Hit-mak­ing coun­try singer also was a TV fix­ture


The Washington Post Sunday - - OBITUARIES -

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 June 11 at a hos­pi­tal in Franklin, Tenn. He was 81.

The cause was can­cer, ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment from his public re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Mr. Brown will be in­ducted into the Coun­try Mu­sic Hall of Fame this year.

In the mid-1950s, Mr. Brown and his two sis­ters, Bon­nie and Max­ine, 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 to raise their fam­i­lies. Mr. Brown then had a solo ca­reer, be­gin­ning with the hit “Pop-A-Top Again” in 1967. Oth­ers were “Morn­ing” in 1970 and “South­ern Lov­ing” in 1973. His last chart­ing record as a solo act came in 1979.

Also in the 1970s, he teamed with He­len Cor­nelius on hits in­clud­ing “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” and “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).

Mr. Brown be­gan singing with the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1963, and he 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.” He also hosted “You Can Be a Star” on the old Nashville Net­work ca­ble chan­nel for six years, be­gin­ning in 1983.

James Ed­ward Brown was born in Spark­man, Ark., on April 1, 1934. He lived in his early years on a farm with­out elec­tric­ity or run­ning wa­ter, ac­cord­ing to his public re­la­tions firm. The fam­ily used a bat­tery-pow­ered ra­dio to tune in to the Grand Ole Opry broad­casts on Satur­day nights, and he be­gan to mimic the vo­cal styles of the show’s stars, the pub­li­cist said.

A com­plete list of sur­vivors was not im­me­di­ately avail­able.


Coun­try singer Jim Ed Brown, per­form­ing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 2014, had a string of hits start­ing in the 1950s.

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