The Three Bells
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"The Three Bells", also known as "Jimmy Brown" or "Little Jimmy Brown", is a song made popular by The Browns in 1959. The single reached number one on the U.S. country and pop charts, outperforming a competing version by Dick Flood. The version by the Browns also hit number ten on the Hot R&B Sides chart. It was based on the 1945 French language song "Les trois cloches" by Jean Villard Gilles and Marc Herrand. The English lyrics were written by Bert Reisfeld and first recorded by Melody Maids in 1948. The song was a major 1952–53 hit by Edith Piaf and Les Compagnons de la chanson. The song documents three stages of the life of "Jimmy Brown"—his birth, his marriage, and his death.
Among the many musicians who covered the song are Edith Piaf and Les Compagnons de la chanson, who recorded the original French version, Tina Arena, Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, Ray Charles, Nana Mouskouri, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash & the Carter Family, Floyd Cramer, Daniel O'Donnell, Chet Atkins, Elaine Paige, Sha Na Na, Andy Williams, and Alison Krauss & Union Station. It was also recorded in Dutch as "De drie klokken" and "Bim bam", in Italian as "Le Tre Campane" by Schola Cantorum, and in Spanish, retaining the title "Jimmy Brown", by the vocal group Mocedades.
"The Three Bells", also known as "The Jimmy Brown Song", was also recorded for Decca Records in 1951 by the Andrews Sisters, the World War II boogie-woogie group of sisters: Patty, Maxene & LaVerne. While it did not prove to be the big hit that Billboard predicted it would be for the Andrews Sisters, it was nonetheless a very moving, harmonious rendition, in which the trio was accompanied by Gordon Jenkins' orchestra & chorus. The German title was "Wenn die Glocken hell erklingen".
The song was parodied by the Barron Knights as "The Chapel Lead Is Missing" on their 1978 LP Night Gallery.
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Jim Ed Brown
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- Show 11 - Tennessee Firebird. [Part 3], Big Rock Candy Mountain. [Part 1] : UNT Digital Library
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 59.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 88.
- "Naďa Urbánková - Zvony nelžou". Nadaurbankova.cz. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- "Les trois cloches" from The Originals website
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|Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
August 24, 1959 – September 14, 1959
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|Billboard Hot Country & Western Sides number-one single
August 31, 1959 – November 2, 1959
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