The Grand Ole Opry, country music and fans across the nation mourn the passing today of yet another Nashville icon. Sixty-seven year Opry veteran and Country Music Hall Of Famer Little Jimmy Dickens died today(1/2) in Nashville at the age of 94.
Despite his diminutive stature Jimmy brought unparalleled energy and consummate talent to the stage right up till his last Opry appearance just weeks ago. On Christmas day LJD suffered a stroke. A subsequent cardiac arrest finally broke him loose of his mortal shackles eight days later.
LJD was best known for his timeless parody songs such as “Take An Old Cold Tater(And Wait)”, and “May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose”. In more recent years Jimmy was featured alongside fellow Opry stars Brad Paisley, George Jones, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill as part of the Kung-Pao Buckaroos. A parody group acting out skits on Paisley’s albums. As well as hosting and being a staple at the Grand Ole Opry.
James Cecil Dickens joined the Opry in 1948 after being discovered by Roy Acuff. Renowned for his self deprecating humor the pint sized performer was the oldest living member of the Opry. Hank Williams originally penned “Hey Good Lookin’” for Jimmy. It was written in twenty minutes because Hank thought Jimmy “needed a hit”. Williams later recorded it himself joking to Dickens, “that song’s too good for you”.
LJD recently shared this quote concerning his love for his work, “I look forward from one weekend to another to get back out on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and try to entertain people who have come from miles and miles and state to state to be entertained with country music”.
Jimmy was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1983. He leaves behind a wife, Mona Dickens, and daughters Pamela Detert and Lisa King. Not to mention a prodigious Opry family and insurmountable fans who have flocked for years to bear witness to a true legend in our time.
Much to my chagrin I never had the opportunity to see Jimmy live but just as all of you I have enjoyed his distinct sound and unique stylings both behind the mic and in video cameos. the following are links to a couple of my favorite LJD videos which I think sum up perfectly our esteemed fallen comrade. Here we see a performance along with a story about Hank, and this one is a skit with Brad and Carrie during an awards show.
R.I.P. Little Jimmy Dickens. You finally get to look down on us.