Jim Ed Brown, a longtime Grand Ole Opry member who had solo and group hits and was a prominent figure on country music television shows, died June 11 at a hospital in Franklin, Tenn. He was 81.
The cause was cancer, according to an announcement from his public relations representatives. Mr. Brown will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year.
In the mid-1950s, Mr. Brown and his two sisters, Bonnie and Maxine, formed the trio known as The Browns and had the No. 1 hit “The Three Bells” on both the pop and country charts in 1959. The three recorded for RCA Records from 1954 to 1967.
Bonnie and Maxine left the group to raise their families. Mr. Brown then had a solo career, beginning with the hit “Pop-A-Top Again” in 1967. Others were “Morning” in 1970 and “Southern Loving” in 1973. His last charting record as a solo act came in 1979.
Also in the 1970s, he teamed with Helen Cornelius on hits including “I Don’t Want to Have to Marry You” and “Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye” (both in 1976); “Lying in Love With You” (1979); “Fools” (1979); and “Don’t Bother to Knock” (1981).
Mr. Brown began singing with the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1963, and he was a prominent figure on country music television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. Beginning in 1975, he began a six-season run as co-host, with Jerry Clower, of the syndicated weekly TV show “Nashville on the Road.” He also hosted “You Can Be a Star” on the old Nashville Network cable channel for six years, beginning in 1983.
James Edward Brown was born in Sparkman, Ark., on April 1, 1934. He lived in his early years on a farm without electricity or running water, according to his public relations firm. The family used a battery-powered radio to tune in to the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts on Saturday nights, and he began to mimic the vocal styles of the show’s stars, the publicist said.
A complete list of survivors was not immediately available.