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Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown dies at 81

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This is from Fox News Entertainment.

The world of Country Music mourns the passing of one of the legends of Country Music Jim Ed Brown.

Jim Ed and his sisters, Bonnie and Maxine recorded one of my favorite sons The Three Bells.

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Jim Ed, Bonnie and Maxine Brown image credit www.cmt.com

 

Jim Ed Brown, a longtime Grand Ole Opry member who had solo and group hits and was a prominent figure on country music television shows, died Thursday. He was 81.

Brown died of cancer at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee, according to a news release from Webster Public Relations. He will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year.

In the mid-1950s, Brown and his two sisters, Bonnie and Maxie, formed the trio known as The Browns, and had the No. 1 hit “The Three Bells” on both the pop and country charts in 1959. The three recorded for RCA Records from 1954 to 1967.

Bonnie and Maxine left the group in the mid-1960s to raise their families. Jim Ed Brown then had a solo career, beginning with the hit “Pop-A-Top Again” in 1967. Others were “Morning” in 1970 and “Southern Living” in 1973. His last chart record as a solo was in 1979.

Also in the 1970s, he teamed up with Helen Cornelius on hits including “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You,” ”Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye” (both in 1976); “Lying in Love With You” (1979); “Fools” (1979); and “Don’t Bother to Knock” (1981).

They were voted the Country Music Association’s duo of the year in 1977.

 Brown also was a prominent figure on country music television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. Beginning in 1975, he began a six-season run as co-host, with Jerry Clower, of the syndicated weekly TV show “Nashville on the Road.”

And Brown hosted “You Can Be a Star” on the old Nashville Network cable channel for six years beginning in 1983.

He sang regularly on the Grand Ole Opry, a live radio show, beginning in 1963.

Brown, a native of Sparkman, Arkansas, lived in his early years on a farm, without electricity or running water, according to his public relations firm. The family would use a battery-operated radio to tune in to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday nights, and he began to mimic the vocal styles of its stars, the publicist said.

In 1986, Brown reflected on the years when he sang with his sisters.

“We lived way back in the sticks of Arkansas,” he said in an Associated Press interview. “For three kids who lived so far back to be able to get on the Grand Ole Opry, it was a dream of thousands of people. America has always been open to someone new.”

He said “The Three Bells” gave listeners something different during the early days of rock ‘n’ roll.

“Jerry Lee Lewis and Fabian were strong then and so were all the teen idols. ‘The Three Bells’ was a break from that. It was the synopsis of a man’s life. People still enjoy hearing it and cry when they listen to it.”

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Little Jimmy Dickens, Oldest Grand Ole Opry Castmember, Dies at 94

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This is from Yahoo News.

I grew up listening to Little Jimmy Dickens.

A little piece of me died with Jimmy.

 

Little Jimmy Dickens, Country Legend, Dead at 94 After Stroke

 

Little Jimmy Dickens, a diminutive singer-songwriter who was the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. He was 94.

 Dickens died Friday at a Nashville-area hospital of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day, Opry spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt said.

Dickens, who stood 4-foot-11, had performed on the Opry almost continuously since 1948. His last performance was Dec. 20 as part of his birthday celebration. He turned 94 a day earlier.

“The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come.”

Country legend Hank Williams Sr. nicknamed him “Tater” based on Dickens’ song “Take an Old ColdTater (And Wait).”

His novelty songs, including his biggest hit “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose” about good and bad luck, earned him a spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983.

It crossed over from a country hit to become a hit on the pop charts – a rarity in those days – with its rollicking chorus: “May the bird of paradise fly up your nose; May an elephant caress you with its toes; May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose; May the bird of paradise fly up your nose.”

Dickens said in a 2009 Associated Press interview that his first impression of the song was “it was a nice piece of material to inject in my show. Then I went to Vietnam (to perform) for two months and when I got home it was my pay: a No. 1 song.”

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The guitarist made more than a dozen trips to perform in Europe and entertained troops in Vietnam three times.

