Jim Ed Brown
Over the past three decades, Jim Ed Brown has firmly established himself in the minds of country fans as a masterful presence in every aspect of the country entertainment field.
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A native of Sparkman, Arkansas he was one of five children--two boys and three girls--of a struggling lumberman and his wife. Some of his earliest memories are of close, "family" times, when all the members of the household would gather on Saturday nights to listen to the Grand Ole Opry on a battery-powered radio. Jim Ed and his older sister, Maxine, were fascinated by what they heard and soon began harmonizing together. A few years later Jim Ed and Maxine began to perform occasionally on local radio shows.
By Jim Ed's second year in college, he and Maxine were regular members of the Barnyard Frolic on KLRA in Little Rock, and together they had penned what was to become their first hit record, "Looking Back To See." They became members of The Louisiana Hayride and went on to join the legendary Red Foley as featured regulars on his Ozark Jubilee in 1955.
Later that year, younger sister Bonnie joined them, and as The Browns they scored an immediate Top 10 hit with "Here Today and Gone Tomorrow." The group signed with RCA Victor in 1956, and two more Top 10 releases followed in quick succession: "I Take The Chance" and "I Heard The Bluebirds Sing."
Jim Ed's career took a vastly different turn when he was called to a two-year stint in the service. After his discharge he rejoined his sisters to record the song which would leave an indelible mark on musical history "The Three Bells." Released in 1959, "The Three Bells" sold over a million copies and created a sensation as the first No. 1 country song ever to cross over to No. 1 on the pop and rhythm and blues charts, as well. Other classic hits, including "The Old Lamplighter" and "Scarlet Ribbons" soon followed.
By the mid-60's, however, the rigors of combining busy careers with caring for their growing families brought both" Bonnie and Maxine to the decision to permanently retire from the group. Jim Ed was left to carry on alone, and in 1967 he scored his first solo success with "Pop-A-Top." Through the late 60s and early 70s he continued to grow as a star in his own right with more hit singles, including "Southern Loving," "Sometime Sunshine," and the memorable "Morning." A six-season run as co-host of the syndicated weekly television series Nashville On The Road began in 1975, further enhancing Jim Ed's career and leading to his being selected as a national advertising spokesperson for Dollar General Stores.
In 1976, he teamed with Helen Cornelius to form one of the most successful recording duos of all time. With smash releases like "Don't Bother To Knock," "Fools," and the back-to-back hits, "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You," "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye," and "Lying In Love With You."
In 1983 Jim Ed became the host of TNN's You Can Be A Star, the country music talent hunt which aired daily. Jim Ed joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1963.
If there is one word best-suited to describe Jim Ed Brown, it is "versatile". As a dynamic component in a duo and trio, as a solo recording artist, and as a popular television host, in the course of his professional lifetime he has filled role after role with shining success.
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