Shirley Brown

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Shirley Brown
Birth nameShirley Brown
Born (1947-01-06) January 6, 1947 (age 75)
OriginWest Memphis, Arkansas, United States
Years active1974–present
LabelsAbet, Stax, Arista, Malaco

Shirley Brown (born January 6, 1947, West Memphis, Arkansas) is an American R&B singer, best known for her million-selling single "Woman to Woman", which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1975.


Brown was born in West Memphis, but was raised in Madison, Illinois, where she started singing in church at the age of nine. Early experience singing gospel gave her a powerful but expressive voice likened to that of Aretha Franklin.[1] Albert King discovered her when she was aged 14, singing in the Harlem Club in Brooklyn, Illinois. Young Shirley went on the road with King for nine years. While King made sure she had a tutor, Brown often cut her classes to work with the band.[1][2][3]

By 1972, Shirley was living in East St. Louis, Illinois, where she made her first record for the Abet label called, "I Ain't Gonna Tell" and "Love Built on a Strong Foundation".[3][4] Bandleader Oliver Sain produced the record; Sain worked with King on his first hit record ten years earlier.[1] By 1974, King recommended Brown to Stax Records in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had been one of the label's stars for some time.[1]

Her 1974 hit, "Woman to Woman" spent two weeks at No. 1 in the Billboard R&B chart[5] and climbed to #22 in the Billboard Hot 100. It sold over one million copies by December 1974, and was awarded a gold disc.[6] It was to prove to be Stax's final major hit record[5] (the song was later covered by Barbara Mandrell in 1978 and became a top-five country hit).

A moderately successful debut album, Woman to Woman, was released by Stax on their Truth label,[7][8] but by 1975, the company was struggling financially and also facing litigation. A follow-up single, "It Ain't No Fun" was only a moderate success, and Stax closed soon afterwards.[5][9]

Her signing to Arista Records in 1977 resulted in the album Shirley Brown, produced by the former Stax owner Jim Stewart and writer-producer Bettye Crutcher, who provided most of the songs. These included "Blessed Is The Woman" which reached No. 14 R&B (#102 pop).[5][10][11]

Brown continued to record for several labels since then, including Fantasy, on the re-formed Stax label, and Sound Town.[11] She has been with the Mississippi based blues label, Malaco Records since 1989.[12] She remains a popular live performer, mainly in southern states of the US, without having found the recording success of her earlier years.[5][13]



Year Title United States R&B US Pop
1974 Woman to Woman 11 98
1977 Shirley Brown - -
1979 For the Real Feeling - -
1984 Intimate Storm - -
1989 Fire & Ice 66 -
1991 Timeless 63 -
1993 Joy and Pain - -
1995 Diva of Soul 67 -
1997 The Soul of a Woman - -
1998 Three Way Love Affair - -
2000 Holding My Own - -
2004 Woman Enough - -
2009 Unleashed - -


Year Title United States R&B US Pop Album
1974 "Woman to Woman" 1 22 Woman to Woman
1975 "It Ain't No Fun" 32 94
1977 "Blessed Is the Woman (With a Man Like Mine)" 14 102 Shirley Brown
1979 "After a Night Like This" 73 - For the Real Feeling
1989 "Ain't Nothin' Like the Lovin' We Got" 46 - Fire & Ice
1995 "You Ain't Woman Enough (To Take My Man)" 80 - Diva of Soul

Grammy Award history[edit]

1975 - Nominated for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance - Female

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Shirley Brown". Reno Tahoe Blues Fest. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Shirley Brown". BlastFromthe Past. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Shirley Brown-Part 1". Soul Express. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  4. ^ "I Ain't Gonna Tell / Love Is Built On A Strong Foundation". Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Shirley Brown". Artist Direct. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  6. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 343. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  7. ^ "Woman to Woman". Discogs. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  8. ^ Callahan, Mike; Edwards, David (March 25, 2002). "Stax-Related Album Discography: Hip/Respect/Koko/Gospel Truth/Truth/We Produce/Partee". Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  9. ^ "Stax History". Soulville USA. Archived from the original on 11 January 2005. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Shirley Brown". Discogs. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  11. ^ a b "Shirley Brown-Part 2". Soul Express. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  12. ^ Pollak, Bill (1998). "Shirley Brown". MusicHound R&B: The Essential Album Guide. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Shirley Brown-Part 3". Soul Express. Retrieved 18 December 2010.

External links[edit]