12 January 1928, Portsmouth, Virginia, USA, d. 17 November 2006, Henderson, Nevada, USA. Brown started her musical career singing gospel at an early age in the church choir led by her father. In 1948 she was singing with a band led by her husband Jimmy in Washington, DC, when Willis Conover (from the radio show Voice Of America) recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun of the newly formed Atlantic Records. Ertegun signed her, despite competition from Capitol Records, but on the way up to New York for an appearance at the Apollo Theatre, she was involved in a car crash. Hospitalized for nine months, her medical bills were paid by Atlantic and she rewarded them handsomely with her first R&B number 1 hit, Teardrops From My Eyes, in 1950.
Brown became a major figure in 50s R&B, forming a strong link between that music and early rock n roll. Her records were characterized by her rich and expressive singing voice (not unlike...
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