If it wasn't for BBC4, music on TV would be a pretty sorry affair of
4music, Later Live... and the occasional bit of festival coverage. We
wouldn't get something like The Night James Brown Saved Boston.
Here's the story - April 5th 1968, the morning after the
assassination of Martin Luther King. The mayor of Boston is about to
cancel a long-scheduled James Brown concert to avoid confrontation,
but after warnings he has a change of heart and asks if there is
'something James Brown can do to help', by accident realising that by
televising the concert they could keep people indoors that night and
prevent widespread rioting.
The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the story, as well as
featuring rarely-seen footage of the concert plus the personal
recollections of James Brown's band members, friends like activist
Reverend Al Sharpton, personal manager Charles Bobbitt, Princeton
University Professor Dr. Cornel West, Boston citizens and those who
attended the concert. The Night James Brown Saved Boston tells the
compelling story of an artist at the absolute peak of his powers
using his artistry for the greater good. Catch it on BBC4 tonight
(Friday 22nd, 9.15pm) or on Saturday 23rd at 12.45am.