Try Me (James Brown song)

"Try Me", titled "Try Me (I Need You)" in its original release, is a song recorded by James Brown and The Famous Flames in 1958. It was a #1 R&B hit and charted #48 Pop - the group's first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100.[1] It was Brown and the Flames' second charting single, ending a two-year dry spell after the success of "Please, Please, Please".

"Try Me (I Need You)"
Single by James Brown and The Famous Flames
from the album Please Please Please/ Try Me!
B-side"Tell Me What I Did Wrong"
ReleasedOctober 1958 (1958-10)
RecordedSeptember 18, 1958, Beltone Studios, New York, NY
GenreRhythm and blues
Songwriter(s)James Brown
Producer(s)Andy Gibson
James Brown charting singles chronology
"Please, Please, Please"
"Try Me (I Need You)"
"I Want You So Bad"


By 1958 James Brown's career was faltering. After disputes over royalties, songwriting credit, and the indignity of having been relegated to backup singers on the billing of "Please, Please, Please", most of the original Famous Flames (including founder Bobby Byrd) had walked out on him; only Johnny Terry remained. Brown continued to perform with a backing band and a new Flames lineup consisting of members of Little Richard's former vocal group, the Dominions. ("Big Bill" Hollings, Louis Madison, and J.W. Archer).[2] They recorded more songs for Federal Records, but nine of their singles in a row failed to chart.

On the way back to Macon, Georgia after a disappointing West Coast tour, Brown approached his guitar player Bobby Roach with a tune he said he had been given by a patron at the Million Dollar Palms, a Florida nightclub. After Roach crafted a guitar part for "Try Me", Brown and the Flames worked out the vocal harmonies together and cut a demo to send to label head Syd Nathan. Nathan was impressed with it and arranged for a recording session in New York with producer Andy Gibson and a group of seasoned session musicians.[3] Despite the contributions of other people, Brown took the sole writing credit for the song.

In his 1986 autobiography, Brown described "Try Me" as "really a pop tune. I had heard "Raindrops" by Dee Clark and "For Your Precious Love" by Jerry Butler and the Impressions, so I wrote my song to fit between them."[4] However, "Raindrops" was actually released more than two years after "Try Me".


Released in October 1958, the song became their first to crack the R&B charts in three years and their first ever to crack the Billboard Hot 100 after their relative failure of "Please, Please, Please" peaking at number 5 on Billboard's Bubbling Under chart (or #105). The song peaked at number one on the R&B chart in February of 1959 and reached number 48 on the Hot 100.[1][5] The song sold over a million copies and saved the Famous Flames from having their contract dropped due to lack of hits following the original Famous Flames disbanding and Brown's struggles to deal with the group and their performances on the chitlin' circuit. The song was also the best-selling R&B single of 1958,[6][7] and its success gave Brown confidence in his own abilities as a musician and gave him the needs to build his career.[citation needed]

"Try Me" was included on the albums Please Please Please (King, 1958) and Try Me! (King, 1959).


  • James Brown - lead vocal

The Famous Flames

  • Johnny Terry - background vocals
  • Bill Hollings - background vocals
  • J.W. Archer - background vocals
  • Louis Madison - background vocals


Other versionsEdit

"Try Me"
Single by James Brown
from the album Plays James Brown Today and Yesterday
B-side"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"
Released1965 (1965)
GenreRhythm and blues
Songwriter(s)James Brown
Producer(s)James Brown
James Brown charting singles chronology
"Papa's Got a Brand New Bag Part I"
"Try Me"
"I Got You (I Feel Good)"

Brown recorded an instrumental version of "Try Me" for the Smash label in 1965 which charted #34 R&B and #63 Pop in the U.S.

Performances of "Try Me" appear on Live at the Apollo and most of Brown's subsequent live albums. Brown & The Flames recorded a version of "Try Me" with strings for his 1963 album Prisoner of Love.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony member Bizzy Bone sampled this song in his track, "I Need You," released on his album, "A Song For You."


  1. ^ a b White, Cliff (1991). "Discography". In Star Time (pp. 54–59) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.
  2. ^ "Louis Madison : The Fleetingly Famous Flame" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  3. ^ Smith, R.J. (2012). The One: The Life and Music of James Brown, 84-86. New York: Gotham Books.
  4. ^ Brown, James, and Bruce Tucker (1986). James Brown: The Godfather of Soul, 91. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press.
  5. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 83.
  6. ^ Icons of Rock: An Encyclopedia of the Legends who Changed Music Forever. ABC-CLIO. 1 January 2008. ISBN 9780313338458 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "James Brown". Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  8. ^ Leeds, Alan, and Harry Weinger (1991). "Star Time: Song by Song". In Star Time (pp. 46–53) [CD booklet]. New York: PolyGram Records.

External linksEdit