones recorded it, and it's available on the album The Soul of Tom Jones
- Dave Meniketti, the frontman of the hard rock band Y&T covered this song on his solo album "On The Blue Side".
- Joss Stone recorded it on her first album The Soul Sessions" live at Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C., on December 7, 2003.
- Tom Andrews a UK YouTube contributor performed the song during The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 16th September 2010. This followed a short interview and preceded Ellen's announcement of him being the second signing to her record label eleveneleven.
- Gienek Loska, the winner of the first series of Polish X Factor, sang the song several times during the season.
- Shannon Noll, Australian pop/rock musician has recorded a version of the track for his upcoming fourth studio album A Million Suns
- Etta James, covered the song in 2006 on her album "All The Way"
- Bebi Dol covered the song in 2006 on her album Čovek rado izvan sebe živi.
- Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) sang the song on the Smash episode Let's Be Bad.
- Juliet Simms performed the song on an episode of the The Voice (U.S.).
- Joshua Ledet and Elise Testone sang the song during the eleventh season of American Idol.
- Karise Eden performed the song on the Australian version of The Voice.
- This song was featured on the My Wife and Kids episode, "The Proposal".
- That Handsome Devil covered the song on their 2010 EP Hating New People.
- This is the song piece in the face-off between Judith Hill and Karina Iglesias on the Battle Rounds of The Voice (U.S.) Season 4
- Yuki Ito in The Voice of the Philippines while 2 Chair Turned above to Lea Salonga & Sarah Geronimo now he chosen as Team Sarah
- Michael Jackson samples the brass introduction from the song for "Bad".
- "It's A Man's World" by Ice Cube from his 1990 album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted samples this song.
- The trumpet introduction was sampled by the Wu-Tang Clan for their 2001 song "Gravel Pit" and by Nigerian-Greek rapper MC Yinka in the song "Χαιρετισμός" (Chairetismos) from his album "Αλάνα" (Alana).
- 2Pac used a sample on the song "Tradin War Stories" from his 1996 album All Eyez on Me.
- Rapper Beanie Sigel used a sample for his song "Man's World" from his 2001 album The Reason.
- The song is also sampled on Alicia Keys' song "Fallin'".
- Macy Gray sampled on her song "Ghetto Love" on her album "Big".
- The song is also sampled on Guilty Simpson's song "Man's World" produced by J Dilla.
- The song was most recently[when?] sampled in a live performance by Jennifer Hudson as the prelude to her cover of Aretha Franklin's classic, "Respect".
- The hip hop band Heavy D & the Boyz, sampled the musical introduction as the same on their track "You Ain't Heard Nuttin' Yet" for the album titled Big Tyme.
- Best version by Rachel Ara recorded live at Mas du Diable 2012
|Preceded by||Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single
June 4, 1966 – June 11, 1966 (two weeks)