His other hits included “A-Sleepin’ at the Foot of the Bed,” “Out Behind the Barn,” “Country Boy” and “I’m Little But I’m Loud.”

He is credited with introducing rhinestone suits to country music around 1950, taking a suggestion from Los Angeles clothing designer Nudie.

“He said that when the lights hit them, the audience would go `Wow,’ ” Dickens recalled in the 2009 interview. “He was 100 percent right.”

Dickens was born in Bolt, West Virginia, the 13th and youngest child in a coal-mining family. Coal mining was the main industry in his area, but it wasn’t for him.

“I wouldn’t have worked the mines. I wasn’t large enough,” he once said.

One of his first jobs was crowing like a rooster on a radio station in Beckley, West Virginia, to begin the station’s broadcasting for the day.

“I was not paid for it. I was just hanging around and they let me do that. I did it for a year or so, then eventually I worked my way to doing a song,” he said.

Before becoming a nationally known country singer, he worked at radio stations in Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Topeka, Kansas; and Saginaw, Michigan.

Dickens said in 2009 that he’d never been self-conscious about his height.

“It’s been very good for me. I’ve made fun of it, and get a laugh here and there,” he said.

In October 2008, Dickens energetically got on a step ladder on the Opry stage to get eye level with 6-foot-6 country singer Trace Adkins.

“You’re so tall, if you fell down, you’d be halfway home when you got up,” Dickens told him.

Dickens had surgery Jan. 13, 2009, to repair a subdural hematoma, a form of brain injury. He spent a week in a hospital, then went to a rehab center, but resumed performing in late February 2009.

He was treated at the Mayo Clinic and Vanderbilt Medical Center in 2008 for a bloodstream infection and urinary tract infection. He was hospitalized for pneumonia in December 2004.

His Opry performances in 2009 were sprinkled with humor about his age: “You know you’re 88 when you see a pretty girl in a bikini and your Pacemaker makes the garage door go up.”

Country singer George Hamilton IV, 77, dies

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This is from CNN.

Another Country Music Legend has left us.

R. I. P. George Hamilton lV Gods Speed.

 

(CNN) — Singer George Hamilton IV, known as the “International Ambassador of Country Music,” has died at a Nashville hospital following a heart attack, the Grand Ole Opry said in a press release. He was 77.

Hamilton’s biggest hit was “Abilene,” which reached No. 1 on the country charts in 1963 and returned him to the pop charts, the Opry said. His other country hits were “Before This Day Ends,” “Three Steps to the Phone” and “If You Don’t Know, I Ain’t Gonna Tell You.”

Hamilton performed around the world and became the first American country singer to appear in the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia and was the first to record a studio album in Eastern Europe, the Grand Ole Opry said.

George Hamilton IV in concert on October 17, 1971.
George Hamilton IV in concert on October 17, 1971.

He performed extensively in Canada and recorded songs by Canadian songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot.

Hamilton started out as a pop singer and had a million-selling hit “A Rose and a Baby Ruth” in 1956 before switching to country. He’d been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1960.

The singer was not related to actor George Hamilton.

The North Carolina native died Wednesday Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

61 Years Ago Today

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61 Yeas ago today Hiram King (Hank) Williams Sr. passed from Country Music Star

into the realm of Country Music Super Star.

Hank began this  journey on Monday September 17, 1923  Mount Olive, Alabama.

Hanks family moved to Gerorgianna, Alabama where Hank met a black street singer named

Rufus “Tee Tot“Payne.

Tee Tot gave you Hank guitar lessons for money or food.

Tee Tot had a great influence on the Hanks music style in later years.

Hiram unofficially changed his name to Hank because it’s a better fitting name for Country Music.

Hank moved to Montgomery, Alabama he got a job at WSFA Radio 1937  Hank was billed as the

Singing Kid it was a fifteen minute show that started  his music career.

