Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine (4:20)

Cover of The Godfather of Soul

From The Godfather of Soul and 91 other releases

Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine (usually known as just “Sex Machine”) is a funk song recorded by James Brown in 1970 and released as a two-part single on King Records.

“Sex Machine” was one of the first songs Brown recorded with his new band, The J.B.’s. In comparison with his 1960s soul hits such as “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” and “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, it is notable for the de-emphasis of the horn section. Instead, the song centers on the insistent riff played by brothers Bootsy and Catfish Collins on bass and guitar and Jabo Starks on drums, along with the call and response interplay between Brown and fellow Famous Flame Bobby Byrd’s vocals.

The original single version of “Sex Machine” begins with a brief spoken dialogue between Brown and the members of his band, which was recreated (with minor variations) in live performances:

Fellas, I’m ready to get up and do my thing! (Yeah! That’s right! Do it!) I want to get into it, man, you know? (Go ahead! Yeah!) Like a, like a sex machine, man, (Yeah!) movin’, doin’ it, y’know? (Yeah!) Can I count it off? (Okay! Alright!) One, two, three, four!

The song’s freeform lyrics consist mostly of Brown’s exhortations to “Get up / stay on the scene / like a sex machine” along with Byrd’s regular shouts of “Get on up.” The piece is harmonically static, aside from a move to the subdominant on the bridge.

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