Singer Jim Ed Brown Remembered For Faith, Friendships

Posted at 2:48 PM, Jun 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 02:10:25-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown was remembered Monday for his faith and friendships at a music-filled memorial service in Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Brown was known for his 1959 No. 1 hit "The Three Bells," recorded with his sisters as part of the trio The Browns. He later had solo hits with "Pop-A-Top," "Morning" and "Southern Loving."

At the memorial, singer Brenda Lee called Brown and his sisters "true pioneering legends." She said they were her "road family" early in her career and looked out for her.

Lee hosted the ceremony in March that announced Brown, along with his sisters, would be inducted later this year into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"Jim Ed was so vibrant that day. The tall and elegant, soft spoken southern gentleman," Lee said.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for October. But between the March announcement, and June, Brown's cancer returned and his health quickly failed.

On June 4th, leaders with the Country Music Association, and the Country Music Hall of Fame, quickly put together a personal induction ceremony for Brown in his room at Williamson Medical Center.

"I think only then did it really hit Jim Ed that he was going to be inducted, then and there, in his hospital bed, and actually become an official member of Country Music Hall of Fame," said CMA CEO Sarah Trahern.

Bill Anderson was at the ceremony and led the group in the tradition of singing " Will the Circle Be Unbroken".

"There were many quivering voices, and a few wiped tears, as Bill led us all in the chorus, at his bed side. But there was Jim Ed, the newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, beaming in the middle of all of us, with is medallion proudly around his neck," Trahern explained.

Lee visited Brown just days before he died last week. She spoke about her last visit with her friend.

"He was proudly wearing that Hall of Fame medallion, and on oxygen as he sat in bed, we laughed and cried," Lee said from the Ryman stage.

Performers at the service included The Oak Ridge Boys, Crystal Gayle, Craig Morgan and Lady Antebellum.

Brown was entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Nashville.


(The Associated Press contributed to this report)