After recording “Never Again” and “Honky Tonkin'” with Sterling Records, he signed a contract with MGM Records. In 1948 he released “Move it on Over“, which became a hit, and also joined the Louisiana Hayride radio program. One year later, he released a cover of “Lovesick Blues“, which carried him into the mainstream of music. After an initial rejection, Williams joined the Grand Ole Opry. He had 11 number one songs between 1948 and 1953, though he was unable to read or notate music to any significant degree. Among the hits he wrote were “Your Cheatin’ Heart“, “Hey, Good Lookin’“, and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry“.

Several years of back pain, alcoholism and prescription drug abuse severely deteriorated Williams’s health; he divorced Audrey and was dismissed by the Grand Ole Opry, citing unreliability and frequent drunkenness. 

Williams was scheduled to perform at the Municipal Auditorium in Charleston, West Virginia on Wednesday December 31, 1952. Advance ticket sales totaled US$3,500. That day, because of an ice storm in the Nashville area, Williams could not fly, so he hired a college student, Charles Carr, to drive him to the concerts. Carr called the Charleston auditorium from Knoxville to say that Williams would not arrive on time owing to the ice storm and was ordered to drive Williams to Canton, Ohio, for the New Year’s Day concert there.[57]

They arrived at the Andrew Johnson Hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Carr requested a doctor for Williams, as he was feeling the combination of the chloral hydrate and alcohol he had drunk on the way from Montgomery to Knoxville.[58] Dr. P.H. Cardwell injected Williams with two shots of vitamin B12 that also contained a quarter-grain of morphine. Carr and Williams checked out of the hotel, the porters had to carry Williams to the car, as he was coughing and hiccuping.[59] At around midnight on Thursday January 1, 1953, when they crossed the Tennessee state line and arrived in Bristol, Virginia, Carr stopped at a small all-night restaurant and asked Williams if he wanted to eat. Williams said he did not, and those are believed to be his last words.[60] Carr later drove on until he stopped for fuel at a gas station in Oak Hill, West Virginia, where he realized that Williams was dead. The filling station’s owner called the chief of the local police.[61] In Williams’ Cadillac the police found some empty beer cans and unfinished handwritten lyrics.

Country music singer Jack Greene dies at age 83

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This is from Yahoo News.

Country Music is headed to Hill Billy Heaven. 

Jack has joined many Country Legends as,Johnny Cash,

Grand Pa Jones,Hank Snow,Hank Williams Sr.

(Reuters) – Country musician Jack Greene, a veteran star of the Grand Ole Opry, died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 83, the Nashville, Tennessee, music hall said on Friday.

Greene, who was best known for his smooth voice and 1966 song “There Goes My Everything,” died in his sleep at his home in the capital of country music, the Grand Ole Opry said in a statement.

Known as the “Jolly Green Giant,” Greene became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1967, a sign of elite status in the industry, regularly performing at the stage’s weekly country music performances.

Green was born in Maryville, Tennessee, and got his first big break in his country music career in 1962 as the drummer for Ernest Tubb’s band, The Texas Troubadours, later also serving as the band’s opening act. He released his first solo single, “The Last Letter,” in 1964.

The singer scored his first hit in 1966 with “Ever Since My Baby Went Away” and his 1966 album “There Goes My Everything” was the top country album for an entire year.

His biggest hit from the album, the song “There Goes My Everything,” helped Greene sweep the first Country Music Association Awards in 1967, winning male vocalist of the year, single of the year and album of the year and song of the year.

“There Goes My Everything” has been covered more than 100 times, most notably by Engelbert Humperdinck and Elvis Presley. Humperdinck’s version reached No. 2 on the UK charts.

Greene released about a dozen albums between 1966 and 1973, his most productive period. Greene topped the U.S. country song charts nine times and the album chart twice.

Funeral arrangement have not yet been made, the Grand Ole Opry said.

Country music superstar Kitty Wells dies at 92

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This is from Fox News Entertainment.

Kitty Wells was beyond a doubt one of the Queens for country music.

Kitty’s style and energy will be sorely missed.

R.I.P. Kitty. I am adding a link to her signature song.

It wasn’t God who made honky tonk Angels.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  Singer Kitty Wells, whose hits such as “Making Believe” and “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” made her the first female superstar of country music, died Monday. She was 92.

The singer’s family said she died peacefully at home after complications from a stroke.

Her solo recording career lasted from 1952 to the late 1970s and she made concert tours from the late 1930s until 2000. That year, she announced she was quitting the road, although she performed occasionally in Nashville and elsewhere afterward.

Her “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” in 1952 was the first No. 1 hit by a woman soloist on the country music charts and dashed the notion that women couldn’t be headliners. Billboard magazine had been charting country singles for about eight years at that time.

She recorded approximately 50 albums, had 25 Top 10 country hits and went around the world several times. From 1953 to 1968, various polls listed Wells as the No. 1 female country singer. Tammy Wynette finally dethroned her.

In 1976, she was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and 10 years later received the Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music. In 1991 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences — the group that presents the Grammy Awards.

Her 1955 hit “Making Believe” was on the movie soundtrack of “Mississippi Burning” that was released 33 years later. Among her other hits were “The Things I Might Have Been,” “Release Me,” “Amigo’s Guitar,” “Heartbreak USA,” “Left to Right” and a version of “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

In 1989, Wells collaborated with Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn and k.d. lang on the record “The Honky Tonk Angels Medley.”

“I never really thought about being a pioneer,” she said in an Associated Press interview in 2008. “I loved doing what I was doing.”

Her songs tended to treasure devotion and home life, with titles like “Searching (For Someone Like You)” and “Three Ways (To Love You).” But her “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” gave the woman’s point of view about the wild side of life.

The song was written by J.D. Miller as a retort to Hank Thompson’s 1952 hit, “The Wild Side of Life.”

The chorus to Thompson’s record was:

“I didn’t know God made honky-tonk angels

“I might have known you’d never make a wife —

“But you gave up the only one that ever loved you

“And went back to the wild side of life.”

In his response, Miller wrote:

“It wasn’t God who made honky-tonk angels,

“As you said in the words of your song,

“Too many times married men think they’re still single,

“That has caused many a good girl to go wrong.

“It’s a shame that all blame is on us women ….”

The song opened the way for women to present their view of life and love in country music. It also encouraged Nashville songwriters to begin writing from a woman’s perspective.

The song was controversial enough that the Grand Ole Opry asked Wells not to perform it, and some radio stations were reluctant to play it.

“They get away with a lot more today,” Wells told the AP in 1986. “They’re more (sexually) suggestive today.”

In 2008, the Library of Congress announced that Wells’ record had been added to its National Recording Registry of works of unusual historic merit.

Also that year, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum honored her with an exhibit about her career.

Her second hit, “Paying for That Back Street Affair,” in 1953, was also written as an answer to a previous hit, Webb Pierce’s “Back Street Affair.”

She was known as a gracious, elegant and family-oriented person.

“What I’ve done has been satisfying,” she said in the 1986 AP interview. “I wouldn’t change a thing.”

About her many years of touring, she said, “I like going to different places and seeing the scenery and meeting the people. I’ve always enjoyed traveling. It’s as good a way as any to spend your time.”

She was born Ellen Muriel Deason in Nashville, the daughter of a railroad brakeman.

She began playing the guitar at age 14 and soon was performing at dances in the Nashville area.

Wells married Johnny Wright, half of a duo called Johnny and Jack, in 1938 when she was not yet 20, and soon began touring with the duo. She took her stage name from an old folk song, “Sweet Kitty Wells.” Johnny Wright died Sept. 27, 2011.

By the late ’40s, they were appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. He performed with her throughout her career and their long marriage.

Son Bobby Wright, one of her three children, played a countrified sailor on the TV show “McHale’s Navy” from 1962 to 1966.

 

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