Doing It to Death

Album: Doing It to Death (1973)
Charted: 22
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • The J.B.'s was the name of James Brown's band from 1970 through the early 1980s; they were led by trombonist Fred Wesley. In addition to backing Brown on stage and on record during this era, the J.B.'s also recorded albums and singles on their own in the early 1970s. Credited to "Fred Wesley & the J.B.'s", this song was their biggest hit selling over a one million copies.
  • The song was basically a jam session with a lead vocal by James Brown. Fred Wesley recalled to Uncut in 2017:

    "'Doing it to Death', had (drummer) Jabo's famous shuffle, and Fred Thomas's famous bassline, the same thing over and over. The rest of it was just whatever James called out, whenever he called it out, and we would do it. He'd say, 'Let Fred blow, so I'd blow an impromptu solo right there. Then he said, 'We're going to go to D,' so the whole band went to D. James was leading the way we were following. The band was real tight by that time we could do stuff like that. From D we went back up to F. It was a total jam."
  • The song's title doesn't appear anywhere in the lyrics. "Doing it to Death" came from a figure of speech that James Brown heard Fred Wesley use.
  • "Doing It to Death Parts 1 & 2," a 10-minute, two-part version of the song was included on a J.B.'s album of the same name. The complete nearly 13-minute-long original recording of the tune was first issued on the 1995 J.B.'s compilation Funky Good Time: The Anthology.
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Shaun Morgan of SeetherSongwriter Interviews

Shaun breaks down the Seether songs, including the one about his brother, the one about Ozzy, and the one that may or may not be about his ex-girlfriend Amy Lee.

Loudon Wainwright IIISongwriter Interviews

"Dead Skunk" became a stinker for Loudon when he felt pressure to make another hit - his latest songs deal with mortality, his son Rufus, and picking up poop.

Andy McClusky of OMDSongwriter Interviews

Known in America for the hit "If You Leave," OMD is a huge influence on modern electronic music.

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.

Benny MardonesSongwriter Interviews

His song "Into The Night" is one of the most-played of all time. For Benny, it took him to hell and back.

Is That Song Public Domain?Fact or Fiction

Are classic songs like "Over The Rainbow" and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the public domain?