This is a reworking of "I Found You," a song recorded and released by Yvonne Fair and produced by James Brown in 1962. Fair was one of Brown's backup singers on the road.
This is the song that became Brown's signature tune and gave him his famous catch phrase, "I Feel Good."
This song has a very convoluted release history. Brown recorded it in September 1964 and leased it, along with some of his other songs, to Smash Records, who planned to release it as a single but couldn't because Brown's label, King Records, filed a lawsuit. In October 1964, a judge ruled that Smash Records would be allowed to issue only instrumental recordings by Brown, and all masters of vocals by JB would become property of King Records.
The song was pulled, but Brown had already been promoting it: he played it on the road (335 nights a year) and performed it on The T.A.M.I. Show and Shindig, as well as a movie called Ski Party. Brown then recorded a new version of the song in May 1965 at Criteria Studios in Miami, creating the first gold record to come out of Criteria, where the Eagles did Hotel California and Derek and the Dominos did Layla. Released by King Records, it shot to the top of the R&B charts, where it stayed for six weeks, and also went to #3 on the Hot 100, Brown's highest placing on that chart.
The original 1964 version of this song had no guitar. When Brown redid it 1965, he made his screams more pronounced and added some instrumentation, including more sax. Some of the players on the recording were Maceo Parker on sax, his brother Melvin Parker on drums, Nat Jones on organ and Bernard Odum on bass.
This is a great example of a funk song with lyrics supporting the groove. It's not poetry, but Brown's series of single-syllable words are accented to hit the beats and support the song's rhythm.
Some of the movies that used this song include Good Morning, Vietnam, The Nutty Professor, White Men Can't Jump, Undercover Brother and Transformers. TV shows that used it include The Simpsons, Miami Vice and The Cosby Show.
A little chart history on James Brown: He had 16 #1 R&B hits, third to Aretha Franklin (20) and Stevie Wonder (18). On the Billboard
Hot 100, "I Got You (I Feel Good)" was the highest-ranking of Brown's 91 chart entries, 44 of which made the Top 40. His next-highest entry was "Living In America
," which made #4 in 1986. The Godfather of Soul made more Hot 100 visits without a #1 hit than any other artist.