Soul legend James Brown was laid to rest on Saturday (30DEC06) at a public funeral attended by thousands, including pop superstar Michael Jackson. The Godfather Of Soul, who died suddenly on Christmas Day (25DEC06) after contracting pneumonia, lay in an open gold coffin at the James Brown Arena in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia. Jackson kissed Brown's forehead at the event, which was characterised by energetic funk music that had mourners dancing. Describing Brown as "my greatest inspiration", Jackson said, "Ever since I was a small child, no more than like six years old, my mother would wake me no matter what time it was, if I was sleeping, no matter what I was doing, to watch the television to see the master at work. "And when I saw him move, I was mesmerised. I had never seen a performer perform like James Brown, and right then and there I knew that that was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life because of James Brown." The service was the third memorial event in as many days for the 73-year-old PAPA'S GOT A BRAND NEW BAG star. On Friday (29DEC06) around 300 relatives and close friends attended a 90-minute ceremony at a church in North Augusta, South Carolina, and on Thursday (28DEC06) Brown's body was carried in a gold coffin through the streets of Harlem on a horse-drawn carriage to New York's Apollo Theater.