Last week we in the country music community lost yet another of our own, Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens. The fact that country performers have always been a close knit lot is no secret, and one does not spend over sixty years in the business of providing joy and entertainment for fans without forming some strong bonds along the way. The following is an opportunity for some of Jimmy’s closest compatriots to share a little on the small man with the formidable legacy.
Nashville Songwriter Hall Of Fame member Mel Tillis shared this on his late friend, “I have known Little Jimmy Dickens for 60 years.” “- a little man with a big heart and the best entertainer that ever stepped on the Opry stage”.
Esteemed singer/songwriter Larry Gatlin, best known as a member of hit group The Gatlin Brothers, gave us this on the wee wailer. “Pound for pound, inch for inch, Tater..was the greatest entertainer in the history of the world. Period.”
“His country charm, sharp wit, and graciousness made him a star that everyone wanted to meet”, says Ricky Skaggs. While Aaron Tippin tells, “One of the greatest things I’ve passed down to my boys was my friendship with Little Jimmy Dickens. We will miss him”. “He was such a nice man to me since the first time I met him. He was a friend to all of us. God bless him”, comes from Sammy Kershaw.
All of the renowned talent paying homage to Little Jimmy this week exemplifies the impact on an industry and it’s fans that only a true shining light can provide. Yet, out of all these testimonies none paints us a better portrait of the man than this recent statement from friend and collaborator Brad Paisley.
“As the sun sets on this planet tonight, for the first time in 94 years it is without my hero, Little Jimmy Dickens.
Why was he my hero? Jimmy made more out of his time in earth than anyone I’ve ever known; an incredible life in every measurable way. Longevity? Yes, practically unheard of. Faith? Totally and wholeheartedly. Humor? There was no one funnier, or with a better sense of it. A true entertainer? The best I’ve ever seen. Charm? Unmatched. Love? This was a big one. I think he loved everyone he ever met, and if not, he never let it be known. More importantly, I think everyone who ever met him loved him instantly…and forever. Romance? He and Mona had the most romantic story I’ve ever heard. Check it out sometime. Friendship? Well I can honestly say he was the best friend any human being could ask for. Bar none.
Much will be said and written about his incredible and unique place in Country Music history. Which could fill a book. But that isn’t how I’ll remember him. I will remember the human being that best check-marked all the boxes of a complete and wonderful life. My hero.
Do not mourn Little Jim. Celebrate him. Relive and share the memories. Aspire to be like him. And above all, laugh at the punchlines, the craziness, and the way he so gracefully made this planet a funnier, better, richer place while he was alive. And in doing so, will continue to for years to come.” -Paisley
In recent years Jimmy reached an even wider audience by participating in multiple award shows, appearing in music videos and performing, alongside fellow Opry stars Bill Anderson, George Jones and Paisley as a member of the Kung-Pao Buckaroos. A facetious band of cowboys acting out skits on Brad’s records. The two had grown very close and the words shared by Brad echo in the minds of all lucky enough to meet, work with, or be entertained by Little Jimmy Dickens.