Little Jimmy Dickens

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Little Jimmy Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens 1971.JPG
Dickens in 1971
Background information
Birth name James Cecil Dickens
Also known as Little Jimmy Dickens
Tater
Born (1920-12-19)December 19, 1920
Bolt, West Virginia, United States
Died January 2, 2015(2015-01-02) (aged 94)
Nashville, Tennessee, United States
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Country Singer
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1936–2014
Labels Columbia Records, Decca Records, United Artists Records

James Cecil Dickens (December 19, 1920 – January 2, 2015), better known as Little Jimmy Dickens, was an American country music singer famous for his humorous novelty songs, his small size, 4'11" (150 cm), and his rhinestone-studded outfits (which he is given credit for introducing into country music live performances).[1] He started as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1983. Before his death he was the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Early life[edit]

Born in Bolt, West Virginia, Dickens began his musical career in the late 1930s, performing on WJLS radio station in Beckley, West Virginia while attending West Virginia University.[2] He soon quit school to pursue a full-time music career, and traveled the country performing on various local radio stations under the name "Jimmy the Kid."

Career[edit]

Dickens in 1955.

In 1948, Dickens was heard performing on WKNX, a radio station in Saginaw, Michigan by Roy Acuff, who introduced him to Art Satherly at Columbia Records and officials from the Grand Ole Opry. Dickens signed with Columbia in September and joined the Opry in August. Around this time he began using the nickname, Little Jimmy Dickens, inspired by his short stature.[3]

Dickens recorded many novelty songs for Columbia, including "Country Boy", "A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed", and "I'm Little But I'm Loud".[4] His song "Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)" inspired Hank Williams to nickname him "Tater". Later, telling Jimmy he needed a hit, Williams penned "Hey Good Lookin'" in only 20 minutes while on a plane with Dickens, Minnie Pearl, and Pearl's husband Henry Cannon.[5] A week later Williams cut the song himself, jokingly telling Dickens, "That song's too good for you!"[6]

In 1950, Dickens formed the Country Boys with musicians Jabbo Arrington, Grady Martin, Bob Moore and Thumbs Carllile. It was during this time that he discovered future Country Music Hall of Famer Marty Robbins at a Phoenix, Arizona television station while on tour with the Grand Ole Opry road show. In 1957, Dickens left the Grand Ole Opry to tour with the Philip Morris Country Music Show.[7]

In 1962, Dickens scored his first top-10 country hit since 1954 with "The Violet and the Rose".

In 1964, Dickens became the first country artist to circle the globe while on tour, and also made numerous TV appearances, including on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In 1965, he released his biggest hit, "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose", reaching No. 1 on the country chart and No. 15 on the pop chart.

In the late 1960s, Dickens left Columbia for Decca Records before moving again to United Artists in 1971.[8] That same year, he married his wife, Mona,[9][10] and in 1975 he returned to the Grand Ole Opry. In 1983. Dickens was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[11]

Dickens joined producers Randall Franks and Alan Autry for the In the Heat of the Night cast CD “Christmas Time’s A Comin’”, performing "Jingle Bells" with the cast (the CD was released on Sonlite and MGM/UA and was one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers).

Later career[edit]

Dickens in 2004 (Grand Ole Opry)

Toward the end of his life, Dickens made appearances in a number of music videos by fellow country musician and West Virginia native Brad Paisley. He was also featured on several of Paisley's albums in bonus comedy tracks, along with other Opry mainstays such as George Jones and Bill Anderson. They were collectively referred to as the Kung-Pao Buckaroos.

With the death of Hank Locklin in March 2009, Dickens became the oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry at the age of 90. He made regular appearances as a host at the Opry, often with the self-deprecating joke that he is also known as "Willie Nelson after taxes." At the 2011 CMA Awards, Jimmy was dressed up as Justin Bieber, and made fun of Bieber's then-current paternity scandal.

Death[edit]

Dickens was hospitalized after a stroke on December 25, 2014, days after his last appearance on the Opry to mark his birthday.[1] He died of cardiac arrest on January 2, 2015, at the age of 94.[12] He is survived by his wife, Mona Dickens, whom he married in 1971, and two daughters, Pamela Detert and Lisa King.[13] After his funeral on January 8, 2015 at the Grand Ole Opry House, Dickens was entombed in the Cross Mausoleum at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Nashville.[14]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart positions
US Country
1954 Old Country Church
1960 Big Songs by Little Jimmy Dickens
  • Released: September 1960
  • Label: Columbia
1962 Little Jimmy Dickens Sings Out Behind the Barn
  • Released: September 1962
  • Label: Columbia
1965 Handle with Care
  • Released: February 1965
  • Label: Columbia
May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
  • Released: November 1965
  • Label: Columbia
4
1968 Big Man in Country Music
  • Released: 1968
  • Label: Columbia
Little Jimmy Dickens Sings
  • Released: March 1968
  • Label: Decca
1969 Jimmy Dickens Comes Callin'
  • Released: February 1969
  • Label: Decca
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

Year Album details Chart positions
US Country
1957 Raisin' the Dickens
  • Released: November 1957
  • Label: Columbia
1966 Little Jimmy Dickens' Greatest Hits
  • Released: 1966
  • Label: Columbia
39
1969 Greatest Hits
  • Released: 1969
  • Label: Decca
1976 Hymns of the Hour
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Quantum
1983 Historic Edition
  • Released: 1983
  • Label: Columbia
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.

