The Soulful Story of Shirley Brown: From Stax Records to Iconic Hits and Beyond


Shirley Brown is widely known as one of the most soulful singers of her time. Her music career started in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that she became a household name. Shirley was best known for her hit single “Woman to Woman,” which was released in 1974. She was highly respected for her emotive vocals and her ability to bring depth and soul to every song she sang. In this blog post, we take a closer look at the life and legacy of Shirley Brown.

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Early Years and Career

Shirley Brown was born on January 6, 1947, in West Memphis, Arkansas. She was raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where she began her singing career in the church choir. In 1966, she moved to Los Angeles, where she recorded “I Ain’t Gonna Tell” for Gamble Records. The song did not become a hit, and Shirley returned to St. Louis, where she met songwriter and producer Donald Bryant.

Bryant and Stax Records

Donald Bryant introduced Shirley Brown to Stax Records, one of the most prominent record labels of the time. Shirley signed with Stax Records in 1971, and her first single, “Love on a Two-Way Street,” was a minor hit. It was her next single, “Woman to Woman,” that really put her on the map. The song was her first and only number-one hit, and it earned her a gold record.

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Iconic Hits and Beyond

After the success of “Woman to Woman,” Shirley Brown continued to release popular songs. Her other hits include “It Ain’t No Fun,” “Yes Sir, Brother,” and “Why You Wanna Love Me Like That.” She also continued to collaborate with Donald Bryant, who wrote many of her songs. Shirley later signed with Arista Records and released a few albums that did not perform as well as her earlier work.

Personal Life and Legacy

Shirley Brown was married to musician Harold Brown and had several children. She retired from music in the 1990s and became a minister. Shirley’s impact on the music industry was significant, and she paved the way for many female R&B singers. Her soulful style, honest lyrics, and emotive vocals continue to inspire new generations of musicians.

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Q1: What was Shirley Brown’s most famous hit?

A1: Shirley Brown’s most famous hit was “Woman to Woman,” which was released in 1974.

Q2: Where did Shirley Brown grow up?

A2: Shirley Brown grew up in St. Louis, Missouri.

Q3: Who wrote Shirley Brown’s hit song “Woman to Woman”?

A3: The song “Woman to Woman” was written by James Banks, Eddie Marion, and Henderson Thigpen.

Q4: Did Shirley Brown have any children?

A4: Yes, Shirley Brown had several children.

Q5: Who did Shirley Brown collaborate with on many of her songs?

A5: Shirley Brown collaborated with songwriter and producer Donald Bryant on many of her songs.

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Q6: Did Shirley Brown ever win any awards for her music?

A6: Shirley Brown did not win any awards for her music, but she was highly respected and influential in the music industry.

Q7: What did Shirley Brown do after she retired from music?

A7: Shirley Brown retired from music and became a minister.


Shirley Brown’s soulful style and emotive vocals made her a highly respected and influential singer. Her hit song “Woman to Woman” remains a classic and continues to inspire new generations of musicians. Shirley’s personal life and career have left a lasting impact on the music industry, and she will always be remembered as one of the greats. We thank Shirley for her contributions to the world of music and wish her continued success in all her future endeavors.

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