The Browns were an American family singing group from Sparkman, Arkansas made up of Jim Ed Brown and his sisters, Maxine Brown and Bonnie Brown. They are known primarily for their hit "The Three Bells".
singers, The Browns sang individually at rural venues until 1954 when Maxine Brown, and younger brother Jim Ed, signed a record contract as a singing duo. Eighteen-year-old Bonnie joined the group in 1955, and the following year they were signed by Chet Atkins
, RCA Victor Records
producer in Nashville, Tennessee
. The family trio made regular appearances on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee
, and recorded several songs that met with only modest success until 1959
, when their 45 rpm folk single
called "The Three Bells
" was a no. 1 hit on both the Billboard Hot 100 pop music
and country music
charts. Based on a song called "Les trois cloches," the song was originally a hit in France
for both the group Les Compagnons de la chanson
and Édith Piaf
The Browns followed up the success of "The Three Bells" with "Scarlet Ribbons" and "The Old Lamplighter," recordings that also did very well on both the pop and country music charts. With an international following, The Browns toured Europe extensively and recorded further moderate successes on the country music charts. In 1963, they became part of the Grand Ole Opry.
, Jim Ed Brown began working on a solo career, and in 1967
the trio formally disbanded. Jim Ed continued to record for RCA and had a number of country hits starting in 1965 while still with The Browns. In 1967, he released his first solo top 10 with "Pop A Top" which became his signature song. In 1970, he gained a crossover hit with "Morning" which went to number 4 on the country charts and number 47 on the pop charts. Other hits for Jim Ed included "Angel's Sunday" (1971), "Southern Loving" (1973), "Sometime Sunshine" (1974) and "It's That Time Of Night" (1974). Beginning in 1976, he released a string of major duet hits with Helen Cornelius
starting with the #1 hit "I Don't Wanna Have To Marry You". Other hits for the duo included "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye" (1977), "Born Believer" (1977), "I'll Never Be Free" (1978), "If The World Ran Out Of Love Tonight" (1978), "You Don't Bring Me Flowers" (a cover of the then-recent Neil Diamond
, Barbra Streisand
hit) (1979), "Lying In Love With You" (1979), "Fools" (1979), "Morning Comes Too Early" (1980) and "Don't Bother To Knock" (1981).
Jim Ed has also hosted the syndicated country shows Jim Ed Brown's Country Place, and Nashville On The Road. On The Nashville Network he hosted the talent show You Can Be A Star and the travel show Going Our Way, which featured his wife, Becky, where they went traveling to different places in an RV.
Maxine Brown briefly had a solo career during the late 1960's releasing an album and single for Chart Records titled "Sugar Cane Country". In 2005, Maxine published her critically acclaimed autobiography, "Looking Back to See: A Country Music Memoir," published by The University of Arkansas Press. With an honest, plucky style, Maxine delivered a revealing, entertaining, and first-hand story of the American music business in the 50's and 60's.
In 2006, the Browns reunited to perform "The Old Lamplighter" and "The Three Bells" for the PBS special, Country Pop Legends.
Jim Ed Brown currently hosts two nationally syndicated radio shows, the weekly two-hour Country Music Greats Radio Show and the Monday through Friday vignette, Country Music Greats Radio Minute. Both shows are broadcast to over 250 radio stations nationwide to a weekly audience exceeding two million listeners. He is an active member of the Grand Ole Opry as a solo artist.
Jim Ed now resides in Brentwood, Tennessee with his wife Becky.
Country Pop Legends program information]