Doing it to death

This article is about the song. For the album by The J.B.'s, see Doing It to Death (album).
"Doing It to Death"
B-side "Everybody Got Soul"
Released April 1973 (1973-04)
Format 7"
Recorded January 29, 1973, International Studios, Augusta, GA
Genre Funk

  • 5:05
  • 10:01 (album version)
Label People
Writer(s) James Brown
Producer James Brown

"Doing It to Death", also known as "Gonna Have a Funky Good Time", is a funk song recorded by The J.B.'s featuring James Brown. It was released as a single in 1973 and peaked at number one on the soul singles chart and number twenty-two on the Hot 100.[1] Although the song has a lead vocal by Brown (who also wrote the tune and the lyrics), the recording is credited to "Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s". It was the first J.B.'s recording to feature saxophonist Maceo Parker, who had returned to work with Brown again after attempting a career as a bandleader.

"Doing It to Death" contains an uncommon key change in which Brown tells the band to modulate downward from F to D ("In order for me to get down, I have to get down in D"). Composers who place key changes in tunes typically have them modulate upwards. Unusually for a James Brown song, the actual words "doing it to death" appear nowhere in the song's lyrics, which feature the hook "we're gonna have a funky good time." The title came from a figure of speech Brown heard Wesley use.

A 10-minute, two-part version of "Doing It to Death" was included on a J.B.'s album of the same name. The complete, unedited and nearly 13-minute long original recording of the song was first issued on the 1995 J.B.'s compilation Funky Good Time: The Anthology. Performances of the song also appear on the albums Live at Chastain Park and Live at the Apollo 1995.


  • James Brown - lead vocal

with Fred Wesley & The J.B.'s:

Preceded by
"One of a Kind (Love Affair)" by The Spinners
Billboard's Best Selling Soul number one single
July 7, 1973 - July 14, 1973
Succeeded by
"I Believe in You (You Believe in Me)" by Johnnie Taylor