James Brown - It's a Man's Man's Man's World - 1966


James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is a classic soul song released in 1966. This song, known for its distinctive style and powerful lyrics, has made a significant impact on music history. In this aiMOOC, you'll delve into the song's background, its lyrical content, and the legacy of James Brown himself. Let's explore the world of this iconic track!

Background of the Song

James Brown, often referred to as the "Godfather of Soul," released "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" in 1966. This song is a perfect blend of soul and rhythm and blues, showcasing Brown's unique vocal style and dramatic delivery. It was recorded with a live band, featuring a prominent string section, which was unusual for soul music of that time. The song's distinct sound can be attributed to Brown's incredible energy and performance style. It quickly rose to fame, becoming one of his most recognizable hits.

  1. James Brown's Career
  2. Soul Music in the 1960s
  3. Rhythm and Blues Influence

Lyrics and Themes

The lyrics of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" reflect on the contributions of men to society and the world. However, it also acknowledges the essential role of women, famously concluding with the line, "But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl." This line signifies the song's deeper message about gender roles and interdependence. The lyrics are a powerful expression of the complexities of gender relations, especially in the context of the 1960s.

  1. Gender Roles in 1960s Music
  2. Analyzing Song Lyrics
  3. 1960s Social Movements

James Brown's Influence

James Brown's influence on music extends far beyond this song. Known for his dynamic stage presence and innovative music style, he played a crucial role in the development of several music genres, including funk and soul. His work has inspired countless artists and continues to be relevant in contemporary music culture.

  1. The Emergence of Funk
  2. Influential Music Icons
  3. Contemporary Music Influenced by James Brown

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" released? (1966) (!1970) (!1962) (!1969)

Which musical elements are particularly notable in this song? (Prominent string section and live band) (!Electronic synthesizers) (!Heavy guitar solos) (!Minimalist percussion)

What is the song's main theme? (The contributions of men to society and the essential role of women) (!The rise of technology in the modern world) (!The struggles of working-class Americans) (!The civil rights movement)

How did the song perform commercially upon its release? (It became one of James Brown's most recognizable hits) (!It was a commercial failure initially) (!It gained popularity only years after its release) (!It was moderately successful but overshadowed by other hits)

What was unusual about the song's recording for its time? (It was recorded with a live band and prominent string section) (!It was recorded in a single take) (!It used experimental electronic equipment) (!It was recorded outside of a traditional studio)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

What nickname is James Brown often known by? ("Godfather of Soul") (!"King of Pop") (!"Sultan of Swing") (!"Duke of Dance")

Besides soul, which genre is James Brown credited with influencing significantly? (Funk) (!Rock) (!Jazz) (!Country)

In which area was James Brown known to be particularly dynamic? (Stage presence and performance) (!Songwriting) (!Instrumental expertise) (!Film acting)

What is a key feature of James Brown's vocal style? (Powerful and dramatic delivery) (!Whispering tones) (!Operatic range) (!Vocal distortion effects)

How did James Brown impact future music artists? (Inspired countless artists across various genres) (!Introduced electronic music to mainstream) (!Pioneered music video production) (!Focused on instrumental music)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

How do the lyrics conclude, acknowledging the role of women? ("But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl") (!"And the world is in her hands") (!"She is the heart of every land") (!"Behind every man, there's a woman's plan")

What is a key theme in the lyrics of the song? (Gender roles and interdependence) (!Political activism) (!Personal struggles and triumphs) (!Love and romance)

Which line from the song emphasizes the creation and innovation by men? ("Man made the cars to take us over the road") (!"Man dreams of flying high above the sky") (!"Man writes the songs that everyone sings") (!"Man builds the bridges that span the sea")

What is the song's perspective on the contributions of men? (It highlights their significant contributions but emphasizes the need for women) (!It glorifies men's achievements without mentioning women) (!It criticizes men for their actions) (!It is neutral, focusing only on historical facts)

Which of the following is not a focus of the song's lyrics? (Technological advancement in the modern era) (!The role of men in building society) (!The essential nature of women's presence) (!The contributions of men to various aspects of life)


James Brown Godfather of Soul
1966 Release Year of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World"
String Section Unique Musical Element in the Song
Gender Roles Key Theme in the Lyrics
Funk Music Genre Influenced by James Brown

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of songs from the 1960s that reflect similar themes to "It's a Man's Man's Man's World".
  2. Research Musicians: Research other influential musicians from the 1960s and create a short biography for one of them.
  3. Song Analysis: Analyze the lyrics of another James Brown song and discuss its themes and message.


  1. Music Genre Evolution: Investigate how soul and funk music evolved during the 1960s and present your findings.
  2. Write a Song: Write your own song inspired by the themes and style of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World".
  3. Interview Project: Conduct interviews with people who lived during the 1960s to understand their perspective on music's impact during that era.


  1. Music and Social Movements: Explore how music, like James Brown's, influenced or reflected the social movements of the 1960s.
  2. Perform a Cover: Create a cover version of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World", adding your own unique twist to the song.
  3. Music Video Creation: Develop a music video that captures the essence and message of "It's a Man's Man's Man's World".

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Oral Exam

  1. Connections Between Music and Society: Discuss how James Brown's music, particularly "It's a Man's Man's Man's World", reflects the societal attitudes and issues of the 1960s.
  2. Influence on Future Generations: Explore how James Brown's music has influenced modern musicians and music genres.
  3. Interpretation of Lyrics: Provide your interpretation of the song's lyrics and discuss its relevance in today's context.
  4. Music and Gender Roles: Examine how the song addresses gender roles and compare it to current views on gender.
  5. Performance Style: Discuss the importance of performance style in soul music, using James Brown as an example.

OERs on the Topic


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