Singles[edit]

Year Song Peak positions Album
US Country US
1949 "Take an Old Cold 'Tater (And Wait)" 7 Raisin' the Dickens
"Country Boy" 7
"My Heart's Bouquet" 10 Big Songs by Little Jimmy Dickens
"A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed" 6 Raisin' the Dickens
1950 "A Rose From the Bride's Bouquet" non-album singles
"Hillbilly Fever" 3
"F-o-o-l-i-sh Me"
"Walk Chicken, Walk"
"Out of Business"
"I'm Little, But I'm Loud" Raisin' the Dickens
1951 "Cold Feet" non-album singles
"What About You"
"Sign of the Highway"
"Poor Little Darlin'"
"Old Rugged Cross" (with the Johnson Family Singers)
1952 "They Locked God Outside the Iron Curtain"
"Lola Lee"
"Hot Diggity Dog"
"Waitress, Waitress"
"Take Up Thy' Cross" Old Country Church
"No Tears in Heaven"
"Wedding Bell Waltz" non-album single
1953 "I Shall Not Be Moved" Old Country Church
"Sidemeat and Cabbage" non-album singles
"I'm Making Love to a Stranger"
"Thick and Thin"
"No Place Like Home on Christmas"
1954 "That Little Old Country Church House" Old Country Church
"Y'All Come Home" non-album singles
"You Better Not Do That"
"Out Behind the Barn" 9 Raisin' the Dickens
"Blackeyed Joe's" non-album singles
"Stinky Pass The Hat Around"
1955 "Salty Boogie"
"We Could"
"I'm Braver Now"
1956 "Hey Worm (You Wanna Wiggle)"
"Big Sandy"
"Country Boy Bounce" (with The Country Boys)
"Cornbread and Buttermilk"
"Say It Now"
"Raisin' the Dickens" (with The Country Boys)
1957 "I Never Had the Blues"
"Makin' the Rounds"
"Family Reunion"
1958 "(I Got a) Hole in My Pocket"
1959 "When Your House Is Not a Home"
"Hannah"
"Hey Ma (Hide the Daughter)"
1960 "We Lived It Up"
"Fireball Mail" Big Songs by Little Jimmy Dickens
1961 "Talking to the Wall" non-album single
1962 "Twenty Cigarettes" Out Behind the Barn
"The Violet and the Rose" 10
"Police, Police" non-album single
1963 "Another Bridge to Burn" 28 Handle with Care'
1964 "I Leaned Over Backwards for You"
"Is Goodbye That Easy to Say"
1965 "He Stands Real Tall" 21
"May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose"[A] 1 15 May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
1966 "When the Ship Hit the Sand" 27 103 Greatest Hits
"Who Licked the Red Off Your Candy" 41 Big Man in Country Music
"Where the Buffalo Trud"
1967 "Country Music Lover" 23
"Jenny Needs a G-String (For Her Old Guitar)"
"Daddy and the Wine" Little Jimmy Dickens Sings
1968 "I Love Lucy Brown"
"How to Catch an African Skeeter Alive" 69 Little Jimmy Dickens Comes Callin'
"Someday You'll Call My Name"
"When You're Seventeen" 55 Greatest Hits (1966)
1969 "Times Are Gonna Get Better" non-album singles
1970 "(You've Been Quite a Doll) Raggedy Ann" 75
"Everyday Family Man" 70
1971 "Here It Comes Again"
"You Only Want Me for My Body"
1972 "Try It, You'll Like It" 61
"Alabam"
1973 "Dear Skunk"
1976 "Preacherman"
1978 "How Much is That Picture of Jesus?"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.
Notes
  • A^ "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose" also peaked at No. 4 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles Chart.

B-sides[edit]

Year Song Peak positions A-Side Single
US Country
1949 "Pennies for Papa" 12 "Take an Old Cold 'Tater (And Wait)"

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "BBC News – Country star Little Jimmy Dickens dies aged 94". BBC News. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  2. ^ Khatchatourian, Maane. "Little Jimmy Dickens, Oldest Grand Ole Opry Star, Dies at 94". Variety. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Little Jimmy Dickens, Oldest Grand Ole Opry Cast Member, Dead at 94". Associated Press via Billboard. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  4. ^ Mansfield, Brian. "Country great "Little" Jimmy Dickens dies at 94". USA Today. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  5. ^ Masino, Susan (2011). Family Tradition – Three Generations of Hank Williams. Montclair, NJ: Backbeat Books. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-61713-006-9. 
  6. ^ Lavallee, Michelle. "Little Jimmy Dickens: Country singer to Opry Legend". AXS. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Artists : Artists A to Z : Little Jimmy Dickens Biography : Great American Country". Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Farewell To ‘Little’ Jimmy Dickens". uDiscover. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Little Jimmy Dickens' December filled with milestones". Brentwood Home Page. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Grand Ole Opry Stars Little Jimmy Dickens and Darrell McCall At Llano Country Opry – Events". Mason County News. May 15, 2010. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Little Jimmy Dickens". Country Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  12. ^ Cooper, Peter (January 3, 2015). "Little Jimmy Dickens, beloved 'Opry' star, dies at 94". The Tennessean. Retrieved January 3, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Little Jimmy Dickens Has Died at the Age of 94". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved January 5, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Little Jimmy Dickens' Funeral Held At Grand Ole Opry". NewsChannel5.com. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 

External links[edit]