James Brown in Ontario, 1967


The Godfather of Soul, Soul Brother No. 1, Mr. Please Please Me, Mr. Dynamite, i.e., James Brown, performed at Ontario’s fabled Royal Tahitian nightclub in 1967, down at Whispering Lakes golf course in the dairyland. This show was mentioned in a 2010 column and blog post of mine about the nightclub at the point when the building was due to be torn down. My blog had the above image, from a Royal Tahitian poster. The club, which opened in 1960, closed later in 1967 due to losses.

Recently, reading the booklet for the deluxe edition of James Brown’s “Live at the Apollo Vol. II” (yes, I’m a fan), I spotted the image below, a full itinerary for his 1967 tour, which includes the Ontario show. He played San Diego and Oakland before hitting Ontario for six or more shows — the tour info has him there through July 19, whereas the Tahitian schedule had him leaving July 16 — and then leaving for Las Vegas.

Reader Wendy Wrider left this comment on my original post:

“I was 17 in 1967 when I came down with a group of teenagers from Big Bear Lake to see James Brown. He did all the classic moves, down on his knees, all the capes put on him by the Flame members.”

Imagine seeing James Brown in Ontario, in a 1,000-seat nightclub, six shows daily, each with, as the ad put it, a “cast of 30”!


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  • Bob House

    I saw “Soul Brother Number 1,” “Mr. Sing I’ll Go Crazy,” the hardest working man in show business” at the San Jose Fairgrounds in this era while in college. The room was the size of a small high school gym with a stage. No chairs, plenty of dancing. Always surprised about how simple and innocent entertainment was in those days. As I have mentioned previously on the blog, Jan and Dean performed at my junior high auditorium in the early 60s – each one drove his own car to the gig. Still have my “Live at the Apollo” LP from the 60s. Because I played it constantly at my fraternity, even my ultra white bread, prep school-educated, fraternity brothers went to the show with me.

    • davidallen909

      “Each one drove his own car to the gig” — wow! Yes, simpler times, with fewer handlers, entourages, posses. I envy your seeing Jan and Dean and your seeing James Brown.

  • DebB

    Have you ever notice what a popular name James Brown is? Many famous ones! I found a list on Wikipedia of more than 90 James Browns who have been public figures – entertainers, athletes and sportscasters, politicians, writers, even a mobster! Since my daddy was also a James Brown (and famous to us) I probably notice it more than others would.

    However, the JB in your article was a little bit before my time, so I never really got into him or his music. What I remember more is the SNL version! I notice that at the bottom of the itinerary it says “James Brown (Bethlehem 3089)”. That couldn’t be his phone number, could it? Talk about a simpler time!

    • davidallen909

      I’m guessing that was the number of his management or booking company? As for SNL, if you’re referring to Eddie Murphy-as-JB doing “Hot Tub” (“makes we wet! makes me sweat!”), it’s certainly indelible in my mind!

      And I hope your father was the hardest-working man in whatever field he was in!

  • PC Garcia

    I was in jr hi when we heard that James Brown would be putting in an appearance at De Anza Park (most likely to promote his shows). The park was full of kids wanting to see him and get his autograph. In what appeared to be an impulsive move, he told us to write our own names down instead and give them to his people, and we would be put on a list to get into his show for free. It was an amazing night and a generous gesture I’ll never forget.

    • davidallen909

      Wow! That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing it with us. Was JB the most generous man in show business, too?

  • Suzanne Castillo Devlin

    I was there in Ontario when James Brown performed. I don’t know how many times he appeared there but when I saw the show, they had little tables where one could have cocktails and we had a table directly in front of the stage just a few feet away. I was engaged to Lennis at the time and we went with Tim and his girlfriend. The best show I’ve ever been to…bar none. “Try Me” is my favorite of all his recordings.