Born January 6, 1947, in West Memphis, the Browns moved to St. Louis, MO, when Shirley was very young. Cutting her teeth in church, at the age of ten, she earned a reputation in gospel circles throughout the city for delivering powerful solos. In her late teens, she concentrated on secular music and sung with many of the city's soul singers. Her first recordings, produced by Oliver Sain, did nothing nationally but made some noise locally. "I Ain't Gonna Tell" and "Love Is Built On a Strong Foundation" found their way to Memphis R&B stations, giving Brown the impetus, with the help of manager Albert King, to tryout and secured a deal with Stax Records. Brown had the last hit for Stax before the label folded. On November 14, 1974, "Woman to Woman" topped the R&B chart for two weeks.