'Factor' Flashback: 'Godfather of Soul' talks with Bill

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 26, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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MICHELLE MALKIN, GUEST HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, dies at the age of 73.

The man behind mega hits like "I Feel Good" and "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" didn't go without leaving behind a little controversy. His girlfriend and mother of his 5-year-old son has apparently been locked out of the home they shared in South Carolina. Now it looks like lawyers will be sorting things out.

Mr. James Brown went one-on-one with Mr. Bill O'Reilly back in 1999.


O'REILLY: What's the difference now? I remember you when I was a kid with James Brown and the Flames.

BROWN: That's right.

O'REILLY: I remember you. I was always a big fan.

First of all, how many times you have sang "I Feel Good?" How many times.

BROWN: I don't know how many.

O'REILLY: How many times. Is it a million?

BROWN: I tried to sing it for the Pope. You know, but I...

O'REILLY: Do you get tired of singing that song?

BROWN: No. Because it's like saying thank you. You never get tired of saying thank you.

O'REILLY: Right. So it doesn't bother that the fans are screaming, "Sing 'I Feel Good.' Sing 'Living in America,'" those kinds of things?

BROWN: One of the things that bothers me is I watch the little kids have nothing to do. And it all comes from — and we tried to guide the kids and tell them things to do.

So luckily I run into a song written by a good friend of mine, John Seaton It's on this album called "Peace in the World." And it mentions all the people. The Kennedys and kings.

O'REILLY: So it's a social...

BROWN: Something to get us back, you know? I thank God. I am thankful for everything that's happened to me. But also, I'd like to see kids have a better shot at things and there is no safe place.

O'REILLY: How much do you feel that you're a role model, because you have had problems in your life?

BROWN: Didn't Moses have problems? Everybody has problems.

O'REILLY: Right.

BROWN: A man — did David have problems?

O'REILLY: Did you change your opinion on what kind of role model you are in when you got older? Did you mature?

BROWN: No. I matured in knowing that you've got to work hard and do the same thing I was trying to do.

The first time around, you know, I'm trying to do all these things plus you're trying to get James Brown name known.

O'REILLY: Right.

BROWN: You're trying to eat. I was a janitor. My daddy was a truck stop worker.

O'REILLY: You were a janitor?

BROWN: Right. Nobody went beyond the seventh grade. I went to seventh. He went to second. My mother went to fourth.

So you see, I try to do everything I can, because I don't ever want to go back there.

O'REILLY: Right.

BROWN: I don't want to go back there.

O'REILLY: But you...

BROWN: And I thank you out there because you made it possible.

O'REILLY: Was your lack of education, did that cause you to do some things you shouldn't have done?

BROWN: The lack of education caused me — well, fighting hard caused me to do things you might say I shouldn't have done. If a man is on a battlefield, whatever he does is legal. It's all in war. A struggle. A struggle for decency, integrity, acknowledgment. Struggle for equal opportunity. It's war.


BROWN: Now, I ask the police to step back because so I could get some respect for my own people. Let me tell you. And how we're together in it.


O'REILLY: It wasn't as easy as, you know, James Brown, rock star. You had to work hard for it.

BROWN: That's right. It wasn't easy and where I came from.

O'REILLY: Sure. It's an amazing story, working your way from a janitor to Godfather of Soul. And you're in the Rock Hall of Fame.

BROWN: That's right.

O'REILLY: Now, you're 65 years old. What can't you do? You do the splits and stuff still, right?

BROWN: I do those things I need to. But what I'd rather do is getting across this young lady we found with this amazing voice and fantastic. What I want to see is see more of those people.

I don't worry too much about me. I can do the split if I need to. But I'd rather see a young lady walk out in a beautiful gown that had to work hard 14 years of her life.

O'REILLY: Mentoring people in your group.

BROWN: That's what I want to do. I want to use my life to help other people. Thank God you made it where I can eat and sleep without worrying about where I'm going to get it. That's not all to it. Somebody said, "I'm going help James," and James has got to help somebody else.

O'REILLY: All right.


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