James Brown

Get Up Offa That Thing

Song Review by

As the 1970s hit their midway point, James Brown found it harder to score hits due to the rise of disco and its slick, polished sounds. However, Brown refused to give up the fight and still scored hits during this time. He retained his foothold by incorporating elements of disco into his sound without softening its funky drive. A good example of his work from this era is "Get up offa That Thing (Release the Pressure)." This song's strongest disco element is its lyrics: like many a disco epic, it consists of exhortations aimed at making the listener hit the dancefloor: "Get up offa that thing/And dance to you feel better/Get up offa that thing/And try to release that pressure." However, the music is a funkier affair, boasting a rousing melody with a gospel-inspired feel. James Brown's recording of the tune blends the disco and funk elements to powerful effect, utilizing the swooshing, cymbal-heavy drumwork and steady metronomic beat that characterizes the beat, but keeping the song in his funk tradition with swirling clavinet lines and horn blasts. However, it progresses over to pure funk territory as Brown and the band put the song element away to transform "Get up offa That Thing (Release the Pressure)" into a funky jam complete with a"Funky Drummer"-styled drum break. Brown tops the song off by giving it an authoritative lead vocal that makes the song sound more like a command to dance than an invitation and by indulging in some call-and-response vocal interplay with the rest of the band. "Get up offa That Thing (Release the Pressure)" didn't break the Top 40 on the pop charts, but its relentlessly danceable feel made it a Top Ten hit on the R&B charts. It is considered by James Brown fans to be one of the best tracks from his late-'70s era and Brown later performed the song with Dan Ackroyd in his hit 1983 comedy Doctor Detroit.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Papa's Got a Brand New Bag [Polygram] 1965 Special Music 4:10
No Image 1977 Polydor 0:00
Star Time 1991 Polydor 6:14
Spank 1992 Special Music
At Studio 54 1994 Charly Records 6:06
Golden Hits [Intercontinental] 1996 Intercontinental Records 2:16
Overpowered by Funk 1996
Various Artists
Renaissance Records 4:10
Harriet the Spy 1996
Original Soundtrack
Castle Music Ltd. 4:10
James Brown's Golden Classics 1997 Intercontinental Records 2:23
No Image 1997
Original Soundtrack
Golden Hits [Galaxy] 1997 Galaxy Music 2:13
Funky Goodtime 1998 Prism Platinum 2:22
O.G. Funk: Locking, Vol. 1 1998
Various Artists
Eclipse Music Group 4:09
Gold Collection [Fine Tune] 1998 Fine Tune 2:13
Only Soul 1975-1979 1999
Various Artists
JCI Associated Labels 4:09
Prisoner of Love [Madacy] 1999 Madacy 2:09
James Brown/Ray Charles 2000 Platinum Disc 2:08
All Funked Up, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 6:07
The James Brown Collection, Vol. 2 2001 Dressed To Kill 2:16
Best of James Brown [Japan] 2002 Universal Distribution 4:11
The 50th Anniversary Collection 2003 UTV / Polydor / Universal 4:00
Greatest Soul on Earth 2003 Fuel 2000 6:01
Greatest Hits [Collectables] 2004 Universal Special Products / PSM 4:12
Universal Masters 2004 Polydor / Universal Music 4:10
Universal Masters, Vol. 2 2006 Universal International 4:12
Fine Old Foxy Self 2006 UMVD 4:11
Party: 3-CD Box Set 2006
Various Artists
Universal International 4:10
Fine Old Foxy Self: James Brown 1970s 2006 Universal Distribution 4:11
True Disco 2007
Various Artists
Spectrum Music / Universal 4:09
No Image 2009
Gold Classic Hits Radio '70s 2009
Various Artists
Gold Classic Hits Radio / Universal Music 4:11
The Singles, Vol. 11: 1979-1981 2011 Hip-O Select 4:14
I Feel Good: Very Best of James Brown 2013 Universal 4:10
Get on Up: The James Brown Story [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] 2014 Polydor / Universal 4:10
No Image
Various Artists
Universal 4:10
Shaft [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]
Various Artists
WaterTower Music
True Party
Various Artists
Spectrum Music 4:10