James Brown – It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

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There’s a reason the late great musician James Brown is being honored as the “Godfather of Soul”. This reason being songs like “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”. The song is one of the most famous tracks in Brown’s vast catalog over the course of 50 years of his career and a mandatory act in his concerts.

The original 2min 52sec version of the song was released on February 16, 1966 and managed to transcend soul music through generations into the future. The song also ranked # 1 on the Billboard R&B chart and # 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

James Brown and Betty Jean Newsome wrote the lyrics for this ballad. Betty Jean is also a former lover of James Brown.

“It’s a world of men, of men” is it sexist?

If you don’t hear the whole song or even the whole chorus for that matter, one can easily jump to the conclusion that “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” is a song about male domination. While some statistics are in favor of the song title, James Brown completely overturns the idea of ​​the song title. The idea behind the song is that no matter how many great things men have done and accomplished over time, a man is nothing without his wife.

Listen to “It’s a World of Men and Men” by James Brown

Lyrics review and meaning of the song “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”


“It’s a man’s world” the lyrics are repeated twice on the chorus as if to make a certain point. James Brown wants to stress the importance of the man’s wife by reinforcing the above words. The higher the accumulation, the harder the fall.

It is not a fiction that some of the greatest male figures in history had equally tall or even taller women behind their success. James Brown builds this case pretty well throughout the song.

Verse 1

James Brown doesn’t just say “It’s a man’s world. “But he also brings some real-world examples. He brings four examples of inventions made by men, just to prepare for the eventual downfall.

The four examples with their honored male figures are listed below;

  1. “the man made the cars” – Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is credited with the first mechanical vehicle in 1769.
  2. “The man made the train” – Richard Trevithick, British mechanical engineer and inventor, is considered the builder of the first train in 1803.
  3. “Man made electric light” – English chemist Humphry Davy developed the first incandescent light in 1802.
  4. “The man made the boat for the water” – there is no written record of a person accredited for the invention of the boat, except for Noah’s ark as found in the Bible.
Verse 2

In the second verse of the song, there is a sudden change in the theme of the track. While the first verse was devoted to praising the various inventions of man throughout history, we are now brought back to the world of the general population. Here, a man earns a living and provides for his family. He does this happily, knowing that he is working hard to protect and support what he loves most – his family – his baby girl, his boy and his wife. Because they give him back the things he values ​​above all, happiness and love!


From the outro, James Brown fulfills his duty to make everyone understand that a man is nothing without his wife. You could be the best inventor in the world or the holder of the most patents. But if you hadn’t witnessed a woman’s love her life would have been a failure. The man could have won the world’s most prestigious award, but his life is incomplete without winning a woman’s heart!

James Brown compares a man without a woman’s love to a man “Lost in the desert”, “lost in bitterness” and “lost in loneliness.”

So the whole buildup of the song was tweaked and turned around at the end to emphasize that “a man is nothing without his wife”.

Let us hear what you think of James Brown’s “It’s a Men’s World” in the comments below.

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