The Payback is a 1973 double album by James Brown. It was originally scheduled to become the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Hell Up in Harlem, but was rejected by the film's producers, who dismissed it as "the same old James Brown stuff." (A widely repeated story- including by Brown himself- that director Larry Cohen rejected the music as "not funky enough" is denied by Cohen.)[5] It went to #1 on the Soul Albums chart for two weeks and cracked the Pop Albums chart in the Top 40. It was Brown's only album to be certified gold.[6]

The Payback is considered a high point in Brown's recording career, and is now regarded by critics as a landmark funk album. Its revenge-themed title track, a #1 R&B hit, is one of his most famous songs and an especially prolific source of samples for record producers. Musically the album is largely based around cyclic grooves and jamming, but it also features departures into a softer soul-based sound on tracks like "Doing the Best I Can".

The album was reissued on CD in 1992 with liner notes by Alan Leeds.


 [hide*1 Track listing

Track listing[edit]Edit

All songs written and composed by James Brown, Fred Wesley and Charles Bobbit; except where indicated. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "The Payback"   Brown, Wesley, John "Jabo" Starks 7:39
2. "Doing the Best I Can"   7:42
3. "Take Some...Leave Some"   8:33
4. "Shoot Your Shot"   Brown 8:09
5. "Forever Suffering"   5:52
6. "Time Is Running Out Fast"   12:47
7. "Stone to the Bone"   Brown 10:14
8. "Mind Power"   12:04
  • Note: The track time for "Mind Power" is from the 1992 re-release of the album. The original 1973 version is 90 seconds shorter.


Album — Billboard (North America)

Year Chart Position
1974 Billboard's Pop Albums 34

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