Jim Ed Brown, a star of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years and a newly elected member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died today, June 11, at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tenn., after battling cancer, according to a news release from Webster Public Relations.
He had hits as a solo artists, as a duet singer and with The Browns, which included Jim Ed and his sisters Maxine and Bonnie. Their 1959 crossover hit, “The Three Bells,” topped Billboard’s country chart for 10 consecutive weeks and spent four weeks atop Billboard’s all-genre singles chart.
The Arkansas native was born April 1, 1934, and grew up on a farm without electricity or running water. Saturday nights, the family would tune a battery operated radio to WSM-AM (650) and listen to the Opry and in 1963 the Brown siblings joined the Grand Ole Opry.
After his sisters retired, Jim Ed recorded what would become his signature solo single, “Pop a Top,” in 1967. His other charting singles include “Morning,” “Southern Loving” and “It’s That Time of the Night.” In 1976 he recorded duets with Helen Cornelius and their recording of “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” went to No. 1 on the country charts in 1976. They recorded other Top 10 duets.
He was the host of The Nashville Network’s “You Can Be a Star” and a syndicated radio show, “Country Music Greats Radio.”
In September 2014, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. While undergoing treatments, Plowboy Records released “In Style Again,” his first solo effort in 40 years, according to the news release. He was elected, along with Grady Martin and the Oak Ridge Boys, to the Country Music Hall of Fame in March. The induction is not scheduled until October, but on June 4, CMA CEO Sarah Trahern, Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Kyle Young visited Mr. Brown in the hospital to present him with a medallion commemorating his Hall of Fame membership.
Jim Ed Brown was 81.
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Condolences also go to Randy Rogers and his wife, Chelsea, on the death of their newborn daughter, Rumer Rain Rogers, who was born June 3 and died on June 8, reports Taste of Country. Rumer was born with a very rare condition of the brain, Randy tells Taste of Country.