The Grand Old Opry has lost one of it’s valued members of long standing, 81 year-old Jim Ed Brown. Jim Ed Brown, who, along with his two sisters, Bonnie Brown and Maxine Brown, comprised a country music singing group known as ‘The Browns’. The Browns had, as one of their early hits – a lively song in 1954 titled ‘Looking Back to See’ which was with one of the sisters, Maxine. Then the other sister, Bonnie, joined in with the duo in 1955 so they then became a trio.
In 1959 their biggest hit was ‘The Three Bells’, with them joining the Opry in 1963. In 1967 the trio disbanded, then Jim Ed went on to sing solo for a period of time, having a big hit with ‘Pop A Top’, then banding with singer Helen Cornelius for a string of duo hits, including ‘I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You’, and then “Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye” in 1977.
We met Jim Ed Brown when we were at the Opry a few years ago, and the thought ‘southern gentleman’ comes to mind whenever I think of him. Quiet and soft-spoken, he seemed to meet everyone with a smile, and he seemed just as happy to meet you if you were a ‘nobody’, as he would have been if you had been a ‘somebody’.
The Opry itself is a renowned institution of almost 90 years, and a limited number of singers are called to become members. Jim Ed Brown was one of the ‘mainstays’ at the Opry the past few years and he will certainly be missed each Saturday night as the Opry ‘show goes on’ without his unique and easily-recognizable voice booming out over the late-night Opry airwaves.
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