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The Famous Flames


1933

James Brown is born in Barnwell, South Carolina. He will be raised in Augusta, Georgia, 40 miles away.

1934

Robert Howard "Bobby" Byrd, singer and pianist with the Famous Flames, is born in Toccoa, Georgia.

1938

Bobby Bennett of the Famous Flames is born.

1942

Eugene "Baby Lloyd" Stallworth of the Famous Flames is born.

1952

James Brown and Bobby Byrd meet during a baseball game at the Georgia reformatory where Brown is serving time for armed robbery.

1953

Brown joins the Gospel Starlighters, a vocal quartet led by Bobby Byrd, after being paroled. The group will change its focus from gospel to R&B and its name to the Famous Flames, and Brown becomes the focal point.

1955

The Famous Flames make their first recording of "Please Please Please" at radio station WIBB in Macon, Georgia.

1956

Producer and talent scout Ralph BAss travels to Macon to sign James Brown to King Records. He will record for both King and its Federal subsidiary label.

1956

James Brown and the Famous Flames cut "Please Please Please" at King's studio in Cinncinnati, Ohio backed by the label's house band. It will reach #5 on the R&B chart.

1957

The Famous Flames leave James Brown over his dominance over the act, their relegation to backup singers and the general lack of success.

1957

After Little Richard quits rock and roll, James Brown recruits his backup singers (the Dominions) to replace the Famous Flames. He also hires members of the Upsetters, Little Richard's band.

1958

James Brown and the Famous Flames' first #1 hit, "Try Me," is released. It is the best-selling R&B single of 1958 and the first of 17 chart-topping R&B singles by Brown.

1959

James Brown and the Famous Flames record "Bewildered," which will become a Top 10 R&B hit two years later. With Bobby Byrd and Johnny Terry on board, the Famous Flames appear to be stabilizing after the turmoil of 1957.

1959

James Brown and the Famous Flames make their first appearance at New York's Apollo Theatre. The headliner is Little Willie John.

1959

James Brown and the Famous Flames record "Good Good Lovin'," a non-charting single notable for its inclusion of the recently solidified and definitive lineup of Famous Flames- Bobby Byrd, Johnny Terry, Lloyd Stallworth and Bobby Bennett- backing vocals.

1962

The midnight show on this evening during James Brown and the Famous Flames' seven-night stand at New York's Apollo Theatre is taped and released as Live at the Apollo.

1964

James Brown and the Famous Flames record "Maybe the Last Time." Released as the B side of "Out of Sight," it is the Famous Flames' last studio recording with Brown.

1964

The T.A.M.I. show concerts, including James Brown's famous sequence, are filmed at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. The documentary appears in theaters in December.

1968

The Famous Flames leave James Brown in a dispute over money. ONly Bobby Byrd will return to work with Brown again.

1970

"I Need Help (I Can't Do It Alone)," by Bobby Byrd of the FAmous Flames, enters the R&B chart, where it will peak at #14. It is the biggest of Byrd's nine solo R&B hits.

1971

"I Know You Got Soul," by Bobby Byrd of the Famous Flames, enters the R&B chart, where it will peak at #30. The song will be heavily sampled during the hip-hop era.

1986

James Brown is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the first induction ceremony, held in New York City.

2001

Lloyd Stallworth of the Famous Flames dies.

2006

James Brown dies of congestive heart failure caused by complications of pneumonia at a hospital in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia.

2007

Bobby Byrd, James Brown's longtime associate and member of the Famous Flames, dies of cancer in Loganville, Georgia. He is 73 years old.

2010

The T.A.M.I. Show a 1964 concert revue featuring a historic performance by James Brown and the Famous Flames- is released on DVD.

2012

The Famous Flames are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 27th annual induction ceremony. Smokey Robinson is their presenter.

The Famous Flames