James Brown’s Longtime Emcee and Cape Man, Danny Ray, Dead at 85

Ray joined James Brown’s show in 1960 and remained the late icon’s right-hand-man for the bulk of his career.

James Brown‘s longtime emcee and stage general, Danny Ray, has died. He was 85-years-old.

Ray was perhaps best known for draping the late Godfather of Soul in a flowing sequins cape during the “Please Please Me” segment of Brown’s performance. However, as Brown’s former tour manager, Alan Leeds, notes in his eulogy (read below,) Ray was an integral part of both administrating and cueing the hardest working band in show business, on and off stage.

Ray met Brown in 1960 and remained the icon’s right-hand-man for the bulk of his career and right up until his death in 2006. At Brown’s funeral, Ray draped one last cape across the icon’s casket in a fitting and touching tribute. After Brown’s death, Ray went on to emcee for bassist Christian McBride’s big band show between 2013 and 2018. “He was the last of his kind,” McBride wrote in commemoration on Wednesday.

Danny Ray’s death was announced in a statement from the James Brown estate, confirming his passing was of natural causes.

You can watch Danny Ray and James Brown’s cape ceremony from the famed TAMI show below. Scroll on to read some tributes from peers and fans.

“Greetings and salutations, I’m your writer Alan Leeds and I’d like to say: welcome to the Danny Ray Show! He’s emcee #1…

Posted by Alan Leeds on Wednesday, February 3, 2021


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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