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Little Jimmy Dickens Biography

Last updated: 01/05/2015 07:13:55 PM

(Singer, Songwriter, Guitar)

  • Given Name: James Cecil Dickens
  • Date of Birth: December 19, 1920
  • Place of Birth: Bolt, Raleigh County, West Virginia
  • Married: 1. Connie (div.), 2. Ernestine (dec’d.), 3. Mona
  • Children: Pamela Jean (adopted), Lisa (Mona’s daughter)

    Recognized for his strong voice and small physical stature, Little Jimmy Dickens skyrocketed to fame in 1949 and 1950 with a string of novelty and "heart" songs on Columbia Records.

    Raised in a musical environment, Jimmy dreamed of being a professional performer and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. He built up a decade of work experience in radio, beginning with his hometown station WJLS in Beckley, West Virginia. When he moved north to attend West Virginia University, he met T. Texas Tyler and the two proceeded on to WIBC Indianapolis. When Tyler entered the military, Jimmy remained in Indiana for a year before going on to WLW Cincinnati for another year. During that time he grew to his full height of 4’11’’.

    In 1946, he moved to WIBW Topeka, Kansas and then to WKNX Saginaw, Michigan, where he met Roy Acuff, who helped him get a recording contract with Columbia Records and a position with WSM’s Grand Ole Opry. Jimmy did his first Columbia session in 1949 and had several charted hits that year and the next. He was out of the charts from 1951 to 1954 but then returned with a Top 10 hit and novelty singles which did well. His career continued with periods of no chart hits followed by periods of chart successes.

    His use of twin electric guitars helped give him an exciting band sound and his Country Boys were one of the most highly rated back-up bands. Jimmy was elected to the Country Hall of Fame in 1983 and has continued to be active both at the Opry and on road shows. Through over fifty years of professional performing, Little Jimmy Dickens exemplifies what Country music is all about.

    Recordings include:

  • Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)
  • Country Boy
  • A-Sleepin’ at the Foot of the Bed
  • Hillbilly Fever
  • The Violet and the Rose
  • May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose