James Brown is born in South Carolina on May 3.
Moves into his Aunt Honey's house, a brothel, at 944 Twiggs Street in Augusta, Georgia.
Taught "some piano" by a neighborhood friend, Robert Graham, Jr.
Enters the amateur night competition at Lenox Theater and wins first prize.
Caught breaking into cars in Augusta, Georgia, he is sentenced to eight to 16 years' hard labor. Forms a gospel quartet while in prison.
Paroled early for good behavior on June 14. Works at Lawson Motors and moves in with the Byrd family temporarily.
Joins Bobby Bryd's musical group, later named the Famous Flames. A King Records talent scout hears their song demo. Marries Velma Warren in June.
"Please Please Please" is released on Federal Records in March; it eventually sells over a million copies.
His manager, Ben Bart, renames the group James Brown and the Famous Flames.
Single "Try Me" is released in October; it reaches number one on the R and B charts.
First performs at the Apollo Theatre on April 24. The album TRY ME is released. Dubbed "the hardest-working man in show business" by "Fats" Gonder.
AMERICAN BANDSTAND marks his first appearance on national TV.
LIVE AT THE APOLLO and PRISONER OF LOVE are released; the single, "Prisoner of Love," reaches the top 20 on the pop charts.
"Out of Sight" is recorded in June and becomes one of his biggest hits. Performs on THE T.A.M.I. SHOW in November and outshines the Rolling Stones.
Records "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag"; signs a new contact with King Records in the summer.
Releases "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and "Don't Be a Drop-Out." Performs on the ED SULLIVAN SHOW and at a benefit concert for the "March Against Fear."
Album COLD SWEAT is released in July.
Buys his first radio station. Manager Ben Bart dies. Performs for the troops in Vietnam. "Say It Loud -- I'm Black and I'm Proud" becomes a million-seller.
"Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" released. Opens two Gold Platter restaurants. Performs at the Newport Jazz Festival in July. Velma and he divorce.
Album SEX MACHINE released in September; disputes over money cause many band members to leave. Marries his second wife, Deirdre Jenkins.
Fred Wesley becomes his band leader. Signs with Polydor Records when King Records is sold to them. "Hot Pants" is released in July.
"Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing," "King Heroin," and "Get on the Good Foot" are released. Endorses the reelection of President Nixon.
His son, Teddy, dies in a car crash on June 14. IRS claims he owes $4.5 million in back taxes for 1969 and 1970.
Goes to Zaire for the music festival that coincides with the Ali-Foreman fight; releases "Funky President (People It's Bad)" about President Ford.
His wife Deirdre leaves him.
Plays a preacher in the film THE BLUES BROTHERS.
Records "Unity" with Afrika Bambaataa. Marries his third wife, Adrienne Rodriguez.
Has a hit single with "Living in America" from ROCKY IV.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Arrested on drug charges and for assaulting his wife; involved in a police chase from Georgia to South Carolina; sentenced to prison.
Paroled from prison on February 27.
His wife Adrienne dies following plastic surgery.
Marries Tomi Rae Hynie, a backup singer in his band, and they have a son, James Brown II.