Jim Ed Brown was born in Sparkman, Arkansas, on April 1, 1934. While still in high school, he began appearing with older sister Maxine on a radio show airing over KCLA in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. As a member of the Browns, Jim Ed embarked on a successful recording career in 1954, with “The Three Bells” reaching number one in 1959. As a solo artist, Jim Ed scored with a number of Top 40 country hits, including “Pop-A-Top” (1967), “Morning” (1970), “Angel’s Sunday” (1971) and “Southern Living” (1973).
The versatile Jim Ed Brown, who has topped the country music charts as a member of a trio (the Browns, with sisters Maxine and Bonnie), a duo (with Helen Cornelius) and as a solo artist, continues his successful entertainment career today. In addition to live performances at the Grand Ole Opry and other venues, Jim Ed, who calls Brentwood, Tennessee, home, also hosts the weekly Country Music Greats Radio Show.
Q: Who was the most influential person or persons in your career?
Brown: “Shelby and Sara Cooper, first, Jim Reeves, second, Chet Atkins.”
Q: You and your sister, Maxine, made five singles for the Fabor label in 1954-55. In one session, Jim Reeves was featured on the rhythm guitar and Floyd Cramer on the piano. Did anyone have any idea back then how successful all of you would become?
Brown: “No. Jim and Floyd played on the ‘Looking Back to See’ session.”
Q: You have recorded and written many songs through the years. What are your favorites?
Brown: “‘Looking Back to See,’ ‘The Three Bells,’ ‘Pop-A-Top,’ ‘Old Lamplighter,’ ‘I Don’t Wanna Have to Marry You.'”
Q: Which one of your albums do you think best represents what Jim Ed Brown’s music is all about?
Brown: “I could not name just one.”
Q: You have made many TV appearances through the years. Are there any that stand out as truly memorable?
Brown: “The Ed Sullivan Show, American Bandstand, Ozark Jubilee, Nashville on the Road, etc.”
Q: Who are your favorite performers in the country music field?
Brown: “Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, Chet Atkins.”
Q: Did you have any particular brand of beer in mind when you first made your 1967 drinking hit “Pop-A-Top?”
Brown: “We used a Dr. Pepper can!”
Q: Did your cheek ever become sore from making that pop sound for the song?
Brown: “No, it’s not sore yet.”
Q: Do you sign autographs via the mail? Do you limit the number of items per person?
Brown: “No, I don’t limit the numbers and I do sign.”
Q: Are there any items you refuse to sign?
Brown: “Haven’t surfaced yet.”
Q: Have you saved any personal memorabilia from your career?
Brown: “I’m a packrat. I have a house full.”
Q: What is the proudest moment in your music career?
Brown: “Too many to name.”
Q: It’s been a great career, Jim Ed. Has the ride been fun?”
Brown: “You betcha!”
“Pop a top again I’ve just got time for one more round…” Jim Ed first crooned in 1967. One more round for Jim Ed Brown, whose many achievements, hopefully, will earn him a spot one day in Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame.