This is a discography chronicling the musical career of James Brown. Brown joined Bobby Byrd's vocal group The Flames in 1953, first as a drummer, and then as leading front man. Later becoming The Famous Flames, they signed with Federal Records in 1956 and recorded their first hit single, "Please, Please, Please", which sold over a million copies. Brown was discovered by Famous Flames founder Bobby Byrd, who recruited him for his vocal group.
After the hit release of "Try Me", following nine relative failures, the group scored a series of hit albums and recordings in the early 1960s. Brown's solo aspirations started around 1962. By the time of "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag", he used the Flames less and less as he became a full-fledged solo artist who was now involved in the development of a new R&B subgenre, funk. Eventually the Famous Flames left him in 1968 as did his James Brown band by 1970 and Brown hired The J.B.'s who helped contribute to his continuing success in the 1970s. After their disbanding, Brown struggled for a number of years with recordings before the release of 1985's "Living in America", and having success with the albums Gravity (1986) and I'm Real (1988).
Brown charted at least 96 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 and at least 110 entries on the R&B chart. Seventeen of Brown's singles, including five credited as "James Brown and the Famous Flames", hit number-one on the R&B chart. He recorded several more hits pseudonymously, notably "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes" and "Doing It to Death". In addition to his own hits, Brown wrote and produced charting records by many other performers, including Bobby Byrd, Hank Ballard, Tammy Montgomery, Lyn Collins, Marva Whitney, and The J.B.'s. In contrast to his chart success, few of Brown's hit recordings were certified by the RIAA, partly due to the reluctance of his record labels to pay the required fees. He had just two certified gold singles - "Get on the Good Foot" (1972) and "The Payback" (1974) - and one gold album, 1973's The Payback. However, two 1991 compilations of his work earned RIAA certification: Star Time (gold) and 20 All-Time Greatest Hits! (platinum).