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Thousands Attend Final Public Memorial for James Brown in Georgia


Mourners in the southern U.S. city of Augusta, Georgia are paying their last respects Saturday to the late, legendary singer James Brown.

Augusta was Brown's hometown. Television coverage indicated the nearly 9,000 seat James Brown Arena was full for the memorial service. It began with a video of Brown performing before an audience of screaming fans.

The video showed Brown performing signature numbers "Georgia On My Mind" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)."

People on the street outside the arena could hear the service over a public address system.

The man known as "The Godfather of Soul" died of heart failure on December 25 at the age of 73. Brown's best-known hits include "Please, Please, Please," "Papa's Got a Brand-New Bag," and "Say it Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud."

The civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton conducted a private memorial service for the singer's family on Friday at a Baptist church in Augusta. Sharpton and Brown were longtime friends.

On Thursday, thousands of fans stood in line at the historic Apollo Theater in New York's Harlem neighborhood to say a final goodbye to Brown.

Brown's innovative rhythms and large backup bands were instrumental in creating new genres of American music, including the soul music and funk of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

His signature gospel-style singing and energetic performances earned him the nickname "The Hardest-Working Man in Show Business